Paige Arnell

Dean of Middle & Upper Schools

Fifth, Middle & Upper School English

B.A., English, University of Dallas

M.A., English, Middlebury College

We are grateful to have welcomed Paige back to Kirby Hall School for her second tenure teaching. She taught Upper School English here several years ago prior to staying at home with her four young children — Althea, Ella, Wren, and Whitman. Paige received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in English and has been teaching for more than ten years. 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 or sneaking in a few quiet moments to herself reading and writing.

Courtney Brown

Fourth Grade through Upper School, History

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

Courtney is a longtime Kirby Hall parent who shares her love of history with our 4th grade classes and up. She is a native Austinite and graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Applied Learning & Development and minors in both History and Psychology. Courtney has previously taught at both the middle and high school levels. She loves to show her students how all history, no matter the place or time period, is interconnected. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling with her family and visiting the beach.

Emma Chesonis

Second Grade Homeroom

B.A., Early Childhood Education and Special Education,

University of Delaware

Teaching Certification: Early Childhood Education

Emma joined Kirby Hall after having moved here from Rochester, NY. She is thrilled to now 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 and Upper 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.

Joseph Houston

Fourth Grade, Middle and Upper School, Mathematics

B.S., Secondary Mathematics Education, Stephen F. Austin University

Teaching Certification: Eighth Grade through High School Mathematics

Joseph attended Stephen F. Austin where he studied mathematics education. While in college he acted as his dormitory president, was active in the Judo club, and participated in several community service organizations. Following graduation, Joseph began tutoring in math before a five-year career teaching at Lufkin High School where he taught a range of courses from Algebra 1 to Pre-Calculus. He then served as a teacher for Algebra 2 classes at Diboll High School. Most recently before joining Kirby Hall, Joseph traveled the country working as a wind turbine technician where his problem-solving skills were put to good use troubleshooting issues for and repairing windmills.  Joseph enjoys being a part of the Kirby Hall community and sharing his love of math (and problem-solving) with his students.

Gloria King

Second Grade & Lower School Team Leader

B.S., Interdisciplinary Studies, Texas A&M University

Texas Teacher Certifications:

Elementary Self-Contained (Grades 1-8);

Elementary Mathematics (Grades 1-6);

Elementary Reading (Grades 1-6);

Social Studies Composite (Grades 1-8)

Gloria joined Kirby Hall in 2018. This is her eleventh year as a classroom teacher. She works diligently to inspire, motivate, and engage her students each and every day. When Gloria is not teaching, she usually spends time with her two children, Alexander and Elizabeth, and is also passionate about reading and traveling.

David LaLonde

Third Grade Homeroom

B.A., Art History and Architecture, Savannah College of Art and Design

M. Arch., Architecture, Savannah College of Art and Design


David shares with his students an especially unique perspective because he was once a student at Kirby Hall School himself, graduating from here in 1986. He went on to study both art history and architecture in Savannah before his love of travel inspired him to teach in Asia and the Middle East for several years. David taught at both the elementary and middle school levels and also mentored fellow instructors who were just starting their own teaching careers.  Additionally, he has presented many seminars overseas on positive ways to engage students of all aptitudes and learning differences. With his extensive knowledge of living and working internationally, David instills in his students a deep awareness and sensitivity to other cultures while opening their eyes to many other colorful global traditions and cultures. Following his time abroad, David is thrilled to be back home in Austin and at Kirby Hall. Outside of school, he is an active member of his church community, loves working on his home renovation projects, and can be found spending time with his beloved dog Milo.

Sydney Loyd

Primer (Pre-K4) Homeroom

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

Teaching Certification: Early Childhood through 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

Primer through Third Grade, Spanish

B.A., Spanish, Scripps College

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. In her spare time, Elizabeth is working towards her Master’s Degree in Spanish Linguistics from New Mexico State University. When not teaching or studying, she enjoys yoga, hiking and visiting the beach.


Annie McKissick

Lower, Middle and Upper School, Art

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

Annie joins us at Kirby Hall having recently 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, Middle & Upper 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 Upper School:

Spanish and AP 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 excited to join the Kirby Hall community, and share the rich cultures of Latin America and Spain through cooking, art, music, literature, and dance!

India Rohmann

Kindergarten Homeroom

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

Teaching Certifications:

Early Childhood through 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 Homeroom

B.S., Elementary Education, University of Michigan

Teaching Certification:

Early Childhood through Sixth Grade & Third through 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 is very excited to be a part of the Kirby Hall family and get to know her new students. In her spare time, Claudia enjoys working out, cooking, and, of course, reading!

Julia Salo

First Grade Homeroom

B.S., Elementary Education & Dual Endorsement in

Education for Cultural and Linguistic Diversity, University of Vermont

Teaching Certification: Early Childhood through 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 is looking forward to 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.

Zelda Stewart

Fourth & Fifth Grade, English

B.A., Creative Writing, University of Massachusetts, Amherst



Texas-born and Massachusetts-raised, Zelda is excited to get back to her roots here in Austin.

She comes to us with a degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has worked as a middle school teaching fellow as well as a K-2nd grade reading interventionist. She is also currently earning her master’s degree in English.

Zelda is a lifelong lover of reading and writing, and so she is thrilled by the opportunity to impart this passion onto her 4th and 5th grade students! She is excited to teach in a warm, tight-knit environment in which every student receives the individual attention they deserve.

In her spare time, Zelda enjoys long walks (not on the beach), swimming, working on her latest writing project, and spending time with her and her fiance’s many pets: Scout the dog and cats Reina, Otto, and Oliver.

Paul Schumann

Fourth through Upper School, Science & AP Sciences

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.

Christie Webb

First Grade Homeroom

B.S., Elementary Education, Angelo State University

Teaching Certification: General Education, First through 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!