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.”

Jesse Bohnert


BS Elementary Education – Indiana University

Prior to moving to Austin, Jesse was a first grade teacher at Park Tudor School in Indianapolis, IN. With ten years of teaching experience, she is also a certified Lindamood-Bell and Orton-Gillingham tutor. Her goal in the classroom is to provide a positive learning environment that fosters students’ social and academic advancement while promoting a growth mindset. Jesse enjoys crafting, reading, and exploring the city with her husband and their two children.

Paige Arnell

Language Arts | 4th, 5th, 7th grade, Literature | 4th & 5th grade

B.A., University of Dallas

M.A., 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 — who are now all students at Kirby Hall as well. Paige received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English and has been teaching for nearly 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. 

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.

Claudia Pareja

Spanish | Primer – 2nd Grade

Bachelor of Business Administration – University of Lima, Lima Peru

Ms. Pareja joined Kirby Hall in the 2018-2019 school year. She has taught Spanish to children ages 2 to 7 for three years and this is her second year teaching Spanish at a private high school in Austin. Before that she enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom with her daughter, Gabriela, who recently started middle school.Claudia is devoted to teaching Spanish by developing meaningful interactions and language acquitition through play.

Originally from Peru, Claudia moved to Austin 14 years ago with her husband, Alvara. She enjoys spending time with her family, listening to her daughter play the piano and the clarinet, making crafts, enjoying theater plays and visiting her family and friends in Peru every year.

Claudia values the closeness from the Administrative staff to the students and the supportive environment towards the students and the faculty.

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

In 2016, David began his second tenure at Kirby Hall having previously taught third and fourth grades from 2008 to 2010. During his hiatus, David returned to the Middle East and Southeast Asia where he taught at both the elementary and middle school level, and managed and mentored 30 Malaysian English teachers in 15 primary schools. During his final year in Malaysia, David presented seminars to over 100 English language teachers, informing them in student-centered teaching approaches, with an emphasis on positive ways to engage students of all aptitudes and learning differences.

With almost 10 years of experience living and working overseas, David brings an awareness and sensitivity to non-Western cultures, traditions, and religions of the world, especially those of the Buddhist and Muslim faiths. Graduating from Kirby Hall in 1986, David understands the rigors of the academic standards from the perspective of both a student and a teacher. “Empathetic and understanding of the needs of my students, I guide and instruct them to become successful in all academic areas,” said David. “I take a vested interest in each and every one of my students as if they were my own children, wanting them to do their best work and live up to their full potential.”

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.”

Gloria King

2nd grade

BS in Interdisciplinary Studies – Texas A&M University

TX Teaching Certification Grades 1-8; ESL Certified

This is Gloria’s second year of teaching at Kirby Hall. This will be her eighth year of teaching elementary school. She has taught grades 2-5 in both public and private schools. She spent many years as a stay-at-home mom with her two children who are now in high school. During several of those years, she stayed active in education through substitute teaching in grades PK-8 and volunteering in the classroom.

Gloria strives to provide a rich, challenging, and well-rounded education to all of her students. She works hard to inspire, motivate, and engage her students every day. Gloria loves being part of the Kirby Hall faculty and community! In addition to education, Gloria is passionate about reading, traveling, volunteering, and spending time with her family.

Jared Dailey

Jared Dailey

Math | 4th grade, Science | 4th grade, Technology | 4th – High School

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.”

Joe Rumrich

Joe Rumrich

History | 4th – 8th grade

BS Restaurant Management – Purdue University

Teaching Certificate – The University of Texas

Joe joined Kirby Hall School in 1994, bringing a passion for many topics and eras in history. He moved to Austin in 1988 and received his teaching certificate for Grades 1-8, All Subjects, with a Specialty in History after managing in the hospitality industry.

When not doing school work, Joe enjoys watching his two nephews athletic endeavors during the school year. He spends his free time reading, cooking, exercising, and watching the NY Yankees. Joe likes to spend his summer kayaking, biking, and walking near his family home, 300 yards from the Niagara River.

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.

Joseph Parsons

Joseph Parsons

Physical Education | Primer – High School

BA Criminal Justice – Texas State University

Teaching Certificate in EC – 12th grade Physical Education

Born and raised in the suburbs of Austin, Joseph graduated from Leander High School in 2003. During his time there he played football, basketball, track and weightlifting and was awarded with being the number one running back in the state of Texas. He also played football at West Texas A&M and Abilene Christian University. He went on to finish his BA in Criminal Justice at Texas State University in San Marcos.

Joseph has been teaching for 10 years in Physical Education, Athletics, Health, Strength & Conditioning, Leadership, College Prep, AVID, and MAPS courses. He has taught at Four Points Middle School, Cedar Park Middle school, and NYOS Charter School. In 2012, he helped Cedar Park High School win a State Championship in football!

Joseph is married to Jenna and they have 3 dogs, a cat, and a miniature potbelly pig. He also has an identical twin brother! During his free time, he plays all types of sports/activities and hangs out with friends and family.

Martha Peters

Spanish, AP Spanish | 3rd grade – Upper School

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

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

Martha Peters is a native Spanish speaker, originally from Mexico, with over twenty years of language instruction. She comes to Kirby Hall School from Headwaters School (formerly The Khabele School) where she was an Instructor and Director of the Foreign Languages Department.  During her tenure at Headwaters School, she taught Spanish to students of Kindergarten-High School.  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, Ms. Peters’ 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, Michael Webber, are celebrating thirty-one years of union this summer!  They have a daughter, son and two grand cats.  She is excited to join the KHS community, and share the rich cultures of Latin America and Spain through cooking, art, music, literature, and dance!

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.

Michelle Escuder

Michelle Escuder

Drama & Music | Primer – High School

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.

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.”

Terry Parks

Terry Parks

1st grade

BA in Psychology – The University of Texas at Austin

Teaching Certification EC-6th Grade

Terry began teaching in 1994 and joined the Kirby Hall faculty in 2004 as a first grade teacher. She has taught pre-kindergarten at Hyde Park Baptist and St. Francis Schools here in Austin, and has also taught second grade at St. John’s Episcopal School in Abilene, Texas. While attending college at The University of Texas at Austin, Terry worked as a teaching assistant. During that time she developed a true love of working in the classroom and has been doing so ever since.

As an educator, she feels it is important to learn and implement new ideas and methods in her classroom in order to teach to all styles of learners. Terry believes that teaching to the whole child is of utmost importance, while maintaining the high academic standards of Kirby Hall School. She enjoys enriching her education through books and workshops, particularly in the areas of social and emotional development. One of her main goals each year is to guide her students in being supportive of one another and appreciative of the gifts that each individual brings to the group.

When she is not at Kirby Hall School, Terry can be found reading a book, trying out a new recipe, or exercising. She also enjoys the theater, museums, and interesting food and restaurants. Terry especially enjoys spending time with her two lovely daughters, Avery and Eliza, who both attend Kirby Hall School.

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.

vincent martinez

Vincent Paul Martinez, Jr.

Art | Primer – 8th grade

BFA in Studio Arts – Painting – Texas State University

Vincent Martinez is a local artist, art teacher, and central Texas native. After graduating from Texas State in San Marcos with a B.F.A. in studio art, he decided to move to Austin in hopes to continue collaborating with the vibrant creative community. While working as an Americorps mentor and tutor with Communities in Schools in 2010 at Martin Middle School in east Austin, he developed a new passion for sharing the creative process with youths and fellow community leaders. He would continue this new found passion by building art curriculum for the Austin Parks and Recreational 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 enjoys teaching at Kirby Hall and sharing the magic, rich history, varied mediums, and foundations of Art with the students of Kirby Hall.

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.

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!