Iliana Alanís, PhD, a native of South Texas, is professor of early childhood and elementary education in the department of interdisciplinary learning and teaching at the University of Texas at San Antonio. With over 20 years in the early childhood field, her work focuses on teaching practices in culturally and linguistically diverse early childhood contexts with an emphasis on the effect of schooling for language minority children in Spanish/English dual language programs. She is especially interested in forms of teaching that promote native language development and its correlation to second language acquisition. With over 48 refereed publications related to dual language education, her recent research focuses on higher‑order cognitive and linguistic interaction found in student–student exchanges. Dr. Alanís is former president of the Texas Association for Bilingual Education and former board member for the National Latino Children’s Institute. She’s served as a NAEYC Governing Board member and an Early Childhood Advisory Board member for Scholastic Education. As a member of the Dual Language Training Institute, she facilitates professional development for teachers in dual language classrooms across the country. Dr. Alanís is coauthor of The Essentials: Supporting Dual Language Learners in Diverse Environments in Preschool and Kindergarten (NAEYC, 2021).
Iheoma U. Iruka, PhD, is research professor in public policy and founding director of the equity research action coalition at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Iruka is engaged in projects and initiatives focused on how evidence‑informed policies, systems, and practices in early education can support the optimal development and experiences of children who are from households with low income, ethnic minorities, and immigrants. She is focused on ensuring healthy development and excellence for young diverse learners, especially Black children, through classroom and family tools, the examination of nontraditional pedagogical approaches, public policies, and publications geared toward early education practitioners and policymakers. She is an author of several books, including Don’t Look Away: Embracing Anti‑Bias Classrooms (Gryphon House, 2020). Dr. Iruka serves or has served on numerous national boards and committees, including the Brady Education Foundation, the American Psychological Association’s Board of Educational Affairs Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Disparities, and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committees on Supporting Parents of Young Children and Applying Neurobiological and Socio‑Behavioral Sciences from Prenatal through Early Childhood Development: A Health Equity Approach.
Susan Friedman is senior director of publishing and professional learning at the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). In this role, she leads the content development work of NAEYC’s books, periodicals, digital content, and professional learning teams. Early childhood educators rely on NAEYC’s award-winning content to stay current on research and best practices they can implement in their classrooms. Susan has extensive prior experience in content programming as well as editorial oversight and production with many years of experience creating content on play, developmentally appropriate uses of media, and other topics for educators and families. She has presented at numerous educational conferences, including NAEYC’s Professional Learning Institute and Annual Conference, the South by Southwest Education (SXSW EDU) Conference & Festival, and the School Superintendents Association’s Early Learning Cohort. Susan began her career as a preschool teacher at City and Country School in New York City. She holds degrees from Vassar College and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.