ansley thomas

Ansley Thomas

Primer (Pre-K4)

M.Ed – Curriculum & Instruction – The University of Texas at Austin

BA Elementary Education – Warrant Wilson College

Ansley joined Kirby Hall in 2016. Throughout the past decade, she has taught pre-k, kindergarten, first, and second grades. Ansley has a special interest in social-emotional learning and meaningful literacy instruction and looks forward to developing these skills in her students. In her free time, she enjoys sewing, cooking and hiking. Ansley tries to visit a new national park every school break!

Kirby Hall students are
intelligent, curious, kind.”

“What I value
about Kirby Hall is small class sizes and a
close supportive community.”

Terry Parks

Terry Parks

1st grade

BA in Psychology – The University of Texas at Austin

Terry joined Kirby Hall in 2003. While at The University of Texas, she focused on child psychology and child development. Later she became certified to teach pre-k through sixth grade. She began her teaching career with preschoolers and has been fortunate to work at various private schools in Abilene and Austin for more than twenty years.

During that time, Terry enriched her education through ongoing training in various aspects of early childhood education, such as promoting independence, creative writing, and science.

Terry enjoys cooking, reading, staying fit, and spending time with her daughters, Avery and Eliza. She is excited to begin another year as part of the Kirby Hall team!

Kirby Hall students are inquisitive, kind, enthusiastic.”

We are challenging, unique, nurturing.”

I value the small class sizes, which allow me to
truly get to know each of my students as individuals.

I love being able to encourage a class to become a team and to
open their eyes to the value of what every student brings to the group.

Summer McInerney

Summer McInerney

2nd grade

BS Applied Learning and Development – The University of Texas at Austin

Summer joined Kirby Hall in 2011. She has been affiliated with the school since 2007 as a parent, volunteer, and long-term substitute teacher. While attending The University of Texas, she was nominated for Student Teacher of the Year, and during her first year of teaching elementary school in Austin Independent School District, she received a Teacher of the Year nomination. Summer has experience working with elementary and middle school students who have wide range of abilities. She has participated in numerous professional development workshops in Gifted Education.

Summer is a voracious reader and enjoys sewing, DIY projects, and spending time with her husband and two sons, both of whom attend Kirby Hall. She is extremely excited to have the opportunity to enrich young lives in the classroom at this wonderful school!

Kirby Hall students are engaged, inquisitive, kind.”

We are venerable, welcoming, supportive.”

What I value and love the most is that
I get to guide bright, inquisitive young people
through early learning experiences, introducing them to part of the amazing tapestry of knowledge and understanding that the world has to offer.

I also get to
support them as they grow
into kind, honorable, socially-conscious citizens who will
impact the world in a positive way
long after they have left my class.

David LaLonde

3rd grade

Masters of Architecture, Magna Cum Laude, Savannah College of Art and Design

BA in Art History, Magna Cum Laude, Savannah College of Art and Design

Bachelor of Architecture, Valedictorian, Magna Cum Laude, Savannah College of Art and Design

Teaching Certificate – The University of Texas at Austin

Our students are intelligent, compassionate, wise.”

Kirby Hall is tranquil, energetic, joyous.”

I value the small class size and intelligent students.
The kids are precocious in a good way—
they want to learn and they want to be here.
It is a very relaxed, home environment.”

christine griffin

Christine Griffin

English and Language Arts | 4th – 5th grade

MA in English Education – Teachers’ College, Columbia University

BA in French – Georgetown University

Christine joined the Kirby Hall faculty in 2015, but as a parent has been a member of this community for more than a decade. She has more than ten years of experience within the field of education, most recently as a long-term substitute at Kirby Hall and as a fourth grade lead teacher of Reading and Writing at Trinity Episcopal School in Austin. Christine welcomed the opportunity to join Kirby Hall’s outstanding faculty, and she hopes to encourage a love for language and literature in the hearts and minds of her students.

Christine’s greatest joy is spending time with her husband, Will, and their three children, Chase (Kirby alum), Rose (current Kirby student), and Gage (future Kirby student). She also loves to read, cook, watch Merchant Ivory films, and spend time outside.

Our students are motivated, kind, intelligent.”

Kirby Hall is friendship, love, rigor.”

I value the freedom I have as a teacher to develop
challenging and engaging curriculum
that speaks directly to the needs of my students.

I value having a classroom full of students who are
academically motivated and intellectually curious.
I value the support I get from caring parents who want the best for their children.

Jared Dailey

Jared Daily

Math, Science, Technology | 4th – 5th grade

BA in Math – The University of Texas at Austin

Jared joined Kirby Hall in 2006, starting as a second grade teacher. Through his tenure here, he also has taught third grade science, fourth grade math, science and history, fifth and sixth grade math, and middle school science. He currently teaches fourth and fifth grade math, as well as fourth grade science. He also coordinates the growing technology department, co-developing our new Maker Space and teaching coding, and web design. Additionally, he is half of the sports department (Go Penguins!!!!). He co-coaches the basketball, soccer, volleyball, track and field, and cross country teams.

Jared was born in Austin but grew up along the Texas coast in Winnie. He spent a year at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, before leaving the blues and barbecue behind for a return to the greatest city in Texas, Austin. Despite growing up an avid Razorback fan, he transferred to The University of Texas and graduated in 2003.

Jared spent two years after graduation serving as Educational Coordinator, zookeeper, and night watchman at Austin Zoo, living in a house on the grounds. If you ask him, he’ll gladly tell you not much can compare to having peacocks for alarm clocks and tigers in your backyard! He knew all along, though, that teaching was his profession.

Jared loves all things logical (though he sometimes likes to dabble in the illogical), sports, origami (and is single-handedly responsible for the student origami craze), and nearly any activity that involves friends and the outdoors. Of course, his favorite activity is spending as much time as possible with his daughter Greta, son Nolan, and wife Kirstin!

Our students are motivated, respectful, talented.”

Kirby Hall is togetherness, excitement, rigor.”

“I value the close connections
you can make with families and students.

I appreciate the amount of time I get to spend seeing the kids in vastly different settings—both inside and outside the classroom.

I prize the freedom I have to push beyond
the normal limits of what elementary education normally is.”

Anushri Kushwaha

Science | 5th grade

MS in Biomedical Forensics – Syracuse University

BS in Biology – The University of Texas at Austin

BA in South Asia Culture & Language – The University of Texas at Austin

Anushri joined Kirby Hall in 2016. She brings more than seven years or private teaching experience with both middle school sciences and upper school physics, chemistry and AP Biology. She has particular expertise in life sciences, with extensive scientific research experience in such areas as genetic cloning and engineering of cancer cells; and neurodegeneration in Alzheimer disease.

Our students are congenial, mature, hardworking.”

“I value the faculty’s dedication to creating a
progressive, supportive, and appropriately challenging learning environment for the students.

There is a sense of community between teachers and students alike, which allows for efficient instruction and enjoyable activities throughout the day.

Joe Rumrich

Joe Rumrich

History | 4th – 5th grade

BS Hotel Management – Purdue University

Teaching Certification – The University of Texas at Austin

Joe joined Kirby Hall in 1994, bringing a passion for all things historic. In 1988, after a ten-year career in restaurant/hotel management, Joe moved to Austin and received his teaching certificate from The University of Texas at Austin.

He enjoys coaching his two nephews’ Little League baseball teams in all seasons but winter. Joe was born in Niagara Falls, New York.

Our students are eager, diligent, curious.”

Kirby Hall is fun, stable, structured.”

I value the ability to teach using high-level material
as opposed to teaching to a standardized test.

I value having the flexibility and small class sizes,
which allow me to bring history to life
through numerous field trips.

Sasha Roberts

Sasha Roberts

Spanish | Primer – 2nd grade

BA Psychology – The University of Texas at Austin

Sasha joined Kirby Hall in 2008. She is a home-grown accomplishment, graduating from Kirby Hall as its Valedictorian and garnering forty college credits before entering her first-choice university, The University of Texas at Austin. Upon graduation, Sasha became a valued Kirby Hall child development advisor. She came with an in-depth knowledge of what makes Kirby Hall the amazing school it is.

She has a love for the Spanish language and culture, which she studied extensively at The University of Texas. It wasn’t long before she took on the duties of teaching Spanish to our younger students.

Sasha’s hobby has turned into her love: pocket billiards. During her teenage years, she discovered her excitement for the game and didn’t hesitate when recruited to join The University of Texas Pool Team. During her senior year, she served as the pool team president. Through the Association of College Unions International, Sasha represented The University of Texas in the women’s division, receiving a first place in regionals and fifth in nationals. So, when you see Sasha say, “Hello” or “Hola,” but whatever you do, don’t challenge her to a game of pool!

Julio de la Llata

Julio de la Llata

Spanish | 3rd – 5th grade

MA Spanish Language & Literature – The University of Texas at Austin

BA in Spanish Language & Literature – Universidad de las Americas

Senor Julio de la Llata joined Kirby Hall in 1984. He teaches Spanish to third grade and above. He also served six years as Faculty Administrator. In addition to holding his BA and MA, he pursued further post-graduate studies at The University of Texas and Texas State University. Senor de la Llata also taught all levels of Spanish at Austin Community College, where he received the Excellence in Teaching Award in 1997. He has also taught Spanish for Business Professionals at The University of Texas’s Thompson Conference Center. He is married and the father of two sons and a daughter, and the very proud grandfather of Eli, Cora, and Solomon. In 2004, a special recognition celebration was held to honor Senor de la Llata’s twentieth year of service to the school and its students.

Our students are
industrious, happy to learn, appreciative.”

Kirby Hall is supportive, impressive, positive.”

I value small classes that enable the instructor
to know the academic progress and needs of each student.

It is a rewarding experience to teach the same student from elementary through upper school because I see the
complete acquisition and development
of the Spanish language.

vincent martinez

Vincent Paul Martinez, Jr.

Art | Primer – 5th grade

BFA in Studio Arts – Painting – Texas State University

Vincent Martinez joined Kirby Hall in 2016. He is a local artist, art teacher, and central Texas native. After graduating from Texas State in San Marcos, he decided to move to Austin in hopes of collaborating with the vibrant creative community. In 2010, while working as an Americorps mentor and tutor with Communities in Schools at Martin Middle School in East Austin, he developed a new passion for sharing the creative process with youth and fellow community leaders. He continued to foster this new found passion by building art curriculum for the Austin Parks and Recreation Totally Cool Totally Art teen outreach program, the Mexican American Cultural Center, the Asian American Resource Center, and as an art teacher at Hernandez Middle School in Round Rock. In his free time, he enjoys oil painting, reading, writing, and yoga. Vincent is very excited to join Kirby Hall this year, and to share the magic, rich history, varied mediums, and foundations of art with the students of Kirby Hall.

Michelle Escuder

Michelle Escuder

Drama & Music | Primer – 5th grade

BA Theater – Florida State University

Michelle joined Kirby Hall in 2007 and is thrilled to be returning to teach drama and music to primer and elementary students. At Florida State University, she was active in the university’s theater, music, and opera programs. As a first semester freshman, she was cast in her first collegiate-level operatic role. She was subsequently cast in an opera each year until her graduation. While at Florida State, in addition to performing on stage, Michelle held the Theatre Seat in the fifty-fourth Student Senate and performed technical duties in numerous theatrical productions. Michelle was the 1999 winner of the Florida Suncoast Opera Guild Competition and also performed in many additional plays and musicals, winning honors and scholarships for acting as well as for voice. Her students benefit from Michelle’s extensive and varied performance experience. Michelle enjoys cultivating her love for all things artistic and still enjoys performing as well as teaching.

Our students are
confident, determined, enthusiastic.”

Kirby Hall is joy, kindness, excellence.”

I value many things about teaching at Kirby Hall,
but above all else I value the sense of community
among the faculty, students and their families.

This is a place of learning for students who are
eager to be taught and who love the learning process,
but it is also a place of great love and support within an
amazing and close-knit community.

julia ortiz

Julia Ortiz

Physical Education, Coach | Primer – 5th grade

Bachelor of Education in Exercise Sports and Science – Texas State University

Julia Ortiz joined Kirby Hall in 2016. She grew up around the Central Austin area. For her first few years of college, she headed north to Laramie to attend the University of Wyoming. The mountains and snow were nothing like she had ever seen before, but she decided to finish her college career at Texas State University in San Marcos. She graduated with a bachelors degree in Exercise Sports Science and a minor in Geography. When she is not teaching, Julia loves to play different sports, to swim, and to camp. She also loves coaching volleyball, which she done for three years to various age groups from elementary to high school. She is excited for her first year and is looking forward to meeting everyone. She invites you to stop by and say hi!

Our students are bright, unique, goal-oriented.”

Kirby Hall is quaint, unique, accepting.”

I value that Kirby Hall is a place where students can
be themselves and feel comfortable
with their abilities while challenging each other.”