Welcoming New Staff

Headwaters School
We are very excited to welcome our new staff members to the community! Scroll down to see new faces from each campus. Welcome!

Springs Campus

Irene Kirshenbaum
Primary Lead in the new Robins’ 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!



Leo Lewis
YCC Support Guide in the Chickadees’ Classroom

We are so excited to welcome Leo Lewis as a support guide in the Chickadees classroom. Leo’s experience and joy for working with young children is one of the many reasons we are excited to welcome her. Madicyn and Paula are looking forward to working with Leo this school year!

Bio to come!


Alysia Roane 
YCC Support Guide in the Hummingbirds’ Classroom

Alysia is joining the Headwaters YCC team as a support guide this school year. She has many years of instructional assistant and lead guide experience with roles at a public school in Virginia and a private school here in Austin. Alysia has also spent the summer getting to know our community at Camp Headwaters this summer and is excited to be in the classroom.

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.

Elena de la Torre
Primary Support Guide in the Bluebirds’ Classroom

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. 

Bio coming soon.



Creek Campus



Nichole Economou
Early Arrival/Library Support/Extended Day Support
 
Bio to come.
 
 

Madeline Newchurch
Early Elementary Lead Guide in Owls Classroom

I have been working in education since I graduated college in 2014. I studied Creative Writing at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. An Austin Native, I returned home at 21 and worked for two years as a bilingual literacy tutor in local low income schools. In 2017, I went abroad and taught English as a Foreign Language for a year in Madrid, Spain. When I returned to the United States, I moved to Houston and began my Montessori journey. I worked for two years as an Early Elementary assistant and then worked for two more years as a Lead Teacher. I received my Early and Upper Elementary AMS certification from the Gulf Coast Montessori Teacher Education Center. I love to sing, play music, act, soak up the Austin sunshine, read and write stories, and deeply spoil my cat. 

I love working with Elementary Aged children and watching them grow. I’m deeply committed to serving the whole child and forming a lasting bond with my students, co-workers, student families, and the entire Headwaters Community. I’m so excited to continue my career here and to be back home in Austin. 

 

 

River Campus


Amber Anderson
History Guide

I am delighted to be a part of the Headwaters Family as a Social Studies Guide! After earning a B.A. in History and Sociology from St. Mary's University, I started my teaching career in Jacksonville, Florida. After spending two years there, I returned to San Antonio, Texas and continued my career as a middle school social studies teacher. I left the classroom for a few years to work as an Assessment Developer for ETS after I finished my graduate degree in Instructional Design. I am passionate about history and working with kids to help them see the connections between the past and the present.

Destinee Anderson
HS English Guide

Born and raised in Michigan, but migrated to New York for college where I attended New York University and earned a NY State Teaching Certificate for Teaching Secondary English. In New York, I worked with various districts but ended my teaching experiences at Essex Street Academy where I co-taught 9/10th grade Humanities and a poetry enrichment course. I am excited to continue my passion in working with students at Headwaters. Austin is new scenery, but I'm so excited to see what both Headwaters and the city have in store for me! 

In my free time I spend time writing short stories or poetry, biking, hiking, reading, or playing tennis. I also enjoy helping people and find myself often lending a helping hand to those in need. I spent time in Michigan as both a participant and tutor (now volunteer), coaching tennis and teaching SEL/life skill curriculum to middle and high school students for the Todd Martin Youth and Leadership Non-Profit. 

I can't wait to build on the skills and critical thinking of my students to help them achieve their goals. One of my core values as an English facilitator revolves around making connections and shaping a more globalized understanding for students, I can't wait!


Tia Butler
HS English Guide
 
I was born and raising in western Washington state, just north of Seattle, in a small town called Arlington. Growing up, I was an avid rider, competing regularly in show jumping competitions with my best friend and horse, Andy. After his retirement, and my graduation from High School, I received my BA in Spanish Language and Literature at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. While pursuing my BA, I travelled abroad to Madrid and fell in love with the vibrant city and culture. This would spark a life-long passion for travel and reading World Literature.
After graduating from Whitman College, I began to pursue my PhD at the University of Texas (Hook Em’) here in beautiful Austin. I will be defending my dissertation, Haiti in Hollywood, this coming December 2021, and completing my doctorate in Comparative Literature. My research has focused on the portrayal of Latin American and Caribbean Diasporic groups in popular literature and media in the United States, with a particular focus on the US relationship with Haiti. I received a Foreign Language Education Scholarship in 2015 that allowed me to travel to Haiti to conduct research and take courses in Haitian Creole. Kreyol pale, Kreyol comprann!
Travel, whether in person or through literature, has become a key component of my life and classroom. Literature offers us the ability to learn, see, visit other cultures, and in my opinion, is our greatest tool to becoming empathic persons of the world. I was drawn to Headwaters School, and teaching in general, because I want to help students see the diverse array of literature that the world has to offer.  I strive to make a community impact and foster excellence in written and verbal communications skills.
At UT Austin I worked as an Assistant Instructor in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing, and in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, gaining five-years of teaching experience. In 2018 I was given the opportunity to design a course. My self-made class was titled The Rhetoric of Witchcraft and invited students to contemplate the role that contemporary media and literature has played in demonizing women, healers, and religious leaders from non-Christian faiths across the US. My course was grounded in Affect Theory to look at the ways that constant negative representation can warp our views and discourses on marginalized groups.
Today, I live in North Austin with my partner, James, and our three dogs and cat, who totally get along. When I am not reading or writing, I love relaxing with something bingeable on in the background (Bobs Burgers and The Office are my go to’s) or taking in sights and sounds on a long walk or hike.


David Landrum
Spanish Guide

I feel very fortunate and excited to become a part of the Headwaters community and make a difference in the lives of our students as a Spanish guide.

I was born in San Jose, Costa Rica. I had a unique experience in which I was able to move back and forth between the United States and Costa Rica and received a well-rounded education in both English and Spanish. The value of gaining an insight to different cultures and languages is something that should be cherished and valued as it can create many meaningful connections across individuals and communities.
 
I decided to relocate permanently to Texas and pursue a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Texas State University in San Marcos. Once I graduated I didn't think twice of becoming an educator since the profession has been a tradition in my family dating back to the 1870s in Central Texas. I’ve been privileged enough to teach public and in private IB schools in Texas.

Headwaters’ atmosphere, community and IB programme are the qualities that make a school strong, safe and effective. I was drawn by the open mindedness of administrators, guides and students and cannot wait to begin the wonderful journey ahead.

Bridget Lewin
MS Science Guide

I was born in Texas but grew up living in France, Czechoslovakia, and Canada. Living and studying in foreign countries provided me with a unique sense of understanding the value of diversity and equality, and it opened my awareness to global environmental issues. I moved to Austin for university. After graduating with a BS Marine Biology degree, I supervised one of the largest freshwater underwater habitat restoration projects. For four years, I worked at the Meadows Center for Water and The Environment. I was a teacher of hydrology, biology, and geology, focusing on the preservation and conservation of environmentally sensitive ecosystems. The impact of science in action inspired me to return to school for a Master’s in Aquatic Biology/ Water Resource Management. I conducted several years of research funded by the River System Institute to study groundwater discharge in the San Marcos Springs. During this time, I was also faculty at Texas State University and taught SCUBA and undergraduate science labs. After completing my research, I welcomed my second son into the world. I then worked for two years at a Waldorf-inspired preschool before discovering my passion for teaching science to the youth. I created and taught the science curriculum for the 5th-8th grade at Whole Life Learning Center, a private school here in Austin, for six years and created and ran a summer program at the Austin Waldorf school for seven years.
 
I am beyond excited to be sharing my love of science and teaching with the Headwaters community. Both of my sons are at Headwaters, so I already love this community, and I am looking forward to opening my heart in new and amazing ways. I am aligned with the high standards of academic excellence, the intention and care that permeates through the thoughtful curriculum, and the loving and respectful platform for students to learn and grow.
        
I am looking forward to supporting the youth in discovering their unique gifts by fostering confidence in who they are and what they are capable of, and I am committed to cultivating curiosity, leadership, innovative thinking, problem-solving, responsibility, respect, love, and compassion for self, others, and this beautiful and diverse world that we live in.


Ali McMillin
Digital Art and Design Guide

I started elementary school in Austin, but after the 3rd grade, my formative years were split between small-town Louisiana and big-city Paris, France. I have been a student of the arts for as far back as I can remember, recognizing that visual arts can express complexities beyond what I can share with language. I earned the French Baccalauréat in Arts and Letters as a high school graduate, a Bachelors of Fine Arts from UT Austin and I studied ceramics, calligraphy and indigo dyeing while teaching English as a Second Language in Japan for 5 years. I have found that I love teaching just as much as creating, going back to school while working with teens in transition from foster care for a Masters in Education, with a focus on secondary arts, from Texas State. For the past 7 years, I have taught Art, Graphic Design, AP Art History and IBDP Visual Arts at the middle and high school levels. I prefer the IB way, because it is centered around individual student interests and helps forge connections to others, and I cannot wait to meet each and every one of you! My formal training includes film photography, printing, metalsmithing, fiber arts, ceramics....I have discovered that having learned a bit of everything enables me to have plenty of know-how to help all kinds of projects see the light of day. As an artist I have shown locally, and in New Orleans, New York, Tokyo and Osaka, although the past 7 years I have been more focused on being my son Orion's early childhood side-kick. Additionally, I have worked as an intern and an assistant to a green design and architectural non-profit, a ceramist and a jeweler, and working in the design and art production-line world with masters of their craft has helped me develop a fascination with beautiful forms that are also useful, well-made and give a sense of rhythm to their creator during fabrication. Photography and Digital Art/ Design have no need to stay on the page or screen, we can and we will also make worlds come alive in 3-dimensions, maybe even 4. When I am not thinking about the arts, you can find me exploring nature with friends and family or reading novels.

Fabian Ng
Physics Guide

Bio to Come Soon!


Lesley Regan, PhD
MS Science Guide

I recently relocated to Cedar Park, Texas, but was born and raised in the county of Kent in the United Kingdom. I have been surrounded by scientists my entire life; my father and brother are both chemical engineers, my husband is a physicist and my sons are both mechanical engineers!

I studied at the University of Portsmouth in Hampshire where I earned a Bachelor of Science honors degree in Applied Chemistry followed by a PhD.

I have a wealth of experience in the education sector (both at university and school level) and a thirst to constantly evolve and hone my teaching skills and methodology to best suit the needs of my audience.

I am a life-long learner who is constantly seeking to extend and expand my knowledge and am always intrigued and fascinated to learn something new!

I have worked with a highly diverse group of individuals from a wide range of science and engineering disciplines and have been personally involved in research projects ranging from the analysis of Martian dust to the exploration of novel cytotoxic molecules as potential chemotherapy treatments. The applied nature of my degree has allowed me to see and revel in the applications of science, including the exploration of existing and future fuels, engine design and development, use of analytical methods to monitor pollution and methods for large scale corrosion protection to name but a few.
Although initially employed as a post-doctoral researcher and tutor, I made the move into the English secondary school sector (ages 11 – 18) in 1999 and never looked back! I am passionate about sharing my love for Science with the youth of today, making my subject relevant and accessible to all and revealing how it has such a significant and profound impact on our everyday lives.

I am excited to be joining the team and community at Headwaters and am looking forward to working closely with colleagues, students and their families to inspire the next generation of scientists!

Lauren Rivas
Learning Specialist

Lauren has an extensive background in education, domestically and internationally, working with students of all ages from culturally and demographically diverse backgrounds. She began her career in Seoul, South Korea, where she taught English to elementary and middle school aged children. She has taken on various teaching roles in language schools, for non-profit literacy programs, and in colleges and universities. She has primarily been an English language and composition educator. Prior to working at Headwaters, Lauren was the learning specialist for the University of Miami’s Athletic Academic Services Department, where she worked with student athletes with learning disabilities and challenges.

Lauren is a native of New York, New York, and has lived in many cities around the U.S. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from Florida International University, a master’s degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages) from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, took some courses in a master’s of science leadership program at the University of Miami, and earned a certificate from the University of Central Florida in Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities. Lauren believes education is a lifetime journey and there is never enough learning a person can do in their life. She is passionate about aiding students, and their families, on the educational voyage.

Outside of education, Lauren is a freelance writer and editor. She enjoys cooking, movement of all sorts – yoga, kayaking, hiking, biking, etc., the arts, language learning, and traveling. Lauren resides in Austin with her young son.


Alex Ross
History Guide

Born in Texas but not raised. That was generally left to the United Kingdom. I returned to Texas to go the University of Texas at Austin for a degree in Middle Eastern studies and then I left again.  

For a very long time.  

Somehow along the way I acquired a Masters in Public Health but it was to no avail; the siren song of history proved irresistible. I started teaching in Mexico and a presidential candidate was assassinated. I moved on to Taiwan and the PRC fired rockets into the Taiwan straits. There were earthquakes as well. Burma was next. The generals ran the country and the guidebook suggested it was not uncommon to find a poisonous snake in dark corners of one’s house. Russia was very Russian. It was cold, the statues were gargantuan and I could take my children to see dead Lenin on Saturdays. Finally it was on to Uzbekistan. It was filled with dusty cities crammed with Islamic architecture built by bad tempered medieval authoritarians. It was also on the Afghan border which was an exciting place to be. So I stayed–we stayed. I taught IB History as well as managing the college counseling and my wife is a PYP specialist. There we dwelled. Our children grew up and graduated and two appalling pets were acquired and the cherry trees blossomed 14 times.  

And then it was time.  

Both children are in university in North America and I had never actually lived in my hometown. Historically speaking, North America appeared to be entering an ‘interesting’ phase, not that it’s ever been dull. There’s a famous curse–‘May you live in interesting times.’ Historians certainly hope so.

Eric Stinson
Science Guide

Eric is a graduate of Texas Tech University (BS) and was attending The University of Texas at Arlington before the pandemic started and intends to finish at a later date. He brings with him a wealth of technical and scientific knowledge, as well as the skills to bring this knowledge to life. Eric is excited to bring and instill a scientific mindset in the minds of students. He is excited to become a member of our community

Ari Stoler
Math Guide

I grew up in the Boston area and earned a BA in Mathematics from University of Rochester. I’ve always loved math. Ever since I was a child, I’ve been fascinated by math challenges and puzzles like the Rubik’s Cube. Before moving to Austin, I taught math for five years at a private day and boarding school in South Florida. I love sharing my passion for math with students and immersing myself in school clubs, such as ping pong, board games and more. I’m excited to join Headwaters to continue inspiring and supporting students in their mathematical journey. In my spare time, I enjoy outdoor activities like running, riding my bicycle, taking my small dog, Henry, to the park and playing sports, particularly tennis.



Shuja Uddin
Film Guide

Born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan, Shuja Uddin is a screenwriter, filmmaker and stand up comedian who graduated from Boston University with an MFA in Screenwriting. Shuja has previously worked for the Austin Film Society and Indie Meme Film Festival, and his writings have been published in the Times of India, The Wire and The Express Tribune. 

Shuja’s short film “Article 370” received an Honorable Mention in Prague International Indie Film Quarterly Festival 2021 edition for Best Screenwriter, and he was also the first ever lead writer and showrunner for PUBG Mobile Pakistan Gully Squads series, a popular video game owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent Games.

What brings Shuja to Headwaters School is the school’s commitment to authentic student learning through collaboration and communication particularly when it comes to the International Baccalaureate (IB) program for juniors and seniors. The school cultivates students' global perspective and effective community building and Shuja aims to shape young minds with his international experiences, both professional and personal.

IG: @snarky_karachite
Twitter: @SnarkyKarachite


 
Hillary Washington
Student Life & Athletics Coordinator

My name is Hillary Washington and I will be serving as the Student Life and Athletics Coordinator at the Headwaters School. I was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where I attended Louisiana State University (Geaux Tigers!) and followed my passion for learning, all things student life, and service.

Since graduating, I have gone on to teach Middle School Math for 3 years while also leading various student organizations and events centered around identity, service, and empowering students of color. I am deeply passionate about cultivating spaces for people of all ages and backgrounds to feel seen, heard, and valued. I value spaces that prioritize community and provide equitable learning/educational opportunities so that all may learn freely, serve others, and be their most authentic selves--however they see fit.  This is largely what brought me to Headwaters. The strong sense of community and the ACTION behind the purpose inspired me to make this my new home so that I may advance professionally and live out my values passionately.

A little about me--I love "me time"! So in my "me time", I enjoy taking long walks, indulging in all things beauty and wellness, spending too much time on social media (working hard to reduce that screen time!), and creating! I look forward to serving the Headwaters community this year and bringing more peace to the world.

All my best.


 
Dana Whiteley
MS English Guide

I have worn many different hats during my adult life—mountain climber, painter, potter, writer, reader, yoga instructor, wellness coach, English teacher—the common thread is sharing my love of learning by teaching others. My family headed to Indonesia for what we thought would be three years, but just returned after 16 years. Besides Indonesia, we called Thailand, Scotland, Saudi Arabia and Qatar home. But our roots in Texas have landed us in Austin and I am thrilled to be joining Headwaters. I have taught everything from Kindergarten to 8th grade, but Middle Schoolers hold my heart. 
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Springs Campus

18 months to Pre-K
6305 Menchaca Rd.
Austin, TX 78745
Phone: 512-443-8843

Creek Campus

Elementary School
9607 Brodie Ln.
Austin, TX 78748
Phone: 512-804-2708
Fax: 512-628-4810

River Campus

Middle & High School
807 Rio Grande St.
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-480-8142
Fax: 512-480-0278