About

About TIER

Tiered Interventions Using Evidence-Based Research, or TIER, is a project funded by the Texas Education Agency. Our goal is to provide educators, caregivers, and other educational stakeholders with the knowledge and materials to ensure appropriate implementation of multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) in every school across Texas.

We have developed a series of modules that focus on different components of MTSS. Within each module, you’ll find more specific pathways. A pathway includes a presentation with handouts as well as a video of the presentation. Presenters can use the presentation and handouts during professional learning. Educators and caregivers can use the video and handouts to walk through the content on their own.

Contact us at TIER@meadowscenter.org.

two children sitting at a desk reading books

The Researchers Behind the Project

The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk at The University of Texas at Austin is pleased to work collaboratively with the Texas Education Agency on TIER. Our TIER team has worked with educators, local education agency personnel, education service center personnel, caregivers, school psychologists, researchers, and other educational stakeholders from across the United States to develop the TIER materials.

Sarah Powell

Dr. Sarah Powell
Sarah is an associate professor in the Department of Special Education at The University of Texas at Austin. She conducts research and teaches classes related to best practices for teaching mathematics to students with learning difficulties. Currently, Sarah conducts an MTSS project in middle schools in Central Texas and helps districts across the United States implement MTSS in mathematics. Sarah also works collaboratively with the National Center for Intensive Intervention to provide free MTSS resources to educators across the country. Sarah works with all the TIER team members to ensure that the project is successful.

Dr. Genise Henry

Dr. Genise Henry
Genise is the project director for the TIER Network at The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk. She supports the development and dissemination of information about best practices related to academic and behavioral interventions. Her background in education spans Pre-K to 20, offering expertise in leadership and coaching, professional learning, program evaluation, research, equity, and diverse student populations. Genise is a certified teacher, principal, and school superintendent. She has authored or co-authored book chapters and published articles on topics related to theory and practice working together and school leadership.


Dr. David Barrett

Dr. David Barrett
David is a project manager for The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk. David has worked in education and counseling for more than 25 years, serving as a special education teacher, school counselor, and administrator. David has partnered with schools and districts across the country supporting systemwide implementation of evidence-based practices in academic and behavioral instruction and intervention. For TIER, David oversees the development of the Behavior, Mental Health, and Communities modules and leads communication with network members.

Dr. Thea Woodruff

Dr. Thea Woodruff
Thea currently writes content for TIER’s professional development modules through her position at The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk. Additionally, through her work at The University of Texas at Austin’s Counseling Mental Health Center, she collaborates with faculty members to embed wellness practices in their classrooms. She also lectures at the university. Her previous work includes writing the Texas Literacy Achievement and Reading to Learn Academies for kindergarten to grade 5, directing English/language arts for Del Valle Independent School District, and helping lead the Texas Reading First Initiative. Through these and other endeavors, Thea has provided extensive support to Texas educators in research-based reading and writing instruction and response to intervention.


Leslie Bernal

Leslie Bernal
Leslie Bernal is a field trainer/analyst at The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk. Leslie is currently leading the development of the TIER needs assessment and provides support for the development of Canvas courses, the website, and the cadre of trainers. Leslie has dedicated the past 7 years as a classroom teacher and advocate for students with special needs. Leslie has partnered with schools to provide guidance and support in the implementation of evidence-based practices for academic instruction and intervention.

Anna Muñoz

Anna Muñoz
Anna has been with The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk for 3 years in various leadership roles and is currently leading the TIER cadre of trainers framework. Anna has dedicated her career to developing programs, creating professional development, and advocating for the needs of children who are in foster care or incarcerated. She co-created a statewide initiative that included a training toolkit covering trauma-informed care and coaching protocols for professionals working with at risk youth.


Dr. Julie Schmal

Dr. Julie Schmal
Julie is a senior field trainer/analyst for The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk. For TIER, Julie has assisted with developing modules, a needs-assessment tool, on-demand courses, and coaching protocols. Throughout her career, Julie has supported teachers, coaches, and administrators to build capacity and improve student outcomes. She has 8 years of experience developing and presenting a variety of professional development sessions and support resources and has provided extensive coaching support to teachers at the elementary and secondary levels.

Bernette Blake

Bernette Blake
Bernette has served students within the K–12 general and special education realms and has experience in instruction and advisement of freshmen and student-athletes at Texas Christian University and Huston-Tillotson University.


Jenny Stone

Jenny Stone
Jenny is a senior field trainer/analyst at The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk whose current involvement in TIER includes editing TIER content, monitoring the Texas Behavior Support Initiative, and assisting with the development of a needs-assessment tool. Before joining the TIER team, she worked on projects focusing on data-based decision making and reading comprehension and vocabulary acquisition. In her former professional life, Jenny taught high school Spanish for 15 years.

Dawn Filer

Dawn Filer
Dawn Filer has 18 years of experience in creating professional development for leaders, providing technical assistance for state grants, and managing events from intimate team-building seminars to large professional development workshops. Dawn has been with The University of Texas at Austin for the past 10 years in various roles supporting educators. She is a certified secondary English teacher whose role is to support the multi-tiered system of supports framework in coaching and professional development.