National Association of English Learner Program Administrators

About the National Association of English Learner Program Administrators.


NAELPA is organized for the mutual communications, professional development of its members, and support for English Learner students (ELs) regarding the education and services for ELs.


The NAELPA serves as the voice of ELs, representing SEAs and LEAs across the United States. We are small enough to hear individual voices, yet powerful enough to be heard as a whole. The organization provides its members with direct contact with the change agents in each state and at the Federal level. With two-way communication between the council and the decision makers, our voice can be heard.


The NAELPA’s communication purposes include, but are not limited to: 

  •  Providing for intercommunication among members to facilitate effective English Language Development (ELD) programs and activities for achieving national, state, and local educational goals.
  •  Disseminating information to its members, individuals, and other organizations on relevant research, effective and research based instructional strategies, news, tools, and resources for administration of programs for ELs. 

The NAELPA’s professional development purposes include, but are not limited to: 

  •  Ensuring that members are knowledgeable of effective administration of national and state programs for the education of ELs.
  •  Ensuring that members are knowledgeable of the laws governing the administration of English language development programs and the education of ELs.
  •  Providing assistance and support to State Education Agencies (SEAs) and Local Education Agencies (LEAs) in supporting EL students to attain English proficiency and high academic standards;
  •  Providing assistance and support to Title III/EL/ELD SEA and LEA directors in developing programs and activities for ELs and their families and in achieving national, state, and local educational goals;
  •  Providing educational activities and information to its members (governmental, educational, and private entities) on effective English language development program administration.  

The NAELPA’s support for ELs purposes include, but are not limited to:  

  •   Support of ELs and parents and families of ELs in national, state, and local meetings.
  •   Collaborating with others at the national level in support of ELs on joint presentations and communications to disseminate and provide the NAELPA’s perspective, support, and position regarding to federal and state policies related to the education of ELs. 
  •   Support of equitable policies, guidance and supports related to ELs, ELD programs, and EL students participation in educational systems.


History of the NAELPA

The National Association of English Learner Program Administrators is the third name given to this organization and like its previous name, the National Council of State Title III Directors, is the continuation of the original national organization that brought together SEA bilingual and EL coordinators. The original name of the organization was the National Council of State Directors of Bilingual Education. Shortly after the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in 2001, the organization adopted the name “National Council of State Title III Directors”. The ESEA was again reauthorized in 2015 by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This reauthorization moved a significant number of requirements for English Learners from Title III to Title I. These changes, coupled with a reorganization at the U.S. Department of Education, and the desire of the organization to be inclusive of all EL program administrators, whether at the state or district level and whether providing core or supplemental EL services, led to significant changes to the organization’s by-laws in 2019, including the adoption of a more inclusive name, the National Association of English Learner Program Administrators. NAELPA continues to grow and develop into a nationally recognized organization for the support of ELs.

The organization started with state directors who gathered for meetings that focused on the ESEA federal funding for bilingual education and later under NCLB, funding for English Learners. Title III is the section of federal education law that provides grants to State Education Agencies (SEAs) that flow through to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to provide services to help ELs attain English proficiency and acquire content knowledge. It is considered a formula grant, meaning that funds allocated for Title III are awarded to SEAs based on a formula that takes into account the number and percent of ELs in the country. SEAs then award Title III funds to LEAs in a similar manner, using a formula based on the number of ELs in each district compared to the number of ELs in the state.

Title III formula grants were first authorized by the reauthorization that preceded ESSA’s, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Prior to NCLB, ESEA grants for ELs were competitive grants and were not awarded to all states, but only to those states whose applications for these funds were approved via a competition. NCLB had a provision that Title III grants would revert to a competitive grant program if funding for Title III fell below certain levels. Under ESSA, that provision was removed.

Title III grants are to be used as supplemental to the core programs for ELs required by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There are two services that core EL programs must provide in order to successfully meet the Civil Rights core EL program requirements. Those two things are services to help ELs attain English proficiency and acquire content knowledge. No ESSA funds may be used to meet the core EL program requirements. These requirements must be met using state or local funds.

Starting in 2009, a like-minded executive board, led by then president Dr. Pedro Ruiz from New York State, the NAELPA set some short and long-term goals. Among the short-term goals were to annually host national meetings that bring together SEA and LEA Title III directors for training, sharing of information, and networking. The first Annual National Meeting of the National Council of State Title III Directors took place in October 2010 in Alexandria, VA. Since then, the NAELPA/NCSTIIID has hosted, co-hosted, or participated jointly in national meetings that bring together Title III and other SEA and LEA directors.

One of the long-term goals of the NAELPA is to grow its membership to the point where it is able to hire a management organization. Currently, participation on the NAELPA executive board is 100% voluntary. The changes made to the by-laws in 2019 included adding three Member-at-Large positions to the executive board that are designated for active LEA EL program administrators. The six officer positions of the executive board are designated for active SEA EL program administrators. A small group of advisory board members also participate in executive board meetings. In 2018 the executive board hired a part time executive director, Dr. David Holbrook. Dr. Holbrook is a Past-President, former advisory board member, and the first honorary member of the organization.

Since 2009, NCSTIIID has had 12 presidents who have helped guide the NCSTIIID.

Click here for more information about current NAELPA leadership

NAELPA Presidents since 2009

Membership Year



Dr. Pedro Ruiz - New York State

Robin Lisboa - Illinois

Dr. David Holbrook - Wyoming 

Shelda Hale - Kentucky (president one month)

Dr. David Holbrook - Wyoming 

Patricia Adkisson - Alaska 

Charlotte "Nadja" Trez - North Carolina

Terry Richard - Delaware

Dr. Jobi Lawrence - Iowa

Kim Miller - Oregon

Ivanna Mann Thrower Anderson - NC

Morgan Cox - Colorado

Megan Alubicki Flick - Connecticut

Marshall Foster - North Carolina

There have been many others who have contributed greatly to the success of the NAELPA. We look to the future and what it holds with eager expectations.