Debra Rodriguez is a researcher at AIR, and serves as the project manager for the Texas Comprehensive Center. In this role, she works closely with the director and deputy director to ensure the Center’s technical assistance is aligned with national, state, and local intiatives and projects have the staff and expertise needed to support the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) objectives. Rodriguez's current work includes serving as state implementation coordinator for the Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction, and Learning (C-SAIL) implementation study, a collaboration between TEA and C-SAIL, in a multi-state, five-year study of college and career readiness standards (CCRS) and implementation that will serve to inform CCRS policy and practices in the state and nationally. She also serves as site coordinator and recruitment lead for REL studies in Texas and New Mexico. Previously, she conducted the internal evaluation for the Texas and Southeast Comprehensive Centers, assisting in data collection and analysis to inform the progress and achievement of the Centers’ capacity building goals for State Education agency staff.
Rodriguez's experience includes assisting in the national multisite cluster randomized controlled trials of SRA Imagine It! Open Court Reading and Everyday Mathematics. Her areas of expertise include assessment, reading and literacy, English language learning instruction, and strategic instruction for students with learning disabilities. Rodriguez has investigated the impact of second language acquisition on student identification for special education in Hispanic populations. Utilizing a multisite cluster randomized design, she has pursued the additional research interests of assessing the effectiveness of instruction for English language learners and struggling adolescent readers. Rodriguez served as a research and evaluation field team member for SEDL’s evaluation of the Louisiana Striving Readers project, a randomized controlled trial of the Voyager Passport Reading Journeys curriculum for struggling adolescent readers.
Prior to her work at AIR, Rodriguez held various positions at the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk (MCPER) including data collection team lead, interventionist, and research assistant. Using multiple methods for large-scale data collection, she focused on addressing the critical need for effective content-area instruction for English language learners, testing the efficacy of reading intervention with struggling readers, and evaluating the effectiveness of a dropout prevention program for secondary students. Rodriguez was a special education teacher in the Austin Independent School District.