Iliana Alanís is a native of the Rio Grande Valley in deep south Texas. She is currently an associate professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching for the University of Texas at San Antonio. With over 20 years in the early childhood field, her work focuses on teaching practices in culturally and linguistically diverse early childhood contexts with an emphasis on the effect of schooling for language minority children in Spanish/English dual language programs. She is especially interested in forms of teaching that promote native language development and its correlation to second language acquisition. Her recent research focuses on higher-order cognitive and linguistic interaction primarily found in student–student exchanges.
Iliana is a former president of the Texas Association for Bilingual Education and former board member for the National Latino Children’s Institute). She was elected to a four-year term as a Governing Board member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in 2016. She also serves as an Early Childhood Advisory Board member for Scholastic Education. Iliana has written numerous publications that highlight the intersection of early childhood and dual language education. For the last 18 years, she has facilitated professional development for early childhood teachers in dual language classrooms across the country as a member of the Dual Language Training Institute.