Susie brings invaluable wisdom and experience to this position and our school, having served in a range of leadership roles at both Parish Episcopal School and at St. Alcuin Montessori School in Dallas. During her time at Parish Episcopal, she served as the head of the Lower School (Pre-K − grade 4 on two campuses) and their Upper Elementary Division (grades 3 and 4). At Alcuin, she served as their Associate Head of School and Middle School Director during a 15-year tenure.
A graduate of Texas Tech and Pepperdine, Susie is thoughtful, reflective, and extraordinarily skilled as both a teacher and administrator, especially in Montessori program and philosophy. Susie writes, “Great educators are facilitators providing the structure for the child to continue a lifelong journey of personal discovery through authentic application.”
It is a delight to be here at Headwaters. I have a Bachelors in English from UT at Austin, and have spent many years working in schools - from UT Austin as a LAN Administrator, through volunteering at an elementary school supporting struggling readers, and volunteering and then working in a middle school. I’ve also spent the last 20 years teaching childbirth classes. Through it all, I have learned to surround myself with lovely people and fully experience the joy in these connections.
I have been married for 26 years to Dan Brown (not that one) and we have 3 remarkable children who all attended Montessori preschool, for which I am immensely grateful.
Working with children has always been my passion. I discovered the Montessori approach in one of my college classes. I knew from the moment I stepped into a Montessori classroom to observe, that I had found my “home” as a teacher. In addition, I took my junior year to volunteer and go to school in Mexico. This experience was also life changing. I added a bilingual endorsement to my degree in Elementary Education from the University of Texas.
After graduation I acquired my Association Montessori International certification in Philadelphia. The lecturer was Mother Isabel Eugenia who was actually trained by Dr. Maria Montessori herself and taught alongside her in the classroom. That year was pure magic.
I have been a teaching children for 34 years. I have experience in teaching in Montessori schools as well as traditional preschools and public schools. In addition, I was the owner, director and instructor of a music and Spanish program for young children and parents. My Spanish program “Somos Amigos” is well known and regarded in the Austin Community.
This is my first year teaching at Headwaters. Last year, I sold my business because I missed being in the Montessori classroom! I noticed that many parents in music and Spanish classes raved about Headwaters School and so I pursued a position here.
I feel honored and privileged to be part of the Headwaters community. I am the Lead Guide in the Bluebird’s classroom. Each day I get to not only teach the Montessori curriculum but also include music and Spanish experiences with my students.
In my spare time I love hanging out with friends and family and playing with my precious little granddaughter, Colette.
After earning a B.S in Psychology from Texas State University, I decided to follow my childhood dream of teaching and returned to Texas State to complete their certification program in Early Education. While completing my student teaching, I was invited to observe a classroom at Headwaters (then Primavera), and I instantly fell in love. I was so impressed by the drive and maturity of the children, their obvious ownership of their own learning, and the caring, loving, respectful relationship between the children and guides.
When I was offered the opportunity to be an assistant classroom guide and Creativity Club guide for Primavera’s summer camp, I leapt at the chance. It was an amazing experience! The children and guides are all fantastic people. The knowledge and love of the staff is immediately apparent, and the relationships that I made with both guides and children will live in my heart forever. I am so excited to continue my work in the Hummingbird Casita this year.
I spent a year substitute teaching on both the Early Childhood Campus and Elementary Campus at Headwaters School, as well as with Mariposa Montessori. The time I spent in each and every classroom was incredibly meaningful, rewarding, and stimulating. I am amazed every day at the learning capacity of these children at such a young age and I appreciate the respectful and calm learning environment provided for them. I am so honored and excited to be a part of this community next year and look forward to this new chapter in my life.
Still feeling relatively new to Austin, I also look forward to spending my free time exploring everything this wonderful city has to offer with my husband, Chris; specifically all of the culinary amazingness! When I am not in the classroom or enjoying dining at a local restaurant, you can find me teaching fitness classes at Pure Barre Austin or out walking my dog, Ralph!
We are excited to welcome Elena to the Bluebirds’ Classroom this year! Elena has a Bachelor of Arts from Universidad de Monterrey and quickly went into the classroom as a preschool teacher. Elena implements creative learning activities to support students' growth and development. When asked about her teaching philosophy, she believes that a “loving environment with nurturing caregivers and teachers is a good way to start” and also values strong classroom management and communication with parents.
My name is Tori Hooker. I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. I went to school at the University of Arkansas and double majored in French and History. After graduation I decided to move to Texas to be near my brother in San Antonio. So far, my favorite thing about Austin is the food and hiking trails! I was able to travel this past summer; and when I got back I decided to substitute teach for Headwaters School. Soon after that, I got the opportunity to start at the Springs Campus working with the Chickadee class. It has already been a blast getting to know the staff and friends in my classroom.
Irene comes to Headwaters with her American Montessori Early Childhood Credentials from Montessori Education Center of the Rockies in Boulder, Colorado. Irene has a wide range of experiences in and out of the classroom, including teaching experience for ages two-and-a-half to six years of age. We are so excited to have Irene teaching in the new Primary Robins’ Classroom where she will partner with Chelsea Scott.
My journey towards becoming a Montessori teacher began with my own Montessori early childhood education. With fond memories of this Montessori experience as a student, I know that the prepared Montessori environment promotes exploration, autonomy and enthusiasm through a deep respect for the learner and the learning process. My passion for the Montessori philosophy stems from my belief that an effective education leads to a meaningful and fully engaged life; this is the core of my teaching philosophy. I am committed to being an educator who facilitates each child’s full development, joy and peacefulness.
I earned my Montessori Early Childhood Education Credential from the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies in Boulder, Colorado. In addition to my Montessori credential, I also received a Bachelor of Arts English degree—a Creative Writing major and Spanish minor—from The Ohio State University.
I am originally from Cleveland, Ohio, and spent three years in Boulder, Colorado, before moving to Austin in 2013. Outside of the classroom, I enjoy anything that pertains to the creative arts—theatre, dance, music, etc. I also really enjoy reading, hiking and traveling. I am a proud "mom" to my sweet cat, Benny, who has traveled with me from Ohio to Colorado to Texas.
I am grateful and excited to be joining such a wonderful community of staff and families at Headwaters School, and look forward to opening the new Robins primary classroom this fall!
The first child development class I attended as an undergraduate at the University of Texas at Austin opened my mind and heart to the fascinating inner world of the developing child. Not long afterward, I began working at a Montessori School in north Austin where I could apply my coursework while completing my degree in Child Development and Family Relationships. Deeply curious to know more about the psychological development of humans across the lifespan, I obtained a Master’s degree in Professional Counseling from Texas State University-San Marcos. I focused my career on working with vulnerable populations (children, adolescents, and adults) in a psychotherapeutic capacity as a Licensed Professional Counselor.
I’ve been a parent at Headwaters (first at Primavera Montessori School) since 2009. Having studied and observed the Montessori Method, it was a natural choice for my children, but what surprised me was how much the school community helped me develop as a parent and as a human being. When I felt a strong calling to return to my first passion of working in the classroom with young children, I knew that I wanted to join this compassionate and supportive school as a professional. I began substitute teaching at Headwaters School during the 2016-17 school year and fell in love all over again with the challenges and rewards of working in the classroom. To prepare for the unique role of Montessori Assistant Guide, I enrolled in a training course for assistant guides in the summer of 2017.
I am endlessly inspired by the wisdom of Dr. Montessori and her intellectual insight into some of our world’s most persistent questions. She articulated the tremendous value of the developing child to society. She explained that peace cannot be achieved until the child’s role is given equal importance to that of the adult. One hundred years later, I find Dr. Montessori’s prophetic philosophy of peace education as relevant as ever.
In my free time, I spend many hours parenting and loving my two children. I enjoy cooking and eating healthy food, reading for pleasure, indulging in Netflix when I should be sleeping, traveling, being outside, and frequenting the Hike and Bike Trail around Lady Bird Lake.
Born and raised in Austin, I always went to summer camp. I spent about ten years attending one until I was old enough to start working there. Right out of high school I started as a recreational counselor, then as the years went on I grew into a group counselor. I quickly fell in love with the job as I was able to work with kids, remembering how fun and excited I was to attend camp. After exploring other opportunities found myself at a private school, with a short stint as a toddler teacher and then four years as a preschool teacher. Working with children has always been something I was naturally good at. Understanding their needs and being patient as they learn to understand the way the world works around them.
I am excited to see the connections I make as well and the knowledge I gain working at Headwaters.
Hi, my name is Alysia Roane. I am from Glen Allen, Virginia. I moved to Texas in August 2019. I have a love and passion for working with children. I have been working with children since I was 17-years-old. My first job was working in a daycare in the 2-year-old room. I have stayed the path of continuing to work with children 25 years later. I have worked with children in so many different settings, including special education, alternative education, Title I, Head Start, mental health, summer, and afterschool programs. To see children grow, learn, and try new things is just amazing. I believe everyone has a gift and my gift is to work with children and guide them to be the amazing people I know they can be. The amazing thing is when they grow, I also grow as a person. While working with children, I have learned how they see things can make you see the world so differently. So, I am excited to start this journey at Headwaters. I am excited because this is another chance to learn, grow, and work with wonderful little minds. I am excited about all the new families I will meet and the connections that will last a lifetime. I will gain a new family at Headwaters, and they will gain a new member of the family. Headwaters is about the whole child experience and that is something that is true to my heart.
My name is Paula Sanchez and I am a guide in the Chickadee Casita. I started working at our school as a substitute teacher in April 2009. I worked in Primary until spring 2013, when I had my daughter. I had the opportunity to move to the Young Children’s Community and I love it! During my time here, I’ve realized the impact a teacher can make and how a community like Headwaters can make a difference in a child’s life.
What I love about Montessori is how it allows children from an early age to be independent, and how we can create works based on their interests. What I love most about the YCC age group is that the world is new to them and everything can be a learning experience. You can see the excitement on their faces when they are successful at a task after trying a few times. I feel very fortunate to experience Headwaters as a guide and a parent–my daughters Andrea and Camila are excited about school. This is a special community, and I feel very blessed that my family is a part of it.
What I love about our school is the culture, and the way each relationship unfolds as a staff member, a parent, and a student. You can see that everyone deeply cares about each other. I am inspired by the many different ways to teach. I love getting to know each student and his or her family, and I’m glad to be a part of Headwaters.
I came into the world on the Fourth of July in Austin, Texas and was raised south of the river near the Headwaters Early Childhood campus. Growing up in a booming city set the stage for my interest in the way people and places shape each other and led me to pursue an education in geography from the University of Texas at Austin. After graduating, I was an office and event coordinator for a multi-practice law firm and, later, a legal assistant for municipal utility districts. What brought me to Headwaters was a desire to take part in shaping society for the better by supporting the healthy upbringing of its youngest citizens. Off campus, I spend time on home improvement projects, being a proud member of the Cherry Creek Community Garden, and rubbing the belly of my dachshund, Jack. I’m also a big fan of native plants and volunteer with various groups in order to preserve wildlife habitat in and around Austin. I am fortunate to have found a warm and passionate group of people at Headwaters School and I look forward to serving as the Early Childhood Campus Manager.
My passion for working with children began the day I met my daughter’s first Montessori teacher. The amount of consideration she held for each child in her care, and the absolute faith that each one was capable was immensely inspiring to me. This realization set me on the path of home-schooling myself about what Dr. Montessori’s work was all about. Shortly after that I began my classroom work as an assistant to an AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) guide at a small Montessori school in central Austin. While there I was offered a lead role and had the honor of working with Gio Bellonci, an extraordinary woman trained in the AMI Assistant to Infancy Program. In 2008, I joined the staff at Headwaters (then called Primavera) to work with the school’s youngest students. Each day in this work, I learn more about what it means to be human through the children and what it takes to create a strong community through the partnerships I share with my co-workers and parents. It is an immense task to raise little women and men and one that, I believe, brings us closer to the truth and understanding of ourselves and each other. It has certainly been a chance of a lifetime to have had this opportunity to blossom along with a community of people strongly holding the space for meaningful work and a better world.