We are very excited to welcome our new staff members to the community! Scroll down to see new faces from each campus. Welcome!
Primary Support Guide in Roadrunners
As a sensitive child, I attended large public schools. I was curious to learn but my anxiety was an obstacle. Now, as an adult my main goal at Headwaters is to celebrate and guide each students’ individual learning process in a lighthearted and fun-loving way so that they can build a solid sense of self-esteem early on. My childcare experiences have consisted of babysitting, mentoring 7 and 8 year-old girls, and assisting the teen patients of Austin State and Shoal Creek (Mental) Hospitals with their recreational activities. I previously worked in various administrative positions at the Office of the Attorney General of Texas for over twelve years where I learned the importance of effective communication and productivity. In addition to guiding at Headwaters, I work part-time as an esthetician in cosmetic sales where I promote self-care and skin health. In my spare time, you can find me exercising at home, cooking, doing arts & crafts, reading/writing, spending quality time with my loved ones and generally getting out of my comfort zone.
Primary Support Guide in Bluebirds
My hobbies include playing the bass guitar and singing. I love everything about music. It brings everyone together. Music also has a way to help you work through emotions. I also love playing video games on my laptop. I make new friends while using my teamwork skills to make progress in the games I play. I’m intrigued by the Montessori approach and excited to join the Springs team. I’ve been a guide in camps this summer on both Springs and Creek campuses.
Primary Robins Support Guide
Born and raised in France. I completed a Master in Science Economics from Paris University. Curious about linguistics, I received a parallel Bachelor's Degree in English from Versailles University and later pursued this interest by studying and working in Russia, Central Asia, and South Korea where I learned local languages and cultures. In the years after becoming a mother in 2012, I became interested in specialized child-centered approaches and philosophies. I then pursued my Primary Montessori Training.
I live in South Austin with my husband and daughter. We have a bulldog and three parakeets. I enjoy walking in nature, gardening, knitting, and crochet. I am excited to be joining the Headwaters community. Headwaters has a very welcoming atmosphere and I look forward to observing and nurturing each child’s growth and self-expression.
Mariluz “Mary” Irreno
Primary Bluebirds Assistant Guide
I am originally from Barranquilla, Colombia, and then Northern Virginia where I was a Montessori Primary Assistant and fell in love with the philosophy. My fiance and I recently moved to Austin and we are excited to explore what this new city has to offer. I love exercising, sports, and poetry but lately I have been reading a lot of personal growth books. One of my favorite authors is Ryan Holiday. I also own a small business with my fiance which kept me busy and in a happy place during the pandemic shutdown. I am excited to be part of the Headwaters team.
YCC Chickadees Support Guide
Hello, my name is Laurence Prodel and I’m so excited to be joining the Springs team this year! I grew up in France. My husband, our two daughters and I moved to Austin in 2011. It’s when I became a mother that I realized how important it is to find a safe and supportive environment for our little ones. I love being with toddlers, watching them grow at their own pace and developing into confident, self-sufficient learners. I’m really looking forward to meeting and supporting your children!
YCC Wrens Assistant Guide
I have been in the Headwaters community for four years now. I have two children, Lucas and Ruby, who attend the Creek Campus. My degree is in Elementary Education and I have been working with children in a school setting since 2007. I’ve subbed regularly on both the Springs and Creek campuses.
Upper El Guide in Thunderbirds Classroom
Beth is a beloved and familiar guide for the children, as our former music guide. She will join the Thunderbirds classroom in partnership with Jennifer Skiffington. Eager to accept opportunities to learn and grow personally and professionally, Beth is excited to bring her experience teaching students of all ages for many years into the classroom. Her dedication to supporting students as they explore their individual path is evident in every encounter she has with children.
Elementary Music Guide
Kellie Bledsoe has taught for over twenty years at a variety of different schools, with music at the heart of her teaching. With degrees in music education and vocal performance and her proficiency with several different instruments, she brings tremendous talent and expertise to our children. She is drawn to the Headwaters community with an emphasis on individualized instruction and the ways in which Montessori brings out the best in each student.
Shawn Calamari (They/Them)
Early El Guide in Owls Classroom
Shawn Calamari will be joining the Owls classroom this fall to work in partnership with Madeline. Shawn’s joyful way of being with the children and their deep understanding of Montessori philosophy and curriculum reflects a positive role model for the class. Their passion for learning, openness for personal growth and eagerness to work collaboratively makes them a perfect fit for our elementary team.
Upper El Guide in Phoenix Classroom
Lupy Cepeda will be joining the Phoenix classroom this fall to work in partnership with Keely. Lupy relocated from Chicago to Austin to be part of our Upper Elementary team. We eagerly welcome her rich Montessori experience and passion for teaching as she becomes a new member of our community.
Creek Academic Coordinator
You may recognize Misty’s name, she is coming to us from the Springs Campus where she has been in several Primary classrooms for the past five years. Misty enjoyed her time in the classroom working closely with her students; now she is excited about stepping back and seeing the bigger picture of the school. Also a Licensed Professional Counselor, Misty’s extensive background will support her work with students, guides, and parents at the Creek Campus. Misty is excited to work closely with Paige and Jennie, and looks forward to serving the Creek Community in this newly created role of Creek Academic Coordinator.
Eduardo “Lalo” Martinez (He/Him)
Early El Guide in Kingfishers Classroom
Lalo, who has always steadfastly supported the needs of the school and the children, will join the Early El team from the Thunderbirds Upper El classroom. His vast experience as a longtime Headwaters community member and Montessori-trained guide in both Early and Upper Elementary brings tremendous expertise to the Kingfishers classroom. We are so lucky to have Lalo’s strength of character and teaching talents here at Headwaters. He always puts the children first.
Autumn McMillan (They/Them)
Early El Teaching Assistant in Kingfishers Classroom
Autumn is new to Headwaters this year and will team up with Lalo as his teaching assistant in the Kingfishers classroom. A recent graduate of Grinnell College with a degree in Sociology, Autumn brings tremendous enthusiasm and passion for learning. Their vast and varied life experience is reflected in their curious and explorative nature. Autumn's own childhood experience as a Montessori student inspires them to view each child as an individual learner while guiding children to explore with curiosity and become self-assured learners. We are so excited to welcome Autumn to our Early El team and to grow and learn from each other.
We welcome Julie Still to serve as Librarian and as Early Arrival, Specials and Creativity Club Support. Julie’s dedication to Headwaters shows in the variety of ways she has always stepped in to help whenever and wherever she is needed. When the Librarian position opened up, there wasn’t a question about who would be best-suited for this role. We know Julie’s attention to detail and deep appreciation for the children will be a great fit for this position.
Middle School Social Studies
Lei Alor brings curriculum-writing expertise, leadership experience, and enthusiasm to our Middle School community. With a Masters from the London School of Economics, he’ll use his extensive knowledge of political science and international relations to teach Becoming Society to 7th graders. He’ll also teach the Middle School Social Justice elective, and serve as an Advisor.
Middle School Music Guide
A graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music with a Master’s degree in Music–Jazz Performance, we welcome Alex Bilodeaux to our campus to build our Middle School music program in collaboration with returning guide Mike Stavitz. Alex has taught at the collegiate, high school, middle school, and primary school levels educating students about orchestral music, jazz traditions, bass, and general music. He has also taught private and group lessons on classical and jazz bass, blues, rock, pop, ensemble playing, improvisation, songwriting, music theory, and history.
Caroline “Carrie” Casillas
MS/HS Learning Specialist
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, I relocated to the United States in 2016 to teach second grade in inner city Stockton, California. Over the last 20 years, my life has centered around students in a variety of ways, from working with our littlest learners to Chief Academic Officer of an Adult Charter School.
I discovered my keen sense of adventure and gusto in living life after I graduated High School. I participated in a Round Square exchange to Cape Town, South Africa. Upon returning, I pursed my Bachelor of Child Development, obtained a Bachelor of Education from Lakehead University, and obtained a Master of Education, focusing on the inclusive classroom, from Concordia University, Oregon.
Education has always burned deep in my soul; my father was an educator, my husband is an educator, and my mother has always taught me the value and importance of education. A favorable moment was 2018, where I accepted the ‘Distinguished Alumni Award’ honoring graduates who have dedicated themselves to their chosen profession and community.
Teaching and being a part of the learning process is the ultimate reward for any educator. Each day students should discover new experiences for both challenge and for success. We want students to exude academic ambition, to have a knowledge-seeking spirit that embraces the importance of continuous effort and see challenge as an opportunity for learning.
In my spare time, I enjoy working out in the gym, practicing yoga and spending time with my husband and our four Bulldogs. I am looking forward to working with the entire faculty at Headwaters, as we help the learners of today become the successful leaders of tomorrow!
Augusta “Gus” Dexheimer
Middle School Social Studies
Gus Dexheimer believes “education should guide learners in the process of making sense of their worlds, and instill a sense of responsibility and a profound, intrinsic desire to repair those worlds, in solidarity with people they know as well as people they’ve never met.” As an Advisor, Becoming Human guide, and Middle School Orientation guide, Gus brings her experiences as a co-teacher, writer, classroom assistant, and counselor at University of Texas’ Shakespeare at Winedale to our Middle School community.
River Events Coordinator
Cortney Hall joins us this year as the Middle School and High School Events Coordinator. She says "school should be a place where students are introduced to new ideals, beliefs and experiences. I hope to do so by fostering the welcoming environment Headwaters has already established, to create a space where students feel comfortable not only sharing, but listening and learning from one another." Cortney brings her background in Theatre Education, Mental Health Counseling and Project Management to Headwaters and after finishing her first summer as Camp Headwaters Summer Camp Manager she can't wait to find out what else Headwaters has to offer!
High School English
Though notoriously bad at remembering even the most basic jokes, I am the very first person in the room to laugh at them (again and again). I can even be accidentally hysterical too. Red is currently my favorite color, and Nordic detective shows are my go-to when there are no new Survivor episodes to watch with my family.
In 1982 I earned 2nd place in Mendenhall Elementary’s spelling bee (lost on the word galactic) and snagged a blue ribbon in a field day foot race the next year. However, the prizes I am most proud of from that time in my life are a perfect attendance certificate (no days missed in six years) and the almost life-size John Travolta coloring book I received on my 10th birthday.
More recently, I studied English at UT Austin and then went on to get an MFA in Creative Writing at New England College and an MSW in Children & Families at UT Arlington. Previously, I taught English, creative writing, and PSAT/SAT test prep at Cedar Park High School, where I was also a UIL coach and the Gay-Straight Alliance club sponsor. For the past four years, I’ve been a therapist and mental health advocate. In May, I felt an impossible-to-ignore call to return to my first love: the classroom.
Headwaters School had me at student-led. I knew I wanted to be a part of a community whose promise is to “live authentically, think expansively, and create bravely.” Y’all are my people indeed. Please come find me and tell me a story, teach me a trick, or share a few tidbits about what currently interests you. I’m looking forward to connecting with each of you.
Krystal's professional background has been focused in mental health and social justice, as she earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree from The University of North Texas and a Master of Social Work degree from The University of Southern California. She has worked with children and families of all ages in various environments including in multiple academic settings, community-based mental health, addiction and recovery, and domestic violence. After years along the West Coast, Krystal and her husband decided to plant roots for their family in Austin and have recently relocated to the area (where Krystal grew up). Krystal was quickly drawn to the values and community at Headwaters–especially the purposefulness, authenticity, relationships, and collaboration, and she looks forward to meeting and working with everyone. Her passions include mindfulness, yoga, traveling, exploring, listening to music, creating, and learning–bonus if any of these include a chai latte. Local recommendations welcome!
Middle School Spanish
Jorge has taught Spanish to doctors at Dell Children’s, graduate students at Texas State, and middle and high school students in Austin schools. He brings energy, curiosity, and a love of Spanish language and literature to our Middle School program.
Athletics Coordinator and PACTivity Guide
Earnie Solomon joins us this year as Athletic Coordinator, PACTivity guide, and High School Advisor. He says, “I believe that all learners are unique and each has something special that they can bring to their own education. I will assist my students and athletes to express themselves and accept themselves for who they are, as well as embrace the differences of others. I believe that compassion is a vital lesson in education.” With a Masters in Physical Education and Bachelors in Kinesiology, Earnie is excited about strengthening the athletics program at Headwaters, drawing on his knowledge and experience as a coach, guide, and athlete.
Middle School Science
Matthew is a born-and-bred Austinite who has also lived in Colorado, Mexico, and the Netherlands. A parent from the Primavera days of our school, Matthew loves the compassionate, safe environment at Headwaters, and is looking forward to bringing his twenty years of teaching experience to our campus. His favorite topics to teach are space, physics, and biodiversity. His favorite ways to teach are through stories, demonstrations, field trips, and hands-on building. He sees students as scientists who use curiosity to understand the world around them.
Matthew says,”As a teacher I take my job very seriously and myself, not so much. I attribute my success as a teacher to my enthusiasm for Science, empathy for my students, and creativity. I sometimes feel like an artist trapped in the body of a Science teacher. Luckily teaching Science is an art if you do it right.“
Middle School Spanish
Natalie Turner is an experienced teacher and school counselor who will be teaching Middle School Spanish. Born in Peru, Natalie loves travel and has chaperoned students on school trips to Costa Rica, Spain, and Turkey. She writes, “I foster students’ strengths, value their contributions, provide a safe and welcoming learning environment, and present students with rich opportunities to discover and explore their passions.” Natalie has trained teachers in restorative practices and mindfulness, and enjoys using music, movement, art, games, reading, writing, and discussion in her classes.