Staff

Learn more about the dedicated, caring, and talented group of teachers and administrators that help to make St. Mark's so special! Our faculty are committed to the highest possible standards in early childhood education.

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Karon Miller Hammond, Head of School

Ms. Karon is a graduate of Baylor University, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Child Development and Family Studies. Karon's career in early education spans almost 35 years, in that time she has worked in a variety of environments including full day child care, university lab schools and Early Intervention. Her leadership roles have included being a director in both full day child care programs and faith based pre-school programs. Most recently she worked for Goddard Systems, Inc., the franchisor of The Goddard School, where she was an Education Support Specialist supporting both franchisees and directors. Karon is pleased to be at St. Mark's and looks forward to what the future holds for the Day School, it's families, and students.

Phone: (512) 444-9401

headofschool@stmarksdayschoolaustin.org

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Pascale Petry, Office Manager

Ms. Pascale loves working in the Day School Office. She is supporting Ms. Karon with the day-to-day operations of the school, keeping things running smoothly, and enjoys being able to see the children every day. She is a true born and raised Austinite. Ms. Pascale studied Social Work from ACC and Texas State University and has been working with children throughout her entire education and forward. In her free time she loves hiking with her dogs and gardening.

Phone: (512) 444-9401

schooloffice@stmarksdayschoolaustin.org

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Kelly Vande Streek, Finance Manager

Kelly joined St. Mark's as the finance manager shortly after her 2 daughters started at the school. After taking some time off from the finance world she was ready to get back to the numbers and help maintain the financial soundness of the school. Kelly has a family history with St. Mark's as her husband Jonathan attended the school as a child and her Mother-in-Law was a teacher for many years.

finance@stmarksdayschoolaustin.org

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Brooke Paul, Floater

Ms. Brooke graduated from Baylor University in 2020 and received her BA in History. She spent many summers teaching swimming lessons and working at summer camps, so she is excited to have another role in which she gets to spend time with children. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, trying out new restaurants, or taking her dog on sunset walks. Ms. Brooke is thrilled to get to be a part of St. Mark’s Episcopal Day School.

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The Ladybugs Class- 2's Lead Teacher: Mayra Alvarez

Ms. Mayra has taught at St. Mark's for many years as a Lead Teacher for one of our 2's classes. She completed her Child Development Associate certification in 2013. Ms. Mayra also teaches after school enrichment classes and provides childcare for St. Mark's Church.

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The Ladybugs Class- 2's Assistant Teacher: Joni Rosetta

Ms. Joni has been working with children for over 20 years. She most enjoys sharing her knowledge, fun, caring, and development appropriate teachings with the children.

When she is not teaching she loves listening to music and spending time with her beautiful family.

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The Bears Class- 2's Lead Teacher: Aileen Cox

Ms. Aileen has a degree in early childhood development from Texas Tech University. She has a son in Kindergarten and another son in 1st grade. She loves working with the amazing children utilizing her endless energy, spirit and organizational skills.

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The Bears Class- 2's Assistant Teacher: Jessica Crawford

Ms. Jessica was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and has lived in Austin for over 7 years. She first became a part of the St. Mark's family as a parent, and then subsequently became a substitute teacher and is now so excited to be at St. Mark's as an assistant teacher.

She has an MFA in graphic design from Auburn University and has a special interest in fostering creativity through play and art. She is also a certified children’s yoga instructor.

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The Butterflies Class- 3's Lead Teacher-Veronica Wade

Ms. Veronica has been a part of the St. Mark’s community for 14 years. Her passion includes helping children reach developmental milestones, encouraging children to interact with others to develop social skills, and helping children be creative in a play-based environment. She received her CDA in 2013.

Ms. Veronica previously worked in the airline industry for customer service and human resources. She has lived in Austin for over 30 years with her husband and two sons.

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The Butterflies Class- 3's Assistant Teacher-Amy Albright

Ms. Amy is an alumni of St. Mark's and continues to love the school. Her youngest of 3 sons last attended about 14 years ago. She enjoys the wonder and excitement that comes with being around the children and feels fortunate to be a part of the St. Mark's family.

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The Starfish Class- 3's Lead Teacher: Victoria Houtman

Ms. Victoria is a native of the UK. She has 2 elementary school age children and has lived in Austin, TX since 2015. Before moving to the US in 2002, she worked for a large corporate headquarters in London.

Once she had her children, she needed a career change, and began substitute teaching at her children’s preschool in Atlanta, Georgia. She realized her passion and became Lead Teacher in the 2’s class. Whilst teaching she obtained her CDA Certification in Early Childcare. Focusing on arts, fostering creativity and helping students learn through exploration and play is her teaching philosophy. Learning together with respect and a loving environment, is what she loves and enjoys most about the St Mark's Community.

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The Starfish Class- 3's Assistant Teacher: Lucia Islas

Ms. Lucia has been a part of the St. Mark’s community since 2021 when she came on board as a substitute teacher. Her previous experience as an interpreter and translator for school-based mental health clinics cemented in her the belief that all children deserve to be celebrated and loved in a safe, caring, and encouraging environment.

She grew up in a big family in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. She has been living in Austin since 2010 and gets to share life with her husband, their two daughters, Cloud the cat, Rosie the pug, and Lisa the fish. She loves music, theatre, pickleball, spending time outdoors, and laughing with family and friends

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The Owls Class- Pre-K Lead Teacher: Valerie Hartle

Ms. Valerie is the lead teacher for one of our pre-k classes. She has a BA in Studio Art from The University of Texas. Originally from San Antonio, she has lived in Austin since 1989. Ms. Valerie loves the curiosity, creativity, and love of learning of her students. She believes that all children deserve patience and respect.

Some of Ms. Valerie’s favorite things other than the students at St. Mark's are spending time with her family (husband and three grown children), hunting for vintage things she collects like lunchboxes or Halloween decorations, and watching live music.

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The Owls Class- Pre-K Assistant Teacher: Laura Richard

Ms. Laura studied Communication Sciences and Disorders at Baylor University. Though a native Houstonian, Ms. Laura considers Austin home. Ms. Laura feels accomplished when she sees children overcome difficult tasks with confidence.

Some of Ms. Laura's favorite things are to travel, go to the movies at Alamo Drafthouse, volunteer at church, and spend time with friends and family.

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The Foxes Class- Pre-K Lead Teacher: Melissa Browning

Ms. Melissa has lived in Barton Hills for many years. She first became part of the St. Mark's family as a parent and subsequently became a substitute teacher and is currently a lead teacher for one of our Pre-K classes.

Ms. Melissa enjoyed a career in Human Resources after graduating from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She has been actively involved with children volunteering with Help One Student to Succeed (HOSTS), teaching Sunday school, and volunteering at BHE.

She has a special interest in helping children with pre-reading and writing skills, encouraging creativity and fostering independence and social emotional growth.

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The Foxes Class- Pre-K Assistant Teacher: Beth Hodgson

Ms. Beth a Canadian moved to Austin with her family from the UK in 2015. Her son just finished his 5th grade year at the local elementary school. She is a huge fan of the great outdoors and loves to travel and cook with her family.

She is super thrilled to be part of the St. Mark's community and working with all the wonderful children. She most enjoys helping the students explore their creative and curious side. She loves to see them all learning together as a group in a respectful and nurturing environment.

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The Alpacas Class- Pre-K Lead Teacher: Teresa Gorchs

Ms. Teresa has been teaching at St. Mark's for 14 years. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History, with a minor in Education, holds a Texas teaching certificate, and has a Masters in Early Childhood Education.

Ms. Teresa is the Lead Teacher of a Pre-K class and believes strongly in play-based education and in helping children develop socially and emotionally.

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The Alpacas Class- Pre-K Assistant Teacher: Kiki Grimes

Ms. Kiki recently joined St. Mark's in the summer of 2022. Her love for the school came from her family working there for years and both her siblings attending the school.

Ms. Kiki strongly believes in creating a safe and nourishing environment where children can grow not only through knowledge but emotionally also. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, journaling, and spending time with her family and friends.

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Sybi Ward, Music Instructor

Ms. Sybi teaches music classes each day. Sybi was brought up in a musical family. Her father was the Minister of Music at a Baptist church in Houston, where Sybi began singing in choirs at the age of 3. Sybi continued making music in choirs, band, and orchestra through college. In addition to singing and playing the piano, Sybi is a harpist; and has played for civic groups, churches, and weddings. She currently directs a preschool choir at First Baptist Church, sings in the Sanctuary Choir, and plays in the handbell choir.