bradley king

Bradley King

American Literature | 9th – 10th grade

Ph.D. in English Literature – The University of Texas at Austin

M.A. in English Literature – University of South Carolina

B.A. in English & History – Oklahoma Baptist University

Bradley King joined Kirby Hall in 2016, joining the faculty after finishing a Ph.D. in English at The University of Texas and teaching American literature and writing classes there for almost a decade. The reading, writing, and discussions in his classes are always aimed at helping students grow in confidence and awareness—particularly about issues such as self-care, empathy, love, gender, and social justice.

Born in Altus, Oklahoma, and raised there on a small farm, Bradley went to college at Oklahoma Baptist University, where he initially studied to become a minister, but switched to English and Philosophy after his freshman year. His quickly developed an interest in how literature can help cultivate deeper, more reflective relationships with ourselves and the people and spaces around us. This interest led him to graduate school to study the profoundly spiritual and religious literature of the American Renaissance, which includes writers such as Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Herman Melville, and Frederick Douglass. Bradley also loves more recent and contemporary American poetry, and he is a grateful participant in the poetry and art community here in Austin. He is very happy to be teaching at a school that makes personal growth a priority as Kirby Hall does, and he looks forward to helping students develop their creative and intellectual capacities.

Our students are
sweet, dedicated to doing well, confident.”

Kirby Hall is caring, fun, supportive.”

“I value working so closely with such willing, kind students!
I feel like I have a good understanding of each of my students:
their individual habits, strength, and weaknesses.

And of course, they know mine too!
Knowing each other so well in this intimate space lets us
challenge each other and learn together.”

christopher taylor

Christopher Taylor

AP Language and Composition | 11th – 12th grade

Ph.D. in English Literature – The University of Texas at Austin

M.A. in English Literature – The University of Texas at Austin

B.A. in English, Minor in Psychology – Bowling Green State University

Christopher Taylor joined Kirby Hall in 2016. He is delighted to be here. Christopher earned his Ph.D. in English Literature from The University of Texas. Born in beautiful Cleveland, Ohio, Christopher arrived at the decision to devote his life to teaching literature only after wrestling with half a dozen majors as an undergraduate at Bowling Green State University. He reasoned that, in order to become great at anything, one must first learn how to read information critically and to communicate one’s thoughts clearly. Studying the art, meaning, and science of the English language has since opened him up to a number of hobbies and intellectual pursuits (music, linguistics, psychology, math, European history, physics), but most of all, helped him realize his love of teaching.

His teaching philosophy, honed from his teaching experiences at The University of Texas and Williams College, focuses on two essential goals: fostering independent, critical thought and challenging students to communicate their ideas with rhetorical control. To achieve these goals, he helps students work towards a self-reflective approach to thinking and writing through which students feel encouraged to take risks and, consequently, to achieve responsibility for their own learning. Christopher also encourages his students to use literature to develop real-life connections between disciplines and worlds and is always happy to discuss how academic subjects help prepare us for life’s challenges.

When he is not teaching or writing brief biographies in the third person, he is probably reading, cooking, playing guitar, or, most likely, watching Cleveland sports.

Our students are
intellectually flexible, fun-loving, compassionate.”

“I value the community at Kirby Hall.
I really love how everyone knows everyone’s name and genuinely cares about the well-being of one another.

For the first time,
I feel like I can use my classroom not only as an instructional space,
but as a laboratory of ideas.”

kevin gately

Kevin Gately

Pre-AP Calculus, AP Calculus

MA in Mathematics – New York University

BS in Mathematics – The University of Texas at Austin

Kevin joined Kirby Hall in 2016. As a native of San Antonio, he has an unhealthy obsession with the San Antonio Spurs, and he doesn’t care what you think about that! Despite this time-consuming fandom, he managed to attend college and earn a mathematics degree. After a stint as an algebra teacher and general instruction tutor, Kevin moved to New York to pursue his master’s degree, also in mathematics. His time in New York was such that he taught and tutored students from middle school all the way to young professionals studying for the GMAT. Kevin enjoys working with students from all walks of life and all mathematical abilities, because he finds their unique perspectives often teach him new ideas. When Kevin is not pondering the mathematical universe, he can be found hitting tennis balls, shooting basketballs, filling-in crossword puzzles, or beating the drums in his Rock and Roll band.

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

European History, Geography | 9th – 10th 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.

Julio de la Llata

Julio de la Llata

Spanish, AP Spanish Language, AP Spanish Literature | 9th – 12th 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 Paul Martinez, Jr.

Art, AP Studio

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, Speech

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

Physical Education, Health, Coach

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.”