This year, the IDRA Newsletter is highlighting our staff’s varied and diverse talents and backgrounds. Abelardo Villarreal, Ph.D., is IDRA’s Chief of Operations. In addition to his impressive work in education spanning pre-K through higher education, Dr. Villarreal has always been drawn to public and community service, a family legacy left by his parents, who were restaurant business owners. They instilled a strong work ethic and sense of collaboration, community, cooperation and leadership, as they encouraged their children to become engaged in their family business and in civic engagement. These early experiences influenced Dr. Villarreal’s decision to pursue a double major in business and government for his bachelor’s degree. The importance of multi-sector civic engagement and leadership grew, as he was expected to take over and lead the family business. However, this expectation gave way to another career and lifelong vocation when he was offered a teaching position in his hometown. His passion for equity, access and excellence in education grew exponentially into lifelong and distinguished leadership in this arena that is nationally recognized. He has taught students from third grade to the university level and served as an elementary school principal and a district director of secondary curriculum. He has also overseen compliance with Lau regulations with the Office for Civil Rights. Dr. Villarreal is a national leader in school program management, curriculum development, and facilitating innovative models for school change. His deep understanding of family, community and multi-sector engagement further broadened his horizons into the jewelry business, and in owning stores in Seguin, San Marcos, and San Antonio, another interest which he shares with his wife, as he continues to build a business legacy. He continues passing his impressive skills to his children, all of whom own and are leaders in the business world.
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[©2015, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the April 2015 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]