Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed.

Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed.

Family Engagement Coordinator

Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., is an IDRA senior education associate and family engagement coordinator. He brings extensive experience in working with school personnel, families and students. His career in education began in 1964 and has included teaching at the high school, middle school and elementary school levels.

His pedagogic skills and development were central to his journey through becoming a VISTA trainer, a co-founder of an independent Chicano college and, during the early 1970s, proud to meet with Paolo Freire, who had been an inspiration for his education work in the community. Aurelio came to IDRA in 1975 as a teacher trainer and developed key training-of-trainer tools for educators and others as exemplified in his WOW! Workshop on Workshops training and guide, which includes a challenging, highly participatory two-day session that – with a touch of humor – gives practical, researchCurso cover-based tools for preparing and leading a superb workshop with minimal stress.

Co-written with Thomas Ray Garcia, Mr. Montemayor’s biography, El Curso de la Raza: The Education of Aurelio Manuel Montemayor, was featured at the Texas Book Festival in November 2023.

Mr. Montemayor believes in the power of community engagement for leadership development and effective education. He was the lead developer of IDRA’s Family Leadership in Education model. One sustained effort of the leadership process is with ARISE Adelante, a south Texas community organization, where the first Education CAFE (formerly called Community PTA) was organized that epitomizes the IDRA family leadership process, including community-based intergenerational projects. The Education CAFE movement is spreading to other organizations with IDRA’s guidance and support.

Mr. Montemayor led IDRA’s MAS for Our Schools project supporting a team of high school students studying the state of Mexican American Studies in their area schools. The students’ final report, MAS for Our Schools – A Youth Participatory Action Research Project on the Status of Mexican American Studies in San Antonio, was released by IDRA in Mach 2024. And he helps coordinate regular gatherings in San Antonio of teachers; students; those interested in teaching ethnic studies, social justice and civil rights; families; and interested community members who support each other in expanding and deepening Mexican American Studies courses and student-led initiatives.

He previously directed the U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation (I3) program to further develop the family leadership in education process and rigorously document and evaluate the successful practice in expansion to 20 campuses in five school districts. In 2017, IDRA changed the name “PTA Comunitario” to “Education CAFE,” emphasizing the diversity of communities who are engaged in impacting their public schools. Mr. Montemayor currently directs IDRA’s Education CAFE work that is establishing a network of community-based family and educator groups beyond Texas and in southern states, including Georgia, through IDRA’s Southern Education Equity Network.

Mr. Montemayor was instrumental in co-designing and implementing IDRA’s federally-funded parent information and resource center: Texas IDRA PIRC. The center brought together parents, schools, universities, community organizations and businesses to support under-served student populations. As its director for 12 years, he led in the formalization of its innovative and results-oriented approach to strengthening partnerships between parents and school personnel in serving children, the working relationship between home and school, and enhancing the developmental progress of the children assisted in this program.

In his role as an IDRA EAC-South project associate, Mr. Montemayor worked with sites in Texas, Arkansas and Florida. He has served on several national boards, including the National PTA, Parents for Public Schools (PPS) and the National Association for Bilingual Education and is a sought-after national speaker.

He has directed efforts to create and support collaborative efforts such as the Texas Latino Education Coalition, the San Antonio Coalition for Educational Excellence, and Parents Bilingual Education. He was lead trainer for 10 years with the Community Education Leadership Project in San Antonio, and has conducted leadership training for youth organizations, non-profit groups and civic organizations.

Mr. Montemayor received a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy from St. Edwards University in Austin and a master’s degree in bilingual education from Juarez-Lincoln – Antioch Graduate School of Education in Ohio. He grew up on the border in Laredo, Texas, and began his teaching career in 1964, also on the border in the San Felipe High School as an English teacher in the San Felipe neighborhood of Del Rio. His original plans to become a published writer were sidetracked by his immediate and permanent love of teaching.

However, Mr. Montemayor writes regularly for the IDRA Newsletter, has published several collections of essays and is a lead contributor to IDRA’s Classnotes podcast. He coauthored a chapter, “Unmet Promises in Texas Education,” in the 2021 book Mexican American Civil Rights in Texas: 1968 – 2018. He has a number of journal articles and book chapters that will soon be published in A Place Called Home: School-University-Community Collaboration and the Immigrant Educational Experience, and Radically Dreaming: Illuminating Freirean Praxis in Turbulent Times.

Fun facts: Aurelio is a persistent planter of and crusader for Texas wildflowers as featured in an eBook, The Thorny Path of the Non-compliant Xeriscapist. And IDRA’s founder, José A. Cárdenas, changed infant Aurelio’s diapers.


Lenguaje Dual ¡Si! Abogacía comunitaria efectiva para educación bilingüe, Eva Carranza, Lourdes Flores and Aurelio Manuel Montemayor, in press

El Curso de la Raza: The Education of Aurelio Manuel Montemayor, by Thomas Ray Garcia & Aurelio Montemayor. Foreword by Norma E. Cantú. Texas A&M University Press.

IDRA and ARISE Expand Servant Leadership to Advocacy and Action in South Texas, By Aurelio M. Montemayor, Nancy Feyl Chavkin, & Lourdes Flores. In Cases on Servant Leadership and Equity, 2023

Strategic Partnership for Family Leadership: Education CAFÉ, by Aurelio M. Montemayor, & Nancy Feyl Chavkin. In Research Anthology on Balancing Family-Teacher Partnerships for Student Success, 2023

The Dialogical Journey of Aurelio Manuel Montemayor, chapter by Aurelio M. Montemayor and Thomas Ray Garcia. In Radically Dreaming: Illuminating Freirean Praxis in Turbulent Times, May 2022

Unmet Promises in Texas Education, chapter by David Hinojosa, Maria “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, and Aurelio M. Montemayor. In Martínez, R., Brischetto, R., & Avena, J.R. (eds), Mexican American Civil Rights in Texas: 1968 – 2018, 2021

Liderazgo Familiar Intergeneracional: Intergenerational Family Leadership as a New Paradigm of Family Engagement, by Aurelio Montemayor  and Nancy Chavkin, for VUE Voices in Urban Education, September 2016

Media featuring Aurelio Montemayor

Peter Gonzales Falcon Dies: Star of Federico Fellini’s ‘Roma’ Was 75, by Martin Holmes, TV Insider, August 25, 2023 (Also in

The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline)

How second- and third-generation Latinos are reclaiming the Spanish language, by Karen Garcia, LA Times, January 31, 2023

Better Schools Through Parent Empowerment, Integrated Schools Podcast, featuring Aurelio Montemayor, April 28, 2021

Webinar Helps Teachers Connect with Students, Families, By Stefanie Jackson, Easter Shore Post, August 20, 2020

Interview with Aurelio Montemayor b the Civil Rights in Black and Brown Oral History Project at Texas Christian University,  June 23, 2016

How ‘Comunitarios’ Are Changing the Way Schools and Communities Collaborate, by Aurelio Montemayor for the National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE) Blog, May 23, 2016

“Communitarios” – A New Approach to Family Leadership in Education, by Aurelio Montemayor for the National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE) Blog, May 23, 2016

Video: Communities Using Data – IDRA OurSchool Portal, Aurelio Montemayor interview, 2015

Video: National PTA – Emerging Minority Leaders Conference, Aurelio Montemayor presentation, 2013

Univision Video: Latinos with the Highest Dropout Rates, Aurelio Montemayor interview, 2011

Profile interview published in Our Children magazine, October-November 2008


Texas Needs to Keep Its Eye on the Ball – Keep the Public in Public Schools, September 14, 2016

Texas Parents and Civil Rights Groups Call for High-Quality Curriculum, January 28, 2014

Slideshare Presentation

Building Powerful Family Leadership for Educational Success: PTA Comunitario in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, with Nancy F. Chavkin, American Educational Research Association (AERA), April 20, 2015