Research and Evaluation Staff


Darlene Breaux
Darlene Breaux is the director of the Research and Evaluation Institute at HCDE. Breaux is a national trainer, former principal and special services coordinator who has served over 20+ years in education. She holds a bachelor's degree from Texas Southern University and a master's degree in educational management with principal certification from the University of Houston - Clear Lake and is currently seeking her doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership with a focus on Conflict Resolution from Abilene Christian University. Her credentials include certifications in both English as a second language and special education, and she is a member of Kappa Delta Pi National Honor Society. She is active in her community as a board of trustee for Alief ISD and as a board member for the Alief YMCA.

Alicia Gladney, M.S., Research Manager
Alicia Gladney earned her master's degree in sociology from Texas A&M University. Her background is in grassroots community research. She has experience working on projects in relation to cancer prevention, adolescents and smoking, adolescents and mental health and doctor-patient communication. Her research interests include qualitative methodology, educational attainment and program evaluation.

Andres Garcia, Ed.D., Research Coordinator
Dr. Garcia has been actively engaged in the field of education for the past 18 years. He holds a doctorate in Educational Professional Leadership from the University of Houston. His background is in educational research and has worked on projects in urban school reform, teacher climate and principal leadership. He also has experience evaluating educational programs. His research interests include data driven decision making, action research, school reform, survey research and quantitative analysis.

Sayra Arias, M.Ed., Research Coordinator
Sayra Arias earned her master’s degree in education policy and planning from the University of Texas and her bachelor’s degree in communication disorders from the University of Arizona. Prior to joining HCDE, she worked on projects exploring the impact of state and federal developments on afterschool and summer learning programs in Texas. Her research interests include market-based reforms in urban education, policy implementation and community development.

Nasreen Mustafa, M.A., C.P.A., Research Coordinator
Nasreen Mustafa earned a master’s degree in international educational development with a concentration in finance and planning from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in accountancy from the George Washington University. She has several years of experience working in both private and public accounting and is applying her financial and analytical skills to the education sector. Mustafa’s research interests include cost-effectiveness analysis in educational decision-making, equity issues in education, quantitative analysis and research methods in education program evaluation.

Yi Ren, M.A., M.A., Ph.D., Research Coordinator
Dr. Yi Ren earned her first master’s degree in social and public policy from Leeds University (England), her second master’s degree in sociology from University of Houston and her Ph.D. degree in the Graduate College of Social Work at University of Houston. Her background is in child welfare, policy analysis, research methods and statistics. Dr. Ren published two first-authored articles and four co-authored articles in peer-reviewed journals concerning health disparities, immigration and special education. Her research interests include children’s education, health disparities, policy implementation, survey research and advanced statistical methodologies.

Likita Durden-Holmes, M.S., Research Coordinator
Likita Durden-Holmes earned her master's degree in psychology from Walden University and her bachelor's degree in social science from University of Houston-Downtown. Her background is in managing pharmacy data for a mental health agency and she has worked in a variety of settings, including education and mental health services. While at HCDE, she has conducted a variety of projects using survey research, including evaluating professional development, organizational accountability, and community assessments.

To contact a member of this division, call 713-696-1859.