Dr. Mesa earned a doctoral degree from the Educational Psychology and Learning Systems program at Florida State University, where he also earned certificates in Statistical Measurement and College Teaching. He also completed a postdoctoral fellowship funded by the Institute of Education Sciences at the Children’s Learning Institute. Prior to starting at the Children’s Learning Institute, Dr. Mesa worked for the Florida Center for Reading Research at Florida State University and the Center for Children and Families at Florida International University. He was also the instructor of record for multiple in-person and online courses in the College of Education at Florida State University.


Graduate School
Educational Psychology and Learning Systems, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 2021
IES Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas, 2021-2023

Areas of Interest

Research Interests

The overarching goal of Dr. Mesa’s research program is to investigate factors that can act as facilitators and barriers to young children’s language, literacy, and behavioral skill development, particularly in the context of small-group instruction. He has conducted research investigating the influence of peers, small-group composition, behavior management strategies, and culturally relevant pedagogy. Dr. Mesa is particularly driven by the need to improve the outcomes of young children at-risk of academic failure.


Mesa, M. P., Phillips, B. M., & Lonigan, C. J. (2023) Paraprofessionals use of classroom management in a small-group intervention. Psychology in the Schools.

Dahl-Leonard, K., Mesa, M. P., Hall, C., & Zucker, T. A. (2023). Understanding kindergarten teacher self-efficacy for providing reading instruction to students who experience difficulties to read. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice.

Surrain, S., Mesa, M. P., Assel, M., & Zucker, T. A. (2023). Does assessor masking affect kindergarteners’ performance on oral language measures? A COVID-19-era experiment with children from diverse home language backgrounds. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools.

Rawls, E., Roehrig, A. D., Turner, J. E., Mesa, M. P., McClarey, M., Lewis, C., Ha, C., Auman, P., & Jones, T. B. (2023). The Freedom School way: A model for intergenerational research training partnership between universities and Freedom Schools. Urban Education.

Zucker, T. A., Mesa, M. P., Crawford, A., Spear, S., & Cabell, S. (2022). Six resources for making the most of parent-teacher conferences. Young Children.

Phillips, B, M., Funari, C., Oliver, F., W., Berrien, J., Burris, P., & Mesa, M. P. (2022). Joint contributions of teacher’s pedagogical content knowledge and book reading to preschooler’s growth in language skill. Reading and Writing.

Mesa, M. P., Roehrig, A. D., Funari, C., Durtschi, S., Ha, C., Rawls, E., & Davis, C. (2021). Young African American scholars make reading gains at literacy-focused, culturally relevant summer camp that combats summer reading loss. Florida Journal of Educational Research, 59(1), 252-267.

Ha, C., Roehrig, A. D., Durtschi, S., Craig, M., Mesa, M. P., & Funari, C. (2021). Promoting children’s reading motivation with culturally relevant reading education. Florida Journal of Educational Research, 59(1), 268-282.

Curriculum Vitae

Email the Children’s Learning Institute to request a copy.