Khiandra Woods currently serves as the Clinical Teaching Director for the undergraduate teacher preparation program at the University of North Texas, Dallas. In this role, Khiandra fosters relationships with district partners through the collaborative placement of teacher candidates. She also provides ongoing Mentor training to focus on effective coaching techniques as well as focusing on Co-Teaching models and specific indicators on the TAP Rubric. Khiandra is also responsible for planning and facilitating Governance Meetings with district partners to foster a collaborative dialogue and gain valuable feedback from district stakeholders. Khiandra providers coaching support to the Site Coordinators and Field Supervisors in the College of Education.
Prior to joining the team at the University of North Texas -Dallas, Khiandra worked in the Grand Prairie Independent School District. During this time, she served as a 1st grade teacher for 10 years, 3rd grade teacher for 4 years, Master teacher for 2 years and Assistant Principal for 1 year. During this myriad of experiences, Khiandra served on the District Improvement Council and an integral part of deciding on revisions to the district Code of Conduct and the annual district calendar. On the campus level, Khiandra provided Professional Development of new instructional strategies to teachers and instructional aids. She tracked and monitored the progress of 504, ELL, SPED, and students on RTI Tiers to ensure that student supports and accommodations were implemented with fidelity. Khiandra served as the campus discipline coordinator – responsible for training staff on the campus discipline plan, monitoring the implementation of discipline protocols, meeting with students to reteach appropriate behavior expectations and coping skills, and monitoring discipline data to identify trends. Khiandra was the Testing Coordinator for TELPAS, and district assessments – in which she was responsible for training teachers on testing protocols and procedures, creating small group student assignments, collecting and verifying accommodations and supports for appropriate students groups, facilitating a testing environment on testing days, and collecting and organizing testing materials. Khiandra was also the campus LPAC Chair, 504 Coordinator, Safety Officer, and Textbook Coordinator. During her time in the classroom, she served as an ESL 1st and 3rd grade teacher. She was a team teacher in the Gomez and Gomez Dual language Model. Khiandra was Teacher of Year in Years 2005 and 2010.
Khiandra obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Southern University A&M College. She went on to receive an Educational Leadership certificate from Dallas Baptist University, and later a Masters in Educational Leaderships from Grand Canyon University.
Khiandra is a certified inspector of teacher preparation programs.
Paulette Garza has been in the field of education for thirty-eight years. Her nineteen-year teaching experience spans early childhood through eighth grade in a variety of settings. As an elementary teacher, she worked with Region 13 to design and implement the first collaborative teaching inclusion setting in the Austin area. She trained and served as the lead support for a demonstration school for this model of inclusion for three years.
For the past twenty-five years, her focus has been on improving student outcomes in reading.
Beginning in 2004, she worked as a district reading specialist/coach for Austin Independent School District. She trained and coached special education teachers from early childhood through high school in the administration and analysis of diagnostic assessments aligned to interventions and progress monitoring; inclusion models and differentiation strategies. During this time, she also worked with the RtI and ELA departments to design a multi-tiered system of support aligned to district resources.
While working at the University of Texas Elementary School as the senior intervention specialist, she assisted in the development of an Urban Education Collaborative pilot. The pilot partnered the University of Texas Charter School with The University of Texas. The purpose of this pilot was to provide education majors with evidence- based strategies and structures to prepare them to teach students in urban settings. Paulette provided professional development for the professors in these cohorts and served as a guest lecturer in reading and early childhood courses. In this position, her responsibilities included overseeing dyslexia interventions, 504 services, as well as all tiered interventions for academics, behavioral and social emotional learning.
Paulette spent her last six years in the public-school system working with the Texas Literacy Grant as a district primary literacy specialist. Working in conjunction with the Vaughn-Gross Center at the University of Texas, she provided a coaching model of professional development revolving around student data and individual teacher needs for twenty-one campuses in kindergarten through second grade. This model included direct professional development in the areas of reading and written expression for teachers and campus coaches. This training was followed up by facilitating grade levels in setting goals based on student data, coaching, modeling, collaborative teaching and classroom observations.
Paulette received her bachelor’s degree in Special Education and Elementary Education. She went on to receive her master’s degree from Lamar University in Teacher Leadership with a specialization in Special Education. Paulette is a TPI-US certified inspector of teacher preparation programs.
Meranda Sierra currently is a full-time consultant for TPI-US. Previously, she was a site coordinator and instructor in the Teacher Education Department in the College of Education at Texas Tech University (TTU).
As a site coordinator, Meranda’s role is to prepare highly effective teachers, provide hands on support and development that result in student achievement gains, and to work as a liaison to foster positive relationships between placement schools and the university. In addition, she also facilitates ongoing professional development and support to mentor teachers and teacher candidates.
As an instructor, Meranda has taught various courses in the Teacher Education Department at TTU. These include courses in which teacher candidates learn various strategies that help scaffold the learning of second language learners, social studies, and elementary mathematics methods courses where teacher candidates are provided with mathematics content knowledge for teaching at the elementary level, and capstone courses where teacher candidates are coached and given professional development. In the math methods course, she was part of a team that did research on “Characteristics of Elementary Preservice Teachers’ Knowledge of Fractions for Teaching: A video analysis” and “Relationship Between Mathematics Knowledge for Teaching and Teaching Practices: A Video Analysis of Elementary Preservice Teachers.”
By being both a site coordinator and instructor Meranda has had the rewarding opportunity to support teacher candidates as they connect and apply the knowledge and skills that they learned in their coursework to real world classroom settings with children.
Prior to joining Texas Tech University, Meranda spent time in the classroom working in grades 1st, 2nd, and 4th grade. During this time, she had the opportunity to lead professional development in writing for the school and district and was elected to be a representative for multiple district curriculum committees. While in the classroom, she had to opportunity to conduct research and write curriculum for fourth grade writing students that taught them how to use and manipulate their writing by using a genre-based approach and researched based strategies to understand the bigger concept of language. Meranda received Teacher of the Year award in 2012. She received her Master’s Degree in Curriculum & Instruction with an emphasis in ESL from Texas Tech University.
Meranda is TAP certified by National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) and is a TPI-US certified inspector of teacher preparation programs.