Texas School Ready

Texas School Ready (TSR) is a comprehensive, research-based professional development program for early education teachers that ensures at-risk children receive targeted instruction in critical school readiness skills. Thousands of pre-K centers in Texas have implemented the program since 2003. As TSR has grown, researchers at the Children’s Learning Institute at the University of Texas Health Science Center have been collecting incredible amounts of data to track changes in teachers’ instructional practices and advancements in their students’ school readiness skills. The results of this research speak to the innovation and effectiveness of TSR. 

Amarillo College serves as one of 25 lead agencies for Texas School Ready.  These lead agencies partner with child care and Head Start teachers in their local communities to provide comprehensive services, including training, materials, and coaching.  Preschool teachers enrolled in TSR participate in a comprehensive teacher training program designed to help children be better prepared for kindergarten and beyond.  Multiple research studies have confirmed that Texas School Ready positively impacts teacher instructional practices in the classroom, regardless of setting (public school pre-k, Head Start, and private child care classrooms). Teachers participating in TSR Comprehensive are more responsive to the individual needs of the children in their classrooms. They show increases in their use of language-building strategies, including the quality of book reading, general conversations with children, and the use of oral language instruction to build these skills. Even greater gains have been found in emergent literacy instructional practices. Teachers also show better responsive teaching practices, organization of their centers, and the use of lesson plans. For more information on Texas School Ready go to: https://texasschoolready.org/.   


Meet the TSR Grant Team

Whitney Nestlehut is a Program Manager for the Texas School Ready Project through the Children's Learning Institute at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston.  She was previously the Director at the AC Child Development Lab School on the West Campus.  She holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Oklahoma State University and a M.S. in Leadership and Ethics from John Brown University.  Whitney joined the AC family in June 2009 after moving to Amarillo from Arkansas, where she worked as an Early Childhood Consultant for Arkansas State University.

Victoria Zuniga is a Coordinator and Coach with the Texas School Ready Project through the Children’s Learning Institute at the University of Texas – Houston. Victoria graduated from WTAMU with a B.S in Interdisciplinary Studies. She began her teaching career for Hereford ISD teaching 2nd grade bilingual for two years. She then moved to Amarillo and taught Head Start for three years through Region 16. While at Region 16, she was able to participate in the Texas School Ready Project as a teacher! She is certified to teach EC-6 and ESL and is currently working on her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction at WTAMU. Victoria joined the AC family in September 2017.

Emily Stowers joined the TSR team in August 2019 as a Remote Mentor Coach.  Previously, she was the EDUC/CDEC Advising Associate and is currently an Adjunct Faculty member for the Education & Child Development Department.  Upon graduating from Texas Tech University, she began teaching in Dimmitt and Friona high schools as a Family and Consumer Sciences teacher.  In 2015, she began teaching for AC part time. In 2016, she joined AC as the Director of the Child Development Lab School on West Campus.  She received a strong foundation from AC as a Dual Credit student that carried her through her Bachelor’s degree and now into her grad work at West Texas A & M.