Welcome New Faculty
2014-2015 Academic Year
Department of Curriculum & Pedagogy
Dr. Puneet Gill attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa where she received her Educational Specialist Degree and Ph.D. in Instructional Leadership with a concentration in Social and Cultural Studies of Education. Her experience in teaching includes science education at the high school, middle school, and pre-K grade levels. She also worked at The Women’s Resource Center as the Education and Leadership Programming Coordinator in Tuscaloosa where she coordinated a mentoring and leadership program for young women and girls. Her research interests include socioscientific issues, including sex education, in science classrooms. She joined Texas A&M International University as an Assistant Professor in the College of Education, Curriculum & Pedagogy Department, where she teaches Early Childhood and Curriculum and Instruction classes.
Dr. Jason Norris received both his master’s and doctoral degrees from Arizona State University. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Kinesiology in the College of Edcation's Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at Texas A&M International University. Prior to attending graduate school, Dr. Norris was a high school physical education teacher and football coach in Washington and California. His research interests focus on teacher evaluation and school site physical activity. In his free time, Dr. Norris enjoys spending time with his family, playing golf, and cheering on his beloved Seattle sports teams. Go Seahawks!
Dr. Jacqueline E. Romano attended the Benemerita Escuela Nacional para Maestros in Mexico City –“Normal de Maestros” as an education major. She continued her studies at California State University, San Bernardino, a designated Hispanic-serving school and one of the most diverse in California. There she earned a bachelor’s degree, in Spanish Literature and a bachelor’s degree, in Liberal Studies. She holds a master’s degree, in Bilingual Education, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Texas Tech University. She was selected as a U.S. Congressional Intern in 2006, in the House of Representatives. Her emphasis is on creativity, intuition, and learning to make good choices. Her areas of interest are: teacher preparation, multicultural/multilingual education, curriculum and instruction, high-stakes testing, educational policy and laws, bilingual/ESL education programs, and biliteracy. She joined The College of Educations's Bilingual program as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy.
Dr. Tonya M. Trepinski was in the United States Marine Corp before entering public education where she has approximately 10 years of experience in the public school systems, both in California and Texas. Dr. Trepinski taught general education, special education, and students that were at-risk. Her range of experience allows a deeper understanding of the teacher candidate and educator curriculum. Dr. Trepinski received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, San Diego, in Critical Gender Studies with a minor in English literature. Her master’s degree is in Special Education from Texas Tech University and she recently received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Baylor University. She joined Texas A&M International University as an Assistant Professor in the College of Education, Curriculum & Pedagogy Department, where she teaches Special Education.
Department of Professional Programs
Dr. Stephen Benigno grew up in Northern California and began coaching at the age of 18. He played intercollegiate football at Pittsburg State University in Kansas. His first teaching position was in the Midwest. After a successful teaching and coaching career in Oklahoma he moved back to California where he was a teacher and an administrator in the California K-12 system. He spent time as an administrator in Las Vegas, Nevada; Cummings, Georgia; and Miami Beach, Florida. Most recently he worked in the Tulsa Public Schools System as a Dean and as an English Language Learner Coordinator. Dr. Benigno held positions as a teacher, an activity director, an athletic director, a program specialist, an assistant principal and as a principal. He also taught at Pittsburg State University in the area of Curriculum and Instruction. His Ph.D. degree is from University of Southern Mississippi and joined Texas A&M International University as an Assistant Professor in the College of Education, Professional Programs Department, where he teaches in the Educational Leadership program.
Visiting Assistant Professor
Dr. Karyn Miller was an America Corp member and she taught eighth grade English Language Arts and Social Studies for three years in New York City. She is interested in issues of educational access and attainment for all children. Her research focuses on both international and domestic education policy concerns. In addition to her scholarly research, Dr. Miller worked with governmental agencies and education non-profits to conduct research that directly informs educational policy decision-making. She completed her Ph.D. in Education Policy from Michigan State University in 2012, and holds a master’s degree in Teaching from Pace University and a bachelor’s degree in English from The Colorado College. Dr. Miller joined Texas A&M International University as an Assistant Professor in the College of Education, Professional Programs Department, where she teaches Research Methods.
Clinical Assistant Professor
Ms. Bonnie Villarreal is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Reading in the College of Education at Texas A&M International University. Her primary areas of teaching are Reading and Special Education. Prior to joining Texas A&M International University full time, Ms. Villarreal served as an adjunct instructor in the College of Education for several years, and simultaneously worked at Trautmann Elementary School as a Special Education teacher for seven years in both Resource and Structured Language Classrooms. At Trautmann Elementary, she was elected the 2012-2013 Elementary Teacher of the Year. Ms. Villarreal holds a master’s degree in Special Education with a minor in Reading and a bachelor’s degree in Special Education, from Texas A&M International University.
Dr. Maria de Lourdes Viloria recently stepped away from her administrative role as an elementary school principal where she completed 26 years of experience. While she was the principal at Dr. S. Perez Elementary, the school was academically recognized by the Texas Education Agency in 2009 and 2011. She also held other roles as an assistant principal and teacher from pre-kindergarten to second grade during her years as a P-6 educator. She received her Ph.D. in Education Administration from Texas A&M University at College Station. Dr. Viloria joined Texas A&M International University as an Assistant Professor in the College of Education, Professional Programs Department, where she teaches in the Educational Leadership program.