Dr. Josefina V. Tinajero

Dean, College of Education
El Paso, Texas
United States

Focus Areas

Higher Education
Youth Development
Youth Development


Josefina (“Josie”) Villamil Tinajero, Dean of the College of Education at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and Professor of Bilingual Education is a leading scholar, educator and advocate on issues of equity and excellence for culturally and linguistically diverse children and families. She has been a major force in shaping public policy in the U.S. in support of linguistically diverse children and families, and has founded educational programs that provide novice and experienced educators with the skills and knowledge needed for educating an increasingly diverse society. One of these, the Mother-Daughter/Father-Son Program, is nationally recognized for its success in providing educational and career opportunities for thousands of Hispanic girls and boys, together with their mothers and fathers. Tinajero’s rich knowledge and experience in relation to effective educational reform, cultural and linguistic diversity, and school achievement have been key vehicles for effecting positive change at UTEP and in the local community. Currently, she is co-PI of a major grant from the Carnegie Corporation. This project, “Teachers for a New Era” is a landmark initiative designed to strengthen K-12 teaching by using research and evidence to develop state-of-the-art programs at schools of education. UTEP was selected as one of 11 U.S. universities to pilot this new initiative. Tinajero is an active member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of College for Teacher Education (AACTE) and the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE). She is a member of the Governing Board of the National Network for Educational Renewal (NNER). She is a noted spokesperson for the critical need for incorporating culturally relevant pedagogy into the curriculum, and has been an invited keynote speaker on issues of language, equity, and education at conferences in the U.S., Mexico, El Salvador, Israel, and Costa Rica. Dr. Tinajero’s areas of expertise span diverse fields, including program development and school-university partnerships, and she has served as consultant for numerous U.S. school districts in their design of ESL, bilingual, literacy, and bi-literacy programs. She has served on state and national advisory committees and boards for standards development, including the English as a New Language Advisory Panel of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards and the Texas Reading Academies. She served as president of the National Association for Bilingual Education for an unprecedented four terms and president of the Texas Association for Bilingual Education. She is the author of several comprehensive, multi-component reading/language arts and ESL programs, including Spotlight on Literacy; McGraw-Hill Reading, Cuentamundos, Campanitas de Oro all published by Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Publishing Co., and Into English! (2001); High Point (2002); and Avenues published by Hampton-Brown Books. Her co-edited books, Educating Latino Students, The Power of Two Languages, Literacy Assessment of Second Language Learners, and Teaching all the Children are used by universities throughout the United States. Dr. Tinajero has received numerous awards, including the Chancellor’s Council Award for Teaching Excellence from the UT System/UTEP; the REACH (REcognized ACHievement) Award; the Maestro TESOL Award; the Diamond Jubilee Gem Award for Outstanding Service to UTEP; Orgullo Hispano for outstanding service as role model to Hispanics; the LULAC Council 335 Outstanding Educator Award; the Hispanic and Business Alliance for Education Award for Outstanding Service to the Community and was inducted into the El Paso Women’s Hall of Fame. She has also been recognized by the national office of the American Association of University Women for "Helping Girls and Young Women Discover and Achieve their Infinite Potential" and by the Hispanic Women's Network of Texas: "A Salute for Time, Effort and Dedication Devoted to the Advancement and Success of Hispanic Women." She received the prestigious Eleanor Roosevelt Award from the American Association of University Women for her work with the Mother-Daughter Program. Most recently, Dr. Tinajero was named one of 80 Most Influential Hispanics in the U. S. by U. S. Hispanic Business Magazine, the 2005 Outstanding U.S. Bilingual Educator by the Education Ministry of Spain; the 2002 Texas Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. She also received the 2002 Multicultural Educator Award from the National Association for Multicultural Education and was honored with the Texas Higher Education Star Award for the Mother-Daughter Program. She holds a B.S. degree in Elementary Education/Reading and an M. Ed. in Supervision and Administration from UTEP. She holds a mid-management certificate from Our Lady of the Lake University and a Doctoral degree from Texas A&M University/Kingsville in Curriculum and Instruction with an Emphasis in Bilingual Education.