Dr. Abelardo Villarreal

Abelardo Villarreal, Ph.D.

Chief of Operations

Abelardo Villarreal, Ph.D., is the Chief of Operations. He oversees IDRA’s numerous projects that provide training and technical assistance to school districts and other education-related agencies. With his long history of work and commitment to the betterment of education for all children, he is highly regarded nationally for the difference he has made in schools and in people’s lives.

Dr. Villarreal holds a doctorate in curriculum and instruction at the University of Texas at Austin. He has a master’s degree in education and Spanish from the same university and a master of education degree in educational administration from Our Lady of the Lake University. His bachelor’s degree is in political science and business administration from Texas A&I University. He holds a secondary teaching certificate in Spanish, social studies, and business administration, an elementary teaching certificate, a superintendency certificate and a mid-management certificate in principalship.

He is the managing editor and lead author of IDRA’s Semillitas de aprendizaje series, a unique bilingual (Spanish/English) set of early childhood materials that is based designed for literacy development with culturally-relevant materials for 3- and 4-year-old children.

Dr. Villarreal brings unparalleled expertise in program management, effective technical assistance delivery, curriculum development, and implementing and facilitating innovative models for school change. His dissertation, “A Systems Approach to the Development of a Lau Comprehensive Educational Plan: A Theoretical Model for Change” won the outstanding dissertation award from the National Council for Bilingual Education in 1981. From that work, he developed and validated a theoretical change model for school districts designing and implementing educational strategies that are compatible with the needs of language-minority children.

Dr. Villarreal has more than four decades of experience in public education. He has worked at the University of Texas at San Antonio as director of the Academy for Teacher Excellence, a center for the College of Education designed to provide technical assistance to faculty writing state and federal grants and to manage and coordinate federal and state grants. Other work in the field of education has included teaching positions from third grade to the university level and administrative work as an elementary school principal and as a district director of secondary curriculum. He spent a year as an elementary school principal in a large urban school district. He has also overseen compliance with Lau regulations with the Office for Civil Rights.

Dr. Villarreal has managed a number of federal programs during his tenure at IDRA. Prominent among them are the STAR Center, the comprehensive regional assistance center funded by the U.S. Department of Education to serve Texas and a collaboration of IDRA, RMC Research Corporation, and the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Among other things, he led the center’s efforts to break new ground in utilizing technology for service delivery to schools. He also directed the Multifunctional Resource Center – Region 9 and the Bilingual Education Service Center (BESC) from 1979 to 1983. In addition, he headed the comprehensive education planning component of the National Origin Desegregation Assistance Center from 1975 to 1979.

Dr. Villarreal was the lead author for numerous curriculum development projects, including HBJ Lectura, a Spanish basal reading series; !Que bonito es leer!, a supplementary Spanish language arts program; and School-Based Training Program to Increase Expectations for Hispanic Students, a National Education Association training guide. He was also published in the Bilingual Research Journal with a piece called, “Rethinking the Education of English Language Learners: Transitional Bilingual Education Programs,” in the Winter 1999 issue.

Dr. Villarreal has been extremely active in working toward educational equity throughout his career. He served as director of secondary curriculum at the Harlandale Independent School District in San Antonio and as director of the Curriculum Adaptation Network for Bilingual Education for the William F. Hearst Foundation. He is a past president of the Texas Association for Bilingual Education and the San Antonio Area Association for Bilingual Education and has served on the boards of many educational advisory committees and colleges.

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