Rafael Lara-Alecio, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator, Texas A&M University
Professor and Director of Bilingual Programs
Department of Educational Psychology
College of Education and Human Development
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX

Dr. Rafael Lara-Alecio has served as Principal Investigator of numerous grants related to English language acquisition, dual language instruction, and general bilingual education. He is a researcher who focuses on issues of social responsibility related to English language learners and has presented and published extensively in this field. He is the co-developer of a pedagogical theory for bilingual education classrooms and the co-developer of a direct classroom observation system for teachers serving English language learners. He has held state and national offices in research organizations. Lara-Alecio also conducts research internationally, mainly in Central America. He has a background in science and mathematics, having taught in a dual language program in Guatemala. Additionally, he has served as an administrator and president in a major international university system. His degrees are from la Universidad de San Carlos (Guatemala- Bachelors), la Universidad Del Valle (Guatemala- Masters), and the University of Utah (Doctorate).

Beverly J. Irby, Ed.D

Principal Investigator, Sam Houston State University
Associate Dean for Graduate Programs
Texas State University System Regents’ Professor
College of Education
Sam Houston State University

Huntsville, TX

Dr. Beverly J. Irby has served as Principal Investigator of numerous grants that target English language learners’ needs.  She has served as Chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling at Sam Houston State University and currently serves as Associate Dean for Graduate Programs in the College of Education.  Irby is widely published and is co-editor and founder of the Advancing Women in Leadership Journal and is editor of the Mentoring and Tutoring Journal.  She conducts international research in dual language education.  She has an undergraduate minor in math and science and has taught elementary science methods, bilingual/ESL, research, and leadership courses at the university level.  Her degrees are from Delta State University (Mississippi-Bachelors), University of Mississippi (Masters and Doctorate).

Fuhui Tong, Ph.D.

Internal Evaluator, Texas A&M University
Assistant Professor and Coordinator Bilingual Data Center
Department of Educational Psychology
College of Education and Human Development
Texas A&M University

College Station, TX

Dr. Fuhui Tong is serving as Internal Evaluator for the MSSELL grant and has served as Co-Principal Investigator on another bilingual grant.  Tong is Coordinator for the Bilingual Data Center, Bilingual Programs at Texas A&M University.  She is an expert at research data gathering and processing, as well as research design and analyses, particularly in the area of second language acquisition.  She has been nominated for and won several research awards.  She is widely published and has taught English as a second language in China, and second language acquisition and research.  Her degrees are from Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China-Bachelors and Masters), and Texas A&M University (Doctorate).

David J. Francis, Ph.D.

External Evaluator
Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor
Chairman of the Department of Psychology
Director, Texas Institute for Measurement, Evaluation, and Statistics
Director, National Research & Development Center for English Language Learners
Co-Director, Texas Learning and Computation Center
University of Houston
Houston, TX

Dr. David J. Francis, External Evaluator for MSSELL, is a Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor and a recipient of the University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award and a former member of the National Institute of Health’s Behavioral Medicine Study Section.


He is a Fellow of Division 5 (Measurement, Evaluation, and Statistics) of the American Psychology Association and current member of the Independent Review Panel for the National Assessment of Title I and the Technical Advisory Group of the What Works Clearing House.


His areas of quantitative interest include modeling of individual growth, multi-level and mixture modeling, structural equation modeling, item response theory, and exploratory data analysis.


Dr. Francis currently collaborates on multiple contracts and grants funded by NICHD, the Institute of Education Sciences of the US Department of Education, the National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders, the Texas Education Agency, and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Linda Rodriguez, Ph.D.


Dr. Linda Rodriguez, Area Superintendent, is the Aldine Independent School District MSSELL Liaison.  Her expertise is in bilingual program development.  Her degrees are from University of Texas – Pan American (Bachelors), Stephen F. Austin State University (Masters), and Sam Houston State University (Doctorate).



Cindy Guerrero, M. Ed.


Cindy Guerrero is the Lead Coordinator for the NSF MSSELL grant.  Her areas of expertise are curriculum and second language acquisition.  Her degrees are from Texas State University (Bachelors and Masters), and Texas A&M University (Masters).  She will complete her Ph. D. in December 2011, from Texas A&M University.