Dr. Juan Lira Receives TAHSA's "Educator of the Year" Award

Dr. Juan R. Lira, Professor of Education at Texas A&M International University, has been named the 2000 Educator of the Year by the Texas Association of Hispanic School Administrators (TAHSA).

He was one of five educators state-wide to receive the prestigious award.

Dr. Lira was nominated for the award by Richard Perales, Principal of Paciano Prada Elementary School (United Independent School District, Laredo) and Derly Villarreal, Director of Special Education at Zapata County Independent School District.

" I feel very honored to have been selected by TAHSA as an outstanding educator. Their dedication to insuring that all students obtain an education of the highest quality is indeed commendable and greatly appreciated. I am also extremely proud to be an educator, since my career has afforded me many opportunities to interact with many wonderful people in many capacities," he said.

Dr. Lira has devoted his life to the profession of education and has been an educator for over 30 years. He joined the A&M International faculty in 1978. During his career with the University, he has served the institution in numerous capacities including instructor, chair of the Division of Education and Psychology, teacher certification officer, and Dean of the College of Education. In recognition of his outstanding teaching, scholarship, and service, Dr. Lira was named A&M International's Scholar of the Year for 1999-2000.

Prior to joining the University, he was a reading instructor at Laredo Community College. He also taught in public elementary schools in Laredo and San Antonio for eight years.

Additionally, he has been a school board member for the United Independent School District and has served on advisory committees for the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and the State Board for Educator Certification.

Dr. Lira has published extensively in the field of literacy. His latest efforts include authoring a chapter in a book entitled The Power of Two Languages 2000 published by the McGraw-Hill School Division. He also is one of the authors of the Lectura Spanish Reading Series (McGraw-Hill School Division).

He has lectured extensively on literacy at civic, state, national, and international levels and regularly works with teachers, students, and administrators to promote literacy development.

Dr. Lira holds a B.A. from Texas A&I University, an M.S. from Texas A&I University at Laredo, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Reading from The University of Texas at Austin. Additionally, he holds certification in Reading, Bilingual Education, Language/Learning Disabilities, Elementary Education, and Educational Supervision.

He is married to Juanita Lira, a retired educator.

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