A Nacogdoches native will be the first to hold a prestigious title at Texas Christian University.

Dr. Jan Lacina, a 1989 Nacogdoches High School graduate and the daughter of Bill and Linda Guidry, was recently named the inaugural holder of the Bezos Family Foundation Endowed Chair for Early Childhood Education at Texas Christian University.

The Bezos Family Foundation Chair will enhance the intellectual climate of the university while serving as an advocate in the field of education and a recognized academic leader to faculty colleagues and students. The Bezos Family Foundation is a private, independent foundation established in 2000 by Jackie and Mike Bezos along with their family.

Jackie is the mother of Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos, and Mike is his adoptive father.

“Our foundation’s mission is to invest in the science of learning and the experiences that youth from birth through high school need to pursue their own path for success,” said Jackie Bezos, president of the foundation.

“Our goal with this investment in TCU’s College of Education is to bolster faculty leadership in the critical field of early childhood education and learning. Dr. Jan Lacina is an esteemed leader and we are delighted to have her serve as the inaugural holder of this chair. We look forward to following her progress and are confident in the positive difference she will continue to make for children, families and the future.”

Lacina began her career as an early childhood teacher in Texas. Her teaching and research focus on literacy leadership, preparing globally minded literacy teachers and ways to use children’s literature in reading/writing instruction.

She has served in numerous leadership positions within higher education, such as interim dean, early childhood program coordinator, and post baccalaureate graduate program coordinator. She has served since 2011 as associate dean for graduate studies in TCU’s College of Education.

She is an accomplished author and editor; she has authored more than 100 publications, including four books. She has served as associate editor and then editor-in-chief for the Journal of Research in Childhood Education.

She served as co-editor of the journal “The Reading Teacher” from June 2015-2021, published by the International Literacy Association, and currently serves as associate editor for “The Journal of Early Childhood Education.” She serves on the editorial advisory board for the “Journal of Research in Childhood Education,” and she serves on the editorial board for the United Kingdom Literacy Association journal, “Literacy.” Lacina earned her doctorate at the University of Kansas, master’s of education at Texas Woman’s University and bachelor’s at Baylor University.

TCU also named Dr. Frederick W. Gooding Jr. as the inaugural holder of the Dr. Ronald E. Moore Honors Professorship in Humanities. Gooding, associate professor of African-American studies, is an accomplished scholar who recently completed a senior research fellowship at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

TCU was founded in 1837 and is the largest of 21 institutions associated by an ongoing covenant with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

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