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About REL Southwest

REL Southwest serves five states: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. To address the priorities and interests of these states, REL Southwest works in partnership with school districts, state departments of education, and others to use data and research to improve academic outcomes for students.

REL Southwest works to bridge the worlds of education research and education practice. REL Southwest offers various supports to the collaborative research partnerships and other stakeholder groups in the Southwest Region:

Our Partners

REL Southwest is managed by American Institutes for Research (AIR). We carry out our work with the following partners:

  • Decision Information Resources Inc.

  • Empirical Education Inc.

  • Gibson Consulting Group Inc.

  • RAND Corporation

  • Safal Partners Inc.

  • WestEd


DIRECTOR MICHAEL VADEN-KIERNAN, PH.D.Dr. Vaden-Kiernan, a managing researcher at American Institutes for Research (AIR), has more than 20 years of experience conducting education research in prekindergarten through grade 12 settings. In his role as director, he coordinates and leads REL Southwest's efforts to build regional capacity in using evidence-based policies, programs, and practices to address high-leverage and field-initiated education needs.
Meet our leadership


The Governing Board guides REL Southwest's work and provides insight on regional and state priorities and needs. Members include education practitioners, leaders, and policymakers from across our five states and represent diverse interests and areas of expertise to ensure our work serves all educators and students in our region.
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