National Association of English Learner Program Administrators

About the National Association of English Learner Program Administrators.


NAELPA serves members and other stakeholders at the local, state, and national levels through professional learning, communications, and advocacy for multilingual learners (MLs)/English learners (ELs) and their families and communities.


NAELPA is an expert voice on behalf of state education agencies (SEAs) and local education agencies (LEAs) as they work for the success of MLs across the United States. The organization provides members with direct contact to change agents at the state and federal levels. We are small enough to hear each member’s individual voice, yet powerful enough to be heard as a whole.


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

(1)  Providing for intercommunication among members to facilitate effective English Language Development (ELD), dual language, bilingual, and other similar programs and activities for achieving national, state, and local educational goals.

(2)  Disseminating information on relevant research, effective and research based instructional strategies, news, tools, and resources for administration of programs for MLs.

(3)  We serve as a nexus of communication among and between those working for the success of MLs in schools.

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

(1)  Disseminating information related to national and state programs and program administration related to the policies, guidance, regulations, and laws governing the administration of programs for, and the education of, MLs.

(2)  Providing professional learning opportunities to State Education Agencies (SEAs) and Local Education Agencies (LEAs) in supporting educational programming for ML students as educators help them to attain English proficiency while achieving academic success;

(3)  Disseminating best practices with Title III/EL/ELD/Bilingual SEA and LEA directors in developing programs and activities for MLs and their families and in achieving national, state, and local communication goals;

(4)  Providing educators of MLs the skills, knowledge, and abilities to help them have the capacity to meet the needs of MLs.

The NAELPA’s Advocating for Multilingual Learners purposes include, but are not limited to:   

(1)  Collaborating at the national level with individuals and organizations in support of MLs on joint presentations and communications to disseminate and provide the NAELPA’s perspective, support, and position regarding federal and state policies related to the education of MLs.

(2)  Supporting fair and equitable policies, guidance and supports related to MLs, ELD programs, and ML student and family meaningful participation in educational systems.

(3)  Leading actions to develop policies, guidance, and supports related to MLs, ELD programs, and ML student and family meaningful participation in educational systems where these are missing or ineffective.


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.

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

Kelly Alvarez - Michigan

Nicole Leach - Indiana (LEA)

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.