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High School Staff

Sean Allen, Math Guide

photo s.allen@headwaters.org

I received my BA in Communications from Temple University in Philadelphia. I’ve worked in education in many different forms since then; as a residential tutor for socioeconomically disadvantaged youth in the Philadelphia suburbs, as a carpentry teacher for an elementary after-school program and a job coach for developmentally disabled adults in Northern California, as a building trades teacher for at-risk teen boys in Vermont, and as a public high school math teacher in Austin.

I’m thrilled to have landed here at Headwaters as a teacher and a coach. Two of my three children attend the Headwaters Middle School program; as a parent I have seen firsthand how special this community can be and how skilled our faculty are at inspiring enthusiasm for learning in our students. I look forward to bringing out the same joy in learning in the students in my math classes.

John Branch, High School Jazz Band Director

johnbranch j.branch@headwaters.org

I have lived several musical lives since graduating from Southwestern University in 2000. Although I majored in classical guitar performance, I have since performed as a rock, blues, and/or jazz musician on guitar, bass, and keyboard all over the globe.  I have taught over 20 years as a guitar instructor and still maintain a large studio of students as well as an online guitar lesson business Branch Out Guitar.  I have been a part of the Headwaters faculty since 2015 and always hope that I can inspire my students to enjoy learning and playing music as much as I have in my life.  If you can’t catch my on campus, I can usually be found playing a few times a week with one of several bands around the Austin area.

Dan Cummings, Head of High School

 d.cummings@headwaters.org

Encouraged by an inspirational college professor, I started in education immediately after graduating from Colorado State University. With a BA in English, I began my teaching career in an experiential, alternative school setting. Since then, I have taught in parochial, public, international, and independent schools. Along the way I picked up an MA in English Literature from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College and, at different points in my career, I served as Department Chair, Dean of Academics, Dean of School, and Director of Upper School. Throughout, I have maintained a teaching load, believing that the truest pulse of a school exists in the classroom. I enjoy photography, appreciate graffiti, and spend much of my free time reinvigorating old homes. I am excited to be joining the Headwaters community!

Brian Derrig, English Guide / Head of English

Bio pic (1) b.derrig@headwaters.org

During my high school years I struggled to find meaning between the bells. My pivotal moment in education came when I enrolled in a semester-long NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) course at the age of eighteen. Finally, education was an experience and every experience was an education. This passion for a progressive education led me to Prescott College where I received a BA in English Language Arts and Letters and Education. In subsequent years, an insatiable academic curiosity led me to pursue a Master’s Degree in English through Sam Houston State University, which I received in July of 2008.

In more than a decade of teaching, I have taught in public school arenas including a Juvenile Detention Center, a resource center for the disabled, and Dual Credit/ACC on-campus classes. In 2009, I began teaching the English section of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme at Stony Point High School in Round Rock and it felt like a return to my core principles. IB emphasizes the growth of the individual while maintaining a social contract with the community. For me, joining the Headwaters community at this momentous point in time (as it adopts IB) has a sense of homecoming and I feel genuinely inspired to pursue a purposeful pedagogy. I am here to offer my students discovery, and my sole desire is to share in their experiences.

Kelly Dickens, Math Guide

kelly dickens-03-2 k.dickens@headwaters.org

Being and working with teenagers and children brings me joy. I love being surrounded by people (students and staff) engaged in continual learning and growth. I completed a B.A. in Mathematics at UT-Austin, concurrently earning a Texas Teacher’s Certification in Secondary Mathematics and supporting myself by private tutoring. After teaching for Eanes ISD, I detoured into actuarial mathematics. While working as an actuary for 15 years, my wife Linda and I started our family. Our older son, Michael, started at Headwaters in sixth grade, and was soon joined by his brother, Joel. Being a part of this community inspired me to return to teaching, and Linda to serve on the Board of Directors. I am so grateful to have a vocation in which I am called upon to share what matters most.

Nora Dock, International Student Coordinator

Nora n.dock@headwaters.org

I received my BA in French Language and Francophone Literatures with a minor in Economics from Mills College. During my undergraduate career I studied abroad in Madagascar, and fell in love with the transformative power of an international experience. After graduation I sought out opportunities to inspire others to explore the world. My work took me to several countries in Central America, Europe, Asia and Africa—and with each chance to explore and connect with a new culture I learned more about myself and my place in the world. Most recently I worked as an International Advisor at St. Edward’s University, where I was fortunate to work closely with over 200 students each year. My role as an advisor involved providing support to faculty, university administrators, outbound study abroad students and incoming international students. I look forward to becoming a part of the Headwaters Community.

Lisa Dubuque, Director of Student Life & College Counseling

LisaD l.dubuque@headwaters.org

Thanks to one wonderful English teacher in Minnesota, I discovered the career path that would keep me happy and challenged in my work place for the rest of my life. I earned my Bachelor of Art with a major in English Literature and a Minor in Secondary Education. I filled up my free time volunteering at various schools in Fort Collins and mentoring at-risk youth. After an entertaining and challenging stint of teaching public school in Colorado, I made my way to Texas to teach at a private school. Soon after arriving, I was presented with the opportunity of co-founding Headwaters and have been here since. I believe that all teens deserve individualized attention, and I spend much of my time giving that to each student at Headwaters. I am the Director of Student Life and College Counseling, and hail as the general go-to girl for any of your Headwaters-related needs. I recently received my certificate in college counseling from UCLA to better assist our students in their post-secondary goals.

Sean Fleming, Dean of Students

SeanF s.fleming@headwaters.org

After taking the road less traveled for many years, I earned a BA from Texas State University in 2005 with a double major in History and English. Ironically enough, I found myself rudderless after graduation and began searching for something meaningful to do with my life.

Fortunately, a serendipitous conversation one summer afternoon with Lisa Dubuque, a cofounder of our school, led me to sign up as a substitute teacher for the River Campus in 2008. My first assignment was subbing for a history class in Building 1, and I will never forget the feeling I had standing in that room with students and sharing my love of the humanities. I finally had my eureka moment, and realized that my passion was working with kids!

I went back to Texas State to earn my teaching certification, and hoped daily that a position would open up for me at Headwaters when I finished. Luckily for me, it did! While teaching, I completed a master’s degree in secondary education during the spring of 2016, and I am proud to say that I have spent my entire career in education here at Headwaters.

In my free time I like to hang out with my wife, Andrea, and our two daughters, Djuna and Margaux, both of whom attend the Creek campus. In addition, I enjoy storytelling in its myriad forms, and I try to incorporate those elements into my work with students.

Mike Franz, Humanities Guide / High School Athletics Director

MikeF m.franz@headwaters.org

Born and raised in California, I received my B.S. degree in Psychology from U.C. Santa Barbara. After finishing my undergraduate education, I traveled the world for ten years, seven of which were spent managing a bicycle tour company in Paris, France. Now settled in Austin, I am thrilled to be teaching and coaching at Headwaters. In the classroom, I am passionate about inspiring others to learn and seek knowledge. On the sporting field, I emphasize hard work, teamwork, and the mental aspect of sports. I am honored and grateful to be part of the Headwaters staff and community. This year I will be the teaching Government/Economics, and coaching high school flag football and soccer.

Michelle Gardella, Photography Guide

 m.gardella@headwaters.org

I am a photographer and photography teacher who loves nothing more than empowering the creative expression of others. My teaching philosophy is rooted in an appreciation for the process of art making, as much as the final product. I also believe, with all of my heart, in photographic storytelling as a tool for social justice.

I graduated from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA with a degree in Art Therapy. My personal work is centered on the celebration of the fierce female spirit, and the reunification of women and nature.  I lived for two years an Airstream, traveling the country with my little family, capturing women in rivers. My photographs have been exhibited internationally and my book, River Story, sold out within months of release. I’ve been featured in over 100 national print magazines, illustrated two best-selling books still available in book stores nationwide, and had my work on Good Morning America, CNN, The Today Show and VH1. I’ve earned the tremendous distinction of being named “Top 30 Photographers in the World,” by Rangefinder Magazine, and “Top 10 Photographers to Watch in the US.” But the accomplishments I am most proud of, are those of my beloved students. I have been a teacher for over a decade and am so honored to be part of the Headwaters family.

When I’m not collarbone deep in river, or teaching in a classroom, I can be found playing old school board games around our kitchen table with my husband Thomas, and our two children, Braedon, 15, and Lily, 7.

Lorena Germán, English Guide

headwaters-guides-5-2016-3-1 l.german@headwaters.org

I was born in Dominican Republic and grew up in an urban setting in Massachusetts. I am a writer and a teacher and I love to read and write about teaching as an act of social justice.

As an undergraduate, I knew I wanted work with young people in the area of literacy so I earned my undergraduate degree in English and my Master of Arts in English at Middlebury College Bread Loaf School of English. I have been published by ASCD, EdWeek, NCTE, a National Writing Project anthology, and other sources. Twice my work has earned national recognition with the National Council for Teachers of English. Outside of teaching, reading, and writing, you can find me playing with my toddler Analíz, eating great food with my husband, and pretending I’m going to workout soon.

Claudia Guajardo, Spanish Guide

IMG_0949 c.guajardo@headwaters.org

I was born and raised in Matamoros, Mexico, and relocated in 2014 with my husband and two sons to Austin, Texas. I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Chemical Engineering and worked in Mexico for Delphi (General Motors) as an Environmental Engineer for more than seven years. After taking some time off to raise my two sons, I started doing volunteer work at my son’s elementary school. It was there that I  discovered my passion for teaching.

I had the opportunity to work for more than four years as an ESL teacher in the Language Learners at the University of Texas Center for Hispanic Achievement (LUCHA) program aimed at helping Spanish-speaking students transition into public high schools at Donna ISD in South Texas. Recently, I worked at the Cathedral School of Saint Mary (CSSM) as a Spanish Teacher serving all grades (PreK4 to 8th grade). At CSSM, I implemented several cultural events and performances in an effort to highlight the customs and heritage of the Hispanic culture.

Estoy muy contenta de ser parte de la familia Headwaters y poder transmitir a mis estudiantes mi lenguaje y cultura!

Georgia Helen, Humanities Guide

georgiahelen g.helen@headwaters.org

I love facilitating meaningful inquiry, peer learning, civic engagement, service learning, and championing youth voice and expression. As a humanist and culturalist, I am deeply motivated and inspired by Headwaters students’ abilities to imagine, articulate and create models for transformation, social justice, freedom, and discovery. I am honored and excited to learn and grow with our community and seek to offer unique and collaborative contributions to Headwaters programs. My experience is grounded in a nontraditional personal background and the fellowships I received to earn a BA from Lewis & Clark College and an MA from Stanford University in Sociology and Cultural Anthropology. I have taught in middle school, high school, and college humanities programs stateside and overseas, and I am passionate about the fostering of intercultural relationships and practices. It is such a joy to join the Headwaters family.  

David Heroy, Science Guide / Outdoor Leadership / Head of Science

David Sequoiasd.heroy@headwaters.org

My love is sharing the beauty of this world with other people. I’ve been doing so at Headwaters since 2008, and I absolutely love it. In addition to teaching Environmental Systems and Society, I founded the Outdoor Leadership Program at Headwaters. My geology research brought me to every continent except Africa and Australia. I published work from Antarctica and Bangladesh and presented it at Cambridge, UK, and was written-up in the journal Science and Discover. My love of nature has been deepened by NOLS, Outward Bound, and leading backpacking trips in California under my own LLC. I have a BA from Colgate, an MS from William and Mary, and a PhD from Rice. Since then, I founded Blackwood Nature Camp in Hempstead, Texas, which received national awards. Finally, I was Assistant Guide for 1st-3rd graders here in Austin at Parkside Montessori, led a cabin at Global Youth Peace Summit, and taught at Lee College in Baytown, TX. In 2003, I met a beautiful architect at a swing dance class, and we got married and have two girls, Cleo and Marion.

Kelley Janes, Science Guide

S2_Week2_Web02 k.janes@headwaters.org

I love science. It is a way for me to connect with nature and life on the most meaningful levels. I love teaching as much as I love science. I love Headwaters as much as I love teaching. Hence, I love my work. I teach physics (8th grade physical science, 10th grade Physics, and IB Physics) and astronomy. Much of my formal science education was done in Bellingham, Washington at Western Washington University, where I left the creative writing department and landed happily in the physics department. My studies have taken me to Southern Chile, Baja California, Italy, Mauna Kea, and the McDonald Observatory, which I find to be the happiest place on earth. In my spare time, I can be found practicing Ashtanga yoga, listening to Radio Lab or This American Life, reading old diaries at the Ransom Center, conducting experiments in my kitchen, and oogling over my three kids and my charming husband.

Sam Jones, Humanities Guide

s.jones@headwaters.org

I am a teacher, pure and simple.  Teaching is my passion, my art, my mitzvah.  I have taught in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, universities, and in graduate programs.  I have taught in Massachusetts, Vermont, Kansas, Nepal, Japan, New York City, Kansas City, and now in Austin. I have taught writing, literature, fifth grade, philosophy, neuroscience, history, analysis of teaching, multicultural history and literature, foundations of education, martial arts, and coached basketball in Nepal. I received my B.A. in English Literature at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts; my M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Oregon; and my Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Kansas.  I worked at the Kansas State Department of Education for 14 years and was the state liaison to the Native American community in Kansas.  At the State Department I was part of a team that encouraged educators to consider the issues of traditionally underachieving populations, multicultural education, cooperative learning, community-based schools, parent involvement, teacher expectations, gender issues, and school improvement.  There, I developed a series of annual conferences called Kansans of Color, and another annual conference on Native American education called Council Fires.   I also conducted yearly No-TV Weeks in elementary schools throughout the state and traveled as a roaming storyteller, a habit that culminated in a statewide conference on multicultural storytelling. When not teaching or telling stories, I can be found on 360 riding my bike or at Barton Springs or at any of the music venues in town.

Paul Lambert, Math Guide

headwaters-guides-9-2016-1-2 p.lambert@headwaters.org

Learning and teaching are at the core of our family culture. My mother was a teacher and high school counselor, my brother is a teacher, and my wife is a teacher and university academic counselor. I have been an educator for sixteen years–thirteen as a teacher and basketball coach, and the last two teaching special education mathematics. I am passionate about the Houston Astros, solar energy, and spending time with my family. I am excited to guide my students to build the skills they need to become their best, authentic selves.

Andy Lantz, Spanish Guide

 a.lantz@headwaters.org

I come from a pretty long line of teachers, so I always had a feeling that I would end up in the classroom. Over the past several years, I have had the great opportunity to teach students of nearly all ages, and it has brought me so much joy. In my mind, there is nothing more satisfying than playing a role in students’ successes, guiding others to pursue their passions in life, or having a captive audience for my many bad jokes. I am excited and honored to do so this year as a Spanish teacher at Headwaters School.

I received my teaching license and BA in Spanish from Luther College in 2007, taught elementary and middle school Spanish back in my Wisconsin hometown, and then changed things up by teaching math at an American school in Querétaro, Mexico, for one year. Since 2009, I have been pursuing my PhD in Hispanic Studies at Texas A&M University, where I have taught Spanish and Film Studies courses. In my free time, you can find me exploring the outdoors, catching a live music or comedy act, cheering for Minnesota sports teams, and searching for my next cup of espresso.

Marc Lionetti, School Counselor / Vocal Music Director

MarcL m.lionetti@headwaters.org

I received my undergraduate degree in Music Education from Northwestern University, and was a full-time music teacher for eight years at a small progressive private school in the San Francisco Bay Area. After that time, I felt an inner calling to interact with students as a counselor in addition to as a teacher. That calling ultimately led me to the Educational Psychology department at the University of Texas at Austin, where I received a Masters of Education in Counselor Education in 2008. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Texas, and I have been serving as Headwaters School counselor (and vocal music director) since 2009.  In addition, I am certified as a Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500-hour level, with specialized training in Kundalini yoga.  Outside of my work at Headwaters, I also perform music regularly around town with various bands, and teach private music lessons.

Terra Lynch, Learning Specialist

Terra Lynch t.lynch@headwaters.org

I come from a long line of teachers, but it wasn’t until I moved to New York City that I became one myself. I taught Humanities, Spanish, and Music Appreciation at high school in Manhattan. I got my Master’s in Social Studies Education from New York University, and became an affiliate of the School Reform Initiative. Since moving to Austin several years ago I have been an instructional coach, a tutor, and a volunteer.  I return to NYU each summer to teach a Facilitative Leadership Seminar for school administrators and teacher leaders.

My brain changed when I became an educator, and now I can’t stop thinking (and talking) about teaching and learning! My experiences living in Brazil, Spain, and Egypt attuned me to the challenges of language learners. My years in project management help me think about lesson planning, data, and outcomes. I am constantly looking for creative ways to make teaching more effective and efficient, and to make learning engaging and equitable for all kinds of students. As the parent of dyslexic children, I am especially attuned to the needs of those who may not succeed in a traditional classroom–I even became trained in Dyslexia Therapy at the Rawson Saunders Institute to better understand and support their learning. As a graduate of an International Baccalaureate program myself, I felt a connection to the Headwaters School. I am so happy to be the Learning Specialist at the River Campus, collaborating with thoughtful teachers in ways to meet the needs of our diverse students.

When I’m not talking about education, you can find me reading, cooking, leading a robotics team, or on the greenbelt with my husband, our two children, and our energetic dogs. Please stop and say hi!

Sean Manning, Spanish Guide

IMG_1426 s.manning@headwaters.org

I have a B.S. in Geology, an M.A. in Spanish, and a Ph.D. in Spanish and Latin American Poetry. Scattered among these degrees are travels and years of living in Ireland, Spain, and France. We are always searching for a reality that better suits our self while also trying to find our self inside a reality, and language is how we attempt to render each of them concrete. When considering the mystic accuracy between certain words and their meanings, Jorge Luis Borges wondered, “who discovered the word “pampa,” that infinite word that is like a sound and its echo?” Resembling those expansive Argentine plains, we chase our horizon with a devotion equal to that of the echo endlessly following its sound.

As a Spanish instructor, my goal is to direct students towards words that they might want to keep, to thoughts that might better explain their own, and to develop their gazes so that they may see themselves and others more clearly. I feel fortunate to have been welcomed into Headwaters School where sincerity and creativity thrive in a rare form of academic affection that embraces the billowy “cloud,” the thundery “nube,” and the wispy “nuage” alike.

Caitlin McDermott, Science Guide

 c.mcdermott@headwaters.org

I grew up on the East Coast and attended Mount Holyoke College, an all-women’s institution in Massachusetts, during which time I found my love for science. I was fortunate enough to do research on everything from the mating behavior of fiddler crabs in Kino Bay, Mexico to the celestial navigation patterns of meat ants in Australia, both during and after completing my undergraduate degree. I spent the last four years teaching, coaching, and being a dorm parent at a boarding school in Central New Jersey. I met my significant other while completing my Masters at UT Austin during the last three summers, and soon decided it was time for a change of location. I come to this fabulous city with my fur baby, Miss Nola.

Austin captured my attention, but Headwaters has captured my heart from the moment I stepped on campus. I am so excited to be joining the community this year and to begin working with environmentally conscious partners around the city as an integral part of my science courses. What better way for kids to learn than to serve the bountiful natural beauty that is Austin!

Martha Melendez, Spanish Guide

m.melendez@headwaters.org

I am originally from Los Angeles, California, but I lived in San Francisco for a large part of my adult life. My passion for foreign languages came at an early age for me. My maternal language is Spanish and as a child, I lived in Mexico. When my family returned to the U.S., I was able to understand English, but I didn’t know how to speak, read, nor write it. I was therefore put in ESL classes in elementary school and before I knew it and before anyone expected it, I was completely literate and fluent in English. I loved it! From then on, my parents were very strict on keeping Spanish the household language and English whenever we were outside of the home. In high school, I was given the opportunity to appease my appetite for foreign languages and took up French. I went on and graduated from Saint Louis University in St. Louis, MO with a Masters in French and have travelled extensively around France and Western Europe. I am excited to be a part of the Headwaters community and I hope to inspire and transfer that same passion for languages onto my students.

John Mulvany, Art Guide / Head of Performing and Visual Arts

JohnM j.mulvany@headwaters.org

I am an artist and art educator originally from Ireland who has been living and working in Austin for the last 13 years. This is my twentieth year teaching art and my fifth at Headwaters School, where, in addition to teaching AP Art, High School Art, and Middle School Art, I am head of the Visual Arts program. This year I am also teaching an art class to the Upper Elementary class at the Elementary campus. Teaching at Headwaters School has been my most rewarding and inspiring experience in education.

I graduated from the College of Art, Design and Print in Dublin, Ireland with a Fine Art degree, and I also have a degree in art and design education from the Crawford College of Art in Cork, Ireland. As an artist my work has been shown in Ireland, the UK, Germany, and the U.S. I was featured in the 2009 Texas Biennial and was nominated for best artist in the 2009 Austin Visual Arts Association awards. My most recent exhibitions were a solo exhibition at Texas Lutheran University and a show at Gray Duck Gallery in Austin last April. I live in east Austin with my wife, Monique, and our two sons, Henry and Cormac, who are starting in the Primary and YCC Programs at Headwaters School’s Primavera campus this year.

Hilda Reilly, Spanish Guide

 h.reilly@headwaters.org

I love the Spanish language and have been teaching it for over 20 years. I have been a foreign language instructor in different settings: universities, private, charter and public schools in Mexico, Ecuador, and the United States. Through these years the driving force has been to see my students experience the language and succeed at being proficient in Spanish. I was born in Monterrey, Mexico, and my undergraduate work is in Spanish Literature from Tecnológico de Monterrey. I received a Master’s Degree also in Spanish Literature from Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León and a Master of Arts in Hispanic Linguistics from the Ohio State University. For this academic year, I am thrilled to join Headwaters because the commitment to foster the personal growth of individuals in a global community resonates with my personal beliefs.

 

Joe Sokolik, Humanities Guide / Head of Social Studies

joe s.-2 j.sokolik@headwaters.org

My passion for history emerged while I was enrolled as a Civil Engineering student at the University of Texas. My degree plan required me to take an American History course, and thanks to the efforts of one inspiring professor, I developed an insatiable thirst for historical knowledge and made up my mind to become an educator. I have taught at Headwaters School since 2007 and am constantly humbled to be surrounded by such a talented staff and so many sharp young minds. I hold a BA in History from the University of Texas at Austin and an MA in History from Texas State University. I also dabble in the musical arts, have played at most Austin music festivals, and my main ensemble, Hard Proof, has won more than one Austin Music Award.

Mike Stavitz, Music Guide

 m.stavitz@headwaters.org

As a 9-year-old, I watched a 6th grader named Dave Coniglio play “Wipeout” on the drums in the school concert, and I was hooked. Dave later became my first teacher, college roommate and best friend. After realizing as a middle schooler that playing shortstop for the New York Mets probably wasn’t in the cards, I focused on music. Growing up an hour north of NYC, I was lucky enough to get to witness and perform a lot of music there. After high school, I decided to further my passion at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where I earned a BA in Music Education in 2005. While in Boston I shoveled a lot of snow, played a lot of music, and met the woman whom I would marry. In Boston, I found my passion for bringing the same excitement and inspiration Dave and other teachers brought to me, by teaching music to students of my own. I was able to work as an outreach teacher for Community Music Center of Boston, co-teach percussion at a Puerto Rican cultural center with one of my professors, work with kids at a Boys and Girls Club, as well as lots of private instruction. I also got the the opportunity to join a great band and tour the country for the better part of two years. After pretending to be a rock star for a bit, my wife and I decided to completely uproot our lives and move to Austin in 2011. The snow literally followed us as far south as Memphis but we finally made it. I had the great honor of joining the amazingly talented staff at Armstrong Community Music School in 2011, and for the last 6 years have taught there, been involved with some of their many outreach programs, and joined the Austin music scene. In October 2015 my wife and I had our first child, Elliot. I will very likely show you pictures of him whether you ask or not.

I am extremely grateful and excited for the opportunity to be a part of the Headwaters community, and can’t wait to share my passion for all things musical with students and teachers alike.

Yi-Wen Su, Mandarin Guide

Yi-Wen y.su@headwaters.org

I am so honored to be a part of the Headwaters family! I am originally from Taiwan. Knowing that I have always wanted to become a teacher, I started tutoring as a university student. After graduating in Taiwan with a Bachelors Degree in Foreign Languages and Literatures along with a minor in Middle/High School Teacher Education, I decided to come to the U.S. to further my study. Graduating as a Longhorn, I got my Masters Degree in Foreign Language Education at the University of Texas at Austin. My research interests are foreign language anxiety and Chinese pedagogy. I have been teaching Mandarin as a foreign language in the Austin area for two years, and I am truly enjoying it. I believe that learning a foreign language can not only broaden one’s horizon to different cultures but also provide a different way to look at the world.

Alex Thomas, Film Guide

AlexT a.thomas@headwaters.org

After receiving an MFA in Film Production from the University of Texas at Austin, I found a home at Headwaters in 2010. I’ve written, directed, produced and edited films that have played at South by Southwest, Austin Film Festival, Texas Black Film Festival, Austin Comedy Film Festival, and a few others. In 2013, I founded the Austin Youth Film Festival with another local film instructor, which allows all middle and high schoolers in Texas to showcase their work at the Alamo Drafthouse, compete for prizes up to $1,000, and meet inspiring filmmakers (including Richard Linklater!). Our film department focuses on learning about film through theory, history, and culture. We also make movies that have gone on to play nationwide at Alamo theaters, festivals, and on our Youtube channel “Headwaters Student Films.”  You should definitely subscribe to the channel and check out some of our music videos, documentaries, dramas, horrors, comedies, and experimental fare.

Sarah Youree, English Guide

FB_IMG_1466575363733 s.youree@headwaters.org

Reading and talking about books is by far my favorite pastime, so I see teaching English as a pleasure and a privilege. I earned a B.A. in Spanish and Communication from Southwest Baptist University and an M.A. in English Literature from Texas State University. I have been a teacher for more than 15 years, having taught middle school, high school, and university students. I have taught Spanish, English, and ESL at the secondary level. Recently, as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at Texas State University, I taught classes in American literature, rhetoric and composition, and teacher preparation. I also worked at Texas State’s innovative Writing Center. I love exploring the spaces in and among language, literature, and culture.

International travel has been an integral part of my life and my approach to the classroom. I have lived in Brazil, Costa Rica, and Spain for extended periods, and I have also been greatly influenced by long stays in Italy, Mexico, and Sweden. The many reasons I am drawn to Headwaters include the IB curriculum and our commitment to creating peaceful global citizens. This hopeful vision of the future is what guided me when I joined the Headwaters family in 2016.