jesse image Dr. Jesse Gainer

Jesse S. Gainer is an assistant professor of Curriculum and Instruction at Texas State University—San Marcos. Jesse has also worked as a bilingual elementary teacher and as a Reading Recovery teacher. He earned a Ph.D. in Curriculum Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. His research interest center on critical media literacy and intersections of language, culture, politics in literacy education.

sarah image Dr. Sarah Nelson
Research Faculty

Sarah W. Nelson is an associate professor of Education and Community Leadership at Texas State University–San Marcos. Before joining the faculty of Texas State, Sarah served as the principal of a large urban elementary school. She has also worked as a teacher assistant, special education teacher, technology specialist, curriculum facilitator and central office administrator. Sarah earned her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in Public School Executive Leadership. Her research interests center on policies and practices related to educational equity. Sarah is practitioner at heart and continues to work in the field to help educators develop culturally responsive teaching and learning environments and to create community-based leadership practices. She has one daughter and loves being a mom. She also enjoys traveling and can pack everything she needs in one small carryon bag.

jason image Jason Aleman
Project Coordinator

Jason is the proud father of two young boys currently attending public schools in the Greater San Antonio area. Over the past five years, he has worked in the fields of community development and resident leadership at the local, state, and national levels. Jason has a BA in Education from The University of Texas at San Antonio and received his Masters of Science in Social Work from The University of Texas at Austin. Currently, he is a doctoral student at Texas State University in the College of Education. Jason’s research agenda and areas of interest include equity and access to education for Latino families and building strong community and school partnerships. When not spending time with his boys, Jason enjoys art and music.

michelle image Michelle Sanchez
Project Assistant

Michelle is a secretary in the STELLAR team. She has been working in the administrative field for 10 years. She is happy to be at Texas State University-San Marcos and working with such wonderful people. Michelle enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She also enjoys volunteering in her community with her family.