Governor Abbott Appoints Six To Continuing Advisory Committee For Special Education
Governor Greg Abbott has reappointed Aaron Bangor, Ph.D. and Marissa Esquivel and appointed Tara Pittman Cevallos, Kevin Markel, and Juana “Janie” Melendez to the Continuing Advisory Committee for Special Education for terms set to expire on February 1, 2027. Additionally, the Governor appointed Adrian Guerra, D.M.A. for a term set to expire on February 1, 2025. The Committee provides policy guidance on special education and related services for children with disabilities in Texas.
Aaron Bangor, Ph.D. of Austin is senior lead - user experience researcher at AT&T and vice chair of the Continuing Advisory Committee for Special Education. He is a member of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals and Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Additionally, he is chair of Disability:IN Central Texas, has served as a technical and policy expert for accessibility and disability issues with the Federal Communications Commission and Council of State Governments, and is active in national and international standards. He is board certified as both a human factors professional and an accessibility professional. Bangor received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering, and a Master of Science and a Doctor of Philosophy in Human Factors Engineering from Virginia Tech.
Marissa Esquivel of Beeville is the director of special education programs at St. Mary's Academy Charter School. She is a member of the Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education and the Council of Exceptional Children. Esquivel received a Bachelor of Liberal Arts from The University of Texas at Brownsville and a Master of Special Education from The University of Texas Permian Basin and is currently pursuing a diagnostician certification.
Tara Pittman Cevallos of Austin is principal at St. Austin Catholic School. She is a member of the Academic Language Therapy Association, International Multisensory Structured Language Education Center, and Diocesan School Advisory Board and Finance Chair for the Dyslexia Center of Austin. Cevallos received a Bachelor of Science from The University of Texas at Austin, a Master of Arts from Midwestern University, and a certificate in school leadership from Creighton University.
Kevin Markel of Crowley is a transition program specialist for the Texas Workforce Commission. He received a Bachelor of Science from Oral Roberts University and a Master of Science from the University of North Texas.
Juana “Janie” Melendez of Hidalgo is a teacher for Valley View Independent School District (ISD) in Pharr. She is a member of the Association of Texas Professional Educators and the McAllen Evening Rotary and treasurer for Objective Watchers of the Legal System. Melendez received a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, a Master of Science in Criminal Justice, and a Master of Public Administration from The University of Texas–Pan American.
Adrian Guerra, D.M.A. of Roma is the special education director for Roma ISD, where he previously served as federal programs director, performing arts director, and choir director at different times since 1997. He is a member of the Texas Association of School Administrators and the American Association of School Administrators and board member for the Starr County Hospital District. He also serves as Minister of Music for Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church in Roma. Guerra received a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education and a Master of Education in Education Administration from The University of Texas–Pan American and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Music Education from Boston University.