Dual Language Community Lab Schools Partnership

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The Bilingual Advantage:

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Clinical Teacher working with student on work assignment


Photo of SAISD Principals with Dr. Juanita Sanos in front of an SAISD signUTSA partners with SAISD to establish Dual Language Community Lab Schools

The UTSA College of Education and Human Development (COEHD)  and San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) are partnering to lead three Dual Language Community Lab Schools.

As part of Senate Bill 1882, signed into law during the 2017 Texas legislative session, the partnership aims to create a dual-language model lab school network that will advance the preparation of teachers, principals, counselors, school psychologists, and others dedicated to educating bilingual students in San Antonio.




UTSA Dual Language Community Lab Schools Leadership

Juanita Santos


Juanita Santos, Ed.D

Executive Director

UTSA Dual Language Community Lab Schools Partnership Professional Preparation & Partnerships


Claudia Cabrera


Claudia Cabrera, M.Ed.

Assistant Director

UTSA Dual Language Community Lab Schools Partnership Professional Preparation & Partnerships


Mario Torres


Mario Torres, Ph.D.


Dean of the College of Education and Human Development


Belinda Flores


Belinda Flores, Ph.D.


Associate Dean for Strategic Partnerships, Preparation and Growth, Professor, Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies Principal Investigator & Founder, Academy for Teacher Excellence Research Center 

Michael Vriesenga


Michael Vriesenga, Ph.D.


Director for Assessment and Program Accountability at the University of Texas at San Antonio.


UTSA Dual Language Community Lab Schools Leadership: Principals

Rebecca DeLeon


Rebecca DeLeon

San Antonio Independent School District

Charles Graebner Elementary Principal

Chris Herrera


Christopher Herrera

San Antonio Independent School District

James Bonham Academy Principal

Mayra Gutierrez Ibarra


Mayra Gutierrez-Ibarra

San Antonio Independent School District

Washington Irving Dual Language Learning Academy Principal

David Garcia


David Garcia

San Antonio Independent School District

Mark Twain Dual Language Academy Principal

Read Principal Biographies

Rebecca De Leon (Graebner Elementary)  
David Garcia (Mark Twain Dual Language Academy)  
Mayra Gutierrez Ibarra (Irving Dual Language Academy)  
Christopher Herrera – Bonham Academy  

Welcome Graebner Elementary!

The UTSA 1882 Dual Language Community Lab Schools Partnership is excited to welcome Graebner Elementary! Graebner serves 670 PreK-5th grade students and 78 staff members. It is the largest elementary school in San Antonio ISD and is lead by principal, Ms. Rebecca DeLeon.

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Pre-K teacher for Graebner Elementary working with students

Board Meeting Zoom Recordings

March 28, 2022 - UTSA DL Board Meeting


UTSA Dual Language CLS Partnership Board Meeting August 23, 2022

BoardMemberEricaCastro.JPGMrs. Erica Lira Castro Chairperson of the Board

Mrs. Lira-Castro is a first-generation college student, she earned a bachelor's degree in English, and then went on to receive a master's degree in educational leadership. Erica worked as an elementary school math teacher for over a decade and now serves as an education consultant. She previously worked with Dr. Jill Biden to encourage more Latinos to consider entering the field of teaching. Erica currently works in Harlandale Independent School District in San Antonio. She previously served as the Lead Instructional Coach and is now the Human Resources Coordinator of Teacher Incentive Allotment (TIA), T-TESS, & 504s.





Board-Member-Yvone-Katz.pngDr. Yvonne Katz | Vice Chairperson of the Board

Dr. Yvonne Katz spent 39 years in public education as a classroom teacher in regular/special education; middle school principal; Director of Accreditation and Associate Commissioner at the Texas Education Agency; superintendent for almost 20 years in the Harlandale ISD, Beaverton School District (Oregon), and Spring Branch ISD (Houston). Understanding the need to continue to support education, she was the organizer and first president of the UTSA Alumni Association and was the first inductee as the Distinguished Alumna. She began the scholarship program for the Alumni Association and challenged all alums to contribute as they have for over 30 years.





Board-Member-Richard-Middleton.pngDr. Richard Middleton | Board Member

Dr. Middleton is a former North East ISD Superintendent. He graduated from NEISD's Lee High School before getting a bachelor's in history and government from Trinity University and beginning his education career at San Antonio Independent School District's Whittier Middle School in 1972. Soon after, he began teaching history and government at NEISD's Roosevelt High. By 1974, Middleton had earned his master’s in curriculum and instruction at the University of Texas at San Antonio and had become an administrative assistant to NEISD's superintendent. Middleton earned a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Texas at Austin in 1986 and became deputy superintendent for instruction at Lamar Consolidated Independent School District in Rosenberg the same year. Middleton returned to NEISD in 1987 as associate superintendent of administrative services and, later, superintendent. For the past three years, North East ISD has been a recognized district under the state's accountability ratings.



Board-Member-Dr.-Abelardo-Villarreal.pngDr. Abelardo Villarreal | Intercultural Development Research Association

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. 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 the 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. 


Board-Member-Dalia-Contreras.jpgMrs. Dalia Contreras | Senior Director of Community Engagement at City Education Partners 

Dalia Flores Contreras is the Senior Director of Community Engagement at City Education Partners (CEP). Dalia grew up in the west side of San Antonio and is a graduate of both Palo Alto College (PAC) and The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). She holds a bachelor's in Interdisciplinary Studies and a master's in educational leadership and Policy Studies from UTSA. She has over 14 years of experience in education and has served in a variety of roles from classroom teacher to Superintendent of schools. She has had the opportunity to study, learn and work in the education ecosystem of Texas, Illinois, and Oklahoma. Dalia is extremely passionate about authentic community engagement and believes in the power of educating, equipping, and empowering families and communities to be advocates and change makers.



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College of Education and Human Development
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Phone: 210-458-4370 | education@utsa.edu