Helen Roberts

Executive Director

Helen joined Kirby Hall in 1998 as part of the administrative staff. She developed a close working relationship with Head of School and Founder Beverly Rase, serving as her unfailing right hand for several years. Helen has worked diligently with faculty, parents, and students to advance the school and uphold the mission of Kirby Hall ever since. In 2014, when Mrs. Rase retired, it was only natural that the Board of Trustees appointed Helen as the new director.

Having originally discovered Kirby Hall in 1991 as a parent when her daughter entered kindergarten, Helen uniquely understands both the parent and student perspective. She gave generously of her time as a volunteer at the school prior to transitioning into her administrative role. Helen then joyfully graduated from the mother of two of her own to the adoptive mother of hundreds over her years here. 

Her two daughters Sasha and Emily, both graduates of Kirby Hall, went on to have very successful college careers at the University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University.

Helen was born and raised in New York City. Prior to entering the field of education, she had a 19-year career with the Internal Revenue Service in the Treasury Department, including serving as a Security Analyst and Assistant Chief of Publishing Services in the Boston District Office.

Emily Roberts

Director of Admissions

B.A., Sociology, Texas State University

Emily joined Kirby Hall School in 2018 as the Director of Admissions. Having been a student here at Kirby Hall from kindergarten through graduation in 2011, she is familiar with and passionate about what it means to be part of the Kirby Hall family. Emily graduated Summa Cum Laude from Texas State University with a degree in Sociology.  She is delighted to have returned to Kirby Hall as a member of the administration and to share her love of the school with prospective families. In her spare time, Emily enjoys traveling and spending time with her friends and family.

Paige Arnell

Dean of Curriculum

B.A., English, University of Dallas

M.A., English, Middlebury College


We are grateful to welcome Paige to the position of Dean of Curriculum after having been an English instructor here at Kirby Hall across many grade levels for several years.  Paige received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in English and has taught in private schools for more than a decade. As her own children entered school, she became obsessed with learning about pedagogy and all the different ways that how we teach impacts what students learn.  She is working towards becoming a certified reading specialist and is passionate about ensuring that both students and teachers are equipped with the resources they need to succeed. What she enjoys most about Kirby Hall is the loving and supportive atmosphere and that students are academically challenged within a community that honors and recognizes them as individuals. When not in the classroom, Paige can be found exploring the outdoors with her children (Althea, Ella, Wren and Whitman) or sneaking in a few quiet moments to herself reading and writing.

Jared Dailey

Lower and Middle School Mathematics, STEM and Athletics

B.A., Mathematics, The University of Texas at Austin

Teaching Certification: Mathematics and General Education

Jared has been at Kirby Hall School since 2006. He teaches Math and STEM and coordinates the MakerSpace program. Jared also serves as a passionate and enthusiastic coach for many of the school’s athletic teams. Prior to joining Kirby Hall, Jared spent two years as the Educational Coordinator, zookeeper, and night watchman at the Austin Zoo. Jared loves all things logical (sometimes even the illogical), sports, and nearly any activity that involves friends and the outdoors. He also loves spending as much time as possible with his family–daughter Greta, son Nolan, and wife Kristin.

Connor Hollis

Middle School Lead

B.A., French and Linguistics, Rutgers University

M., Ed., Foreign Languages and ESL Instruction, Rutgers University

Connor has worked as a French and ESL instructor in both middle and high schools, and comes to Kirby Hall from his most recent position in Pflugerville ISD. He received his B.A. in French and Linguistics from Rutgers University, as well as earning his M. Ed., in Foreign Languages and ESL Instruction, also from there. He enjoys spending time with his husband Carson, and their cat, Chickpea, and is a tea enthusiast who can frequently be found at West China Tea in North Austin. 

Sarah Jane Devins

School Counselor

B.A., Sociology, University of South Carolina

M. Ed., Counselor Education, The Citadel Graduate College

Sarah Jane is certified and licensed, as an associate, Counselor. She grew up just outside of Boston, MA with two sisters. Sarah Jane graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of South Carolina in 2016. She then achieved her Master’s in Counselor Education from The Citadel Graduate College (2018-2020) in Charleston, SC, where she lived until moving to Austin in 2021. Sarah Jane has worked as a School Counselor in AISD at an Elementary School and used her Counseling skills as a Coach while pursuing her licensure. She has also worked as a Psychotherapist and Psychometrist as well. She truly has a love for children and enjoys working with students and teaching them academic, personal, and social/emotional skills.

Claire LaChance

Financial Officer

B.S., Electrical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

M.S., Systems Engineering, University of Pennsylvania

Claire is originally from Massachusetts and joined Kirby Hall School in 2008. She earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute followed by an M.S. in Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Claire spent fifteen years working in engineering before relocating to Austin. After her distinguished career in engineering, she trained in accounting, where her analytical and precise mathematical skills have served her well.

Alyssa Drury

Chief Marketing and Communications Officer

B.A., French and International Relations, Lake Forest College

Alyssa shares with Kirby Hall School her nearly two decades of marketing experience from a variety of fields. She studied French and International Relations in Chicago and then spent several years working in public relations there prior to returning to her home state of Texas. She most recently served as an independent communications specialist before joining Kirby Hall.  Away from school, Alyssa enjoys multiple books clubs, traveling, spending time with her husband, and keeping up with their two busy daughters. 

Kylee Nitschke

Staff Assistant

Kylee joins Kirby Hall with enthusiasm for great service and organization! She has spent the last 11 years working in massage therapy and wellness. Kylee owned and operated the ONYX Wellness and Massage Therapy Center and prior to that she was the owner of the Mercantile Zero Waste Goods Company. Kylee also taught cheerleading and gymnastics to children and adults of all skill sets. In her time away from Kirby Hall, she loves spending time outside with her young son, Iroh, crafting and being involved in minimal-waste activism and lifestyle workshops.

Javier Medina

Facilities Manager

Javier has been with Kirby Hall School since 2012 and has become a beloved member of the Kirby Hall family. He was born and raised in Cancun, Mexico before moving to Austin over 20 years ago. Javier has two daughters, one son, and three grandsons. In his time off, he enjoys spending time with loved ones, cooking his specialty chile rellenos, and playing futbol with friends and family.


Emma Chesonis

Second Grade

B.A., Early Childhood Education and Special Ed., University of Delaware

Teaching Certification: Early Childhood Education

Emma joined Kirby Hall after having moved here from Rochester, NY. She is thrilled to be teaching her second year of second grade with us! In her spare time outside of school, Emma can be found hanging out with her family, checking out the amazing hiking trails around Austin, painting or cooking.  

Kitric Dixon

Lower & Middle School: Physical Education and Athletics

B.S., Kinesiology, California State University San Marcos

M.S., Education, California Baptist University

Teaching Certification: Physical Education

Coach Dixon is a lifelong enthusiast of athletics, having excelled in many sports himself, and served as a high school football strength and conditioning coach as well as a youth boxing instructor in Southern California.  Prior to his career in education, Coach Dixon was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps serving in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He was also stationed in Japan where his leadership role entailed ensuring that his platoon met designated Weight and Physical Conditioning standards. While in Japan, he enjoyed volunteering as the basketball coach for a local middle school near his post.

In his free time, Coach Dixon loves spending time outdoors with his family, cheering on his own three children in their sports activities, learning about other cultures and languages, and trying new foods. He loves doing his part to help develop healthy and mentally and physically strong students here at Kirby Hall.

Taney Doll


B.S., Education, University of Alabama

Teaching Certification: Elementary Education & Early Childhood Education 

Taney recently joined Kirby Hall School as a kindergarten teacher. With two years of internship experience teaching Pre-K, Kindergarten, Second Grade, Fourth Grade, and Sixth Grade in Tuscaloosa County, she has developed a deep understanding of the needs of students across multiple grade levels and ages. When Taney is not in the classroom, she enjoys being in the outdoors. Whether it is snowboarding, hiking, or paddle boarding, she loves to stay active and experience the beauty of nature. Taney also values time with loved ones and can often be found spending time with friends and family. With a passion for education and a love for adventure, Taney is ready to take on the world and make a difference in the lives of those around her.

Sydney Loyd


B.S., Applied Learning and Development, The University of Texas at Austin

Teaching Certification: Early Childhood – Sixth Grade

Sydney is a true local and was born and raised in Austin. Following her graduation from The University of Texas at Austin, she jumped right into the classroom teaching first grade. She has been teaching Pre-K for the past several years in South Austin before joining us at Kirby Hall. Sydney has a passion for supporting young learners and instilling a strong foundational love for learning. In her free time, she enjoys cooking new vegan food, hanging out with her puppy named Franklin, and spending time outdoors.  

Elizabeth McGinnis

Pre-K4 through Third Grade: Spanish

B.A., Spanish, Scripps College

M.A., Spanish Linguistics,  New Mexico State University

Prior to joining Kirby Hall, Elizabeth taught bilingual Pre-K and Kindergarten in AISD as well as Spanish classes for Eanes ISD and Parkside Montessori. Additionally, Elizabeth spent nearly three years teaching English online to children in China and has experience as a Lindamood-Bell reading instructor. When not teaching, she enjoys yoga, hiking and visiting the beach.


Annie McKissick

Lower through Middle School: Art

B.F.A., Art History & Studio Art,  University of Nevada, Reno

Annie joined us at Kirby Hall having moved here from Seattle, where she taught art in a variety of settings.  She has a Master of Arts in Teaching, and has served as an art instructor for after school enrichment programs, led art therapy workshops at assisted living facilities, and taught art at a school with specialized instruction for students with dyslexia. Annie is also an accomplished artist in her own right, regularly selling works at local art shows and furthering her education by taking art classes herself any chance that she gets.  She and her husband enjoy hanging out with their feline fur babies and exploring Austin’s live music scene and vibrant artist community. 

Lynn Mikeska

Lower through Middle School: Drama & Music

B.A., Theatre & Dance, The University of Texas as Austin

M.F.A., Acting, University of Georgia

Much like theatre, Lynn considers teaching to be a collaborative art, learning from her students as much as they learn from her. She comes to us with extensive experience in teaching with prior roles at the Child Development Center at Congregation Beth Israel in Austin, Boston Children’s Theatre, and the University of Georgia.  Most recently, Lynn served as the resident Teaching Artist at the Lake Dillon Theatre in Silverthorne, Colorado. 

Her work with children and young adults in the classroom focuses on creating curious, critical thinkers who recognize the beauty and power of creative self-expression.  Lynn is also a dedicated artist and performer herself with more than 20 years of experience as an actor, writer, musician and puppeteer.

Martha Peters

Fourth Grade through Middle School: Spanish

B.A., Spanish, University of Missouri, Kansas City

M.A., Romance Languages and Spanish Literature, University of Missouri, Kansas City

Martha is a native Spanish speaker, originally from Mexico, with over twenty years of language instruction. She joined Kirby Hall from Headwaters School (formerly The Khabele School) where she was an Instructor and Director of the Foreign Languages Department.  In addition to teaching introductory levels through Spanish V, she taught Spanish B, Standard Level and Higher Level, of the International Baccalaureate program. Señora Peters’ experience in language instruction encompasses a diversity of ages and settings, which also includes teaching adults in continuing education programs offered by community colleges, as well as private instruction to business executives. Moreover, her experience is not limited to classroom instruction but includes several examples of curriculum development for Spanish programs newly- begun or requiring complete overhauls. Señora Peters and her husband have a daughter, son, and two grand cats.  She is passionate about teaching Spanish and Hispanic cultures through engaging activities such as storytelling, cooking, art, music, literature, and dance!

Lauren Piccone

Fifth Grade through Middle School: English & Language Arts

B.A., English & M.A., Secondary English Education, Temple University 

Lauren recently moved to Austin from Philadelphia after completing  both her undergraduate and graduate programs at Temple University. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and a Master’s degree in Secondary English Education. She spent the last three years teaching middle school English outside of Philadelphia. In her free time, Lauren enjoys running, reading, and going to shows around town. She also adores curating book lists for people.

Cindy Pryor

Fifth Grade through Middle School: History

B.A., English, University of Texas at Dallas 

M.S.I.S., Political Science, English & History, University of Texas at Tyler 

Cindy holds a B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Dallas, and an M.S.I.S. in Political Science, English and History from the University of Texas at Tyler. In addition, she has TEA certifications in English, ESL, and Social Studies, and has served previously in both Principal and Superintendent roles.

Cindy is a northeast Texas native who has served in private and public colleges and schools for many years, teaching and learning with students from around the world. At Lon Morris College in Jacksonville, Texas, she co-designed and taught in an ESL program for college students from Taiwan, and she has taught government and English in college and social studies, English, theater arts, and ESOL in public schools.

Along with a fascinating career in education, she enjoys her children and grandchildren—and a loving but temperamental cadre of pets. Her most recent pursuit has been to become a Master Naturalist, an endeavor that she urges everyone to explore. For Cindy, every day is an adventure, and she strives to share that sense of excitement and awe with her students.

India Rohmann


B.S., Applied Learning and Development, The University of Texas at Austin

Teaching Certifications: Early Childhood – Sixth Grade, ESL Supplemental

India has been teaching Kindergarten at Kirby Hall for several years. She earned her degree in Applied Learning and Development from The University of Texas at Austin. She has also taught students at the Pre-K and Second grade levels as well as holds an ESL supplemental certification. In her free time, India loves reading and swing dancing!

Claudia Ronchetti

Third Grade

B.S., Elementary Education, University of Michigan

Teaching Certification: Early Childhood – Sixth Grade & Third – Fifth Grade Reading

Claudia is originally from Rochester, NY, and comes to Austin from teaching in North Carolina for the past several years. She holds a degree in elementary education as well as being a certified reading specialist for third through fifth graders. Claudia loves being a part of the Kirby Hall family and getting to know her students. In her spare time, Claudia enjoys working out, cooking, and, of course, reading!

Julia Salo

Third Grade

B.S., Elementary Education & Dual Endorsement in Education for Cultural and Linguistic Diversity, University of Vermont

Teaching Certification: Early Childhood – Sixth Grade 

Julia is originally from Finland but has moved around and traveled throughout the world her entire life. She has now lived in Austin for two years and is loving it. As a teacher, she believes that students need to feel safe, welcomed, supported, and validated in order for learning to occur. She always aims to get to know her students as people inside and outside of school to better identify their strengths and needs and loves building relationships with her Kirby Hall families.  Julia believes  that every student has the ability to succeed, even if the  journey may look different for each individual. She  strives to help students find their passions and develop them into lifelong learners who are respectful, responsible, and safe future citizens. Some passions of hers include reading, swimming, and traveling.

Paul Schumann

Lower School: STEM & Fifth Grade through Middle School: Science

B.S., Geology, The University of Texas at Austin

M.S., Geology, The University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Teaching Certification: Science

Paul was born and raised in the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York. He studied Geology at both the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, later earning his teaching certificate from LeTourneau University. Paul worked for 15 years in the Environmental Consulting field for several firms across the country before discovering that he loved to teach. Prior to joining Kirby Hall School, Paul was a science teacher at Connally High School in Pflugerville ISD for 12 years. During his time there, he taught a variety of courses including Chemistry, PreAP Chemistry, IPC and Astronomy. Paul and his wife of 30 years have three children. He enjoys all kinds of music and regularly attends the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Paul also writes online reviews for a popular website on high-end audio equipment.

Divya Sharma

Fourth Grade

B.A. & M.S., Education, Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar University (Agra, India)

MBA & B.Com. (Bachelor of Commerce), Dayalbagh Educational Institute at Deemed University (Agra, India)

We are delighted to welcome Divya as a faculty member to Kirby Hall having relocated here from a distinguished teaching career in India. She has more than a decade of experience in instruction across many grade levels and subjects such as English, Science, Social Studies and Math. She has also served in the administrative roles of Managing Director and Vice Principal. Additionally, Divya has trained students in Speech and Debate and prepared them for extracurricular competitions. In her spare time, Divya enjoys music, dancing, sports, and cooking, and she is looking forward to getting to know Austin better with her husband and 12-year old daughter. 

Hillary Thompson


B.A., Nutrition, Health & Society, Louisiana State University

Hillary joins us at Kirby Hall having completed her Bachelor’s degree at Louisiana State University. She is currently in the process of obtaining both her Masters of Library and Information Science and her certification in the Texas Teachers of Tomorrow Program (ELAR 4-8). She loves working with children and has a passion for books and looks forward to sharing her enthusiasm for reading with all of our Kirby Hall students! Hillary is new to Austin and enjoys exploring all that the city has to offer in her spare time.

Erika Watson

Fourth Grade

B.A., Elementary Education, The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss)

We are thrilled to have Erika with us in her second year at Kirby Hall sharing her strong background in education and joy of working with children. She graduated from Ole Miss with a degree in Elementary Education along with a minor in Mathematics. She has previously taught Kindergarten as well as 2nd and 4th grades. Erika relocated to Austin from Oxford (in the United Kingdom) for her husband’s work at The University of Texas. While in the UK, Erika was an instructor for 5th grade at a primary school there. In her spare time, she can be found exploring the city’s parks and playgrounds with her two young daughters, Cora and Rhea. 

Christie Webb

First Grade

B.S., Elementary Education, Angelo State University

Teaching Certification: General Education, First – Eighth Grades

Originally from San Angelo, Christie moved to Austin in 2019 to be closer to family.  She has been teaching for more than 30 years in both public and private school settings. She has taught grades Pre-K through fifth, as well as spent several years as a reading specialist.  Christie is thrilled to be teaching at Kirby Hall School.  She loves engaging and motivating children to experience the joy of learning.  Christie believes an atmosphere built on respect, discipline, and love of learning is the basis of a successful classroom. In her spare time, Christie enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, reading, and exploring Austin and the Hill Country.

Plan A Visit

We would love to get to know you better and discuss the future of your child. Come visit Kirby Hall and see what makes our environment special for yourself!