Guide Spotlight: Tia Butler

Headwaters School
We are so excited to feature High School English Guide Tia Butler! Tia joined us this fall on the River Campus bringing her love of English and her expertise to the community.
Tia grew up in Washington state, just north of Seattle. As a child, she was an avid horseback rider who competed regularly in show jumping competitions. She and her horse competed together until the end of high school and her horse's retirement. Then, Tia attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington where she received her BA in Spanish Language and Literature. While in school, she traveled abroad to Madrid where she fell in love with “the vibrant city and culture” sparking a life-long passion for travel and World Literature. 

Tia moved to Austin after graduating from Whitman in order to pursue her PhD at The University of Texas. Tia’s thesis, "Haiti in Hollywood," focuses 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.” After receiving a Foreign Language Education Scholarship, Tia was able to travel to Haiti in 2015 to conduct research. She also took courses in Haitian Creole. “Kreyol pale, Kreyol comprann!”

Earlier at UT Austin, Tia was an Assistant Instructor in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing as well as the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. There, she gained five years of teaching experience and even had the opportunity to to design a course titled The Rhetoric of Witchcraft allowing 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.” This class, grounded in Affect Theory, looked at all the ways constant negative representation can warp views and discourses on marginalized groups. In the classroom, Tia says that she wants to help students see “the diverse array of literature that the world has to offer.” In the classroom, she “strive[s] to make a community impact and foster excellence in written and verbal communications skills.”

As noted before, travel is a life-long passion for Tia. She noted, “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.”

Tia enjoys living in north Austin with her partner James along with their three dogs and cat (she says her pets “totally get along”). If she isn’t reading or writing, Tia loves to relax with “something bingeable” in the background (like Bob’s Burgers or The Office). She also loves to take in Austin’s sights and sounds with long walks or hikes.
What Brought Tia to Headwaters
Coming from UT, I was really excited about the opportunity to create my own curriculum. I think when teachers can teach using texts and topics they love, students will love the lessons too! 

Fun Facts About Tia
  • I grew up in the Seattle area and spent my childhood at the barn caring for horses and competing in Jumpers throughout high school. 
  • I hate baking, but I LOVE baked goods. 
  • I am a doctoral candidate in Comparative Literature at UT Austin. My dissertation looks at how Hollywood has presented images of Haiti and Haitian religious practices to US audiences and what effect that has had on the geopolitical relationship between the US and Haiti.

Spring Campus

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Creek Campus

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River Campus

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As a 501(c)3 non-profit school, Headwaters School does not discriminate because of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other classes protected by federal, state, or local law in its admissions, hiring, or board membership processes.