Teacher Development

Capturing the Intellectual and Creative Potential of Diverse Students

Dr. Belinda Bustos Flores founded the Academy for Teacher Excellence (ATE) in 2003 with the Department of Education Title V Cooperative Development grant from the Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Program. ATE works as a catalyst for the emergence of COEHD as a nationally recognized leader in preparing teachers to teach diverse student populations and increasing the number of culturally and linguistically diverse students who enroll and graduate with bachelors’ and advanced degrees in education. 

ATE is located at The University of Texas at San Antonio, the premier higher education institution in South Texas and is housed in the College of Education and Human Development (COEHD). ATE is fully funded by grants received from federal, state, and private funding agencies. ATE’s funded programs include: 

  • ATE i3 Communities of Practices: (Interdisciplinary Ingenious Innovative) Communities of Practice, Pathways to Hispanic Students’ Success in STEM Areas
  • Sustainable Support System for Student Success (S5)
  • San Antonio ISD Community Lab Schools
  • ATE-SAMC Teacher Quality- Algebra I Grant
  • Alamo STEM Workforce Commission
  • Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program
  • The Academy for Teacher Excellence Scholarship
  • Líderes Avanzando

ATE is grounded in the “Culturally Efficacious Teacher” model and serves as a center for research, design, evaluation, program implementation, and collaboration for area school districts, community colleges, the private sector, and UTSA. ATE leverages institutional and community resources to better prepare teacher candidates and in-service teachers who work with diverse student populations. ATE guides the preparation and retention of teachers who will demonstrate the attitudes, knowledge, and skills of a Culturally Efficacious Teacher (Flores, Clark, Claeys, & Villarreal, 2007).

Our Mission

Recognizing that UTSA is the premier institution for higher education in South Texas, ATE’s mission is to collaborate with community colleges, community agencies, and school districts by:

  • Supporting Latino/Hispanic and other ethnically diverse students as they overcome financial, psycho-social, and institutional barriers. These obstacles have traditionally hindered their full participation in higher education.
  • Increasing the sensitivity and preparation of faculty to address students needs through culturally relevant curricula and instruction.
  • Increasing the number of UTSA teacher certification programs that become nationally recognized for success in addressing culturally and linguistically diverse student populations.
  • Conducting quantitative and qualitative research that informs administrators, teachers, university faculty, and community members of research-based instructional practices.
  • Creating accountable partnerships among schools, the community, and the university that prepare all students for the 21st Century.


Dr. Belinda Bustos Flores

Founder and Principal Investigator

Dr. Flores has been a Professor and Principal Investigator in the Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching Department (ILT) and is now the Department Chair of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies. Dr. Flores guides ATE’s research and secures external funding for the expansion and sustainability of ATE.

Dr. Lorena Claeys

Executive Director and Research Associate

Dr. Lorena Claeys has been with ATE since its founding. She has served as a Program Coordinator and co-principal investigator, and currently serves as the Executive Director. Dr. Claeys engages in research and the development of proposals to support ATE’s mission.