Board of Directors

The AHB Board of Directors governs the school in alignment with its mission and within the constraints of its bylaws. The Board articulates goals for the organization, develops a strategic plan, authorizes capital expenditures and budgets, arbitrates conflicts, and oversees the Head of School and the Executive Director. The Board is composed mostly of AHB parents as well as faculty representatives and advisory members.

Scroll down to read about the current members of the Board, or click here for more details regarding the Board’s structure.

To contact the Board, please email board@ahbcs.org.

Parents

Jaclyn RayJaclyn Ray (Place 1)

Jaclyn is mom to a rising Beta, an incoming Alpha and a spicy 2-year old. She loves how AHB’s family centered approach allows her family to learn together in a supported environment. Before becoming a full-time mom, Jaclyn worked as the volunteer coordinator for USO-Dubai and as an asset protection and planning paralegal.

Jaclyn graduated from Rice University with a BA in English and earned a Master’s Certification from Texas A&M in International Affairs with emphasis on Military Strategy. She is also a children’s yoga teacher and enjoys teaching at her younger children’s preschool.

In her spare time, you’ll find her sneaking in a run, practicing the banjo, or learning new jump rope tricks.


Melania BerryMelania Berry (Place 3)

Melania is a New Mexico native who picked up and moved to Austin a few months before her daughter, Gianna, was to start kindergarten. After the first school tour, she knew AHB was right for them. The school offered a gentler, creative approach to learning and an opportunity to become part of a community of like minded families. Gianna is now in her third year at AHB.

Melania has a Bachelors in Business Administration from the University of New Mexico and is currently building her wardrobe styling business. She is a volunteer Zero Waste Block Leader for the City of Austin and lives by the motto reduce/reuse/recycle. She is excited to bring her creative problem solving skills to the board and be of service to the AHB Community.


Alexa CorbettAlexa Corbett (Place 4)

Alexa discovered AHB five years ago when her oldest son, Liam, was starting Kindergarten. The Corbetts now have three kids at AHB and two more being homeschooled in preschool.

Alexa has a master’s degree in Education with an emphasis on teaching in urban areas. She spent five years teaching in Baltimore City, where she specialized in reading instruction. Teaching in the public school system inspired her to seek alternative methods of education for her children. Alexa feels like AHB, with its focus on community, creativity and project-based instruction, is the perfect fit for her family’s needs.

When she isn’t at home teaching and playing with her five kids, Alexa and her husband, Billy, enjoy renovating old homes. They are currently working on their fourth project, a 1909 foursquare.


Ashley Gibson (Place 5)

AHB is the school Ashley and her husband, Haidar, wish they’d had as children.  They appreciate that members of the school community come from diverse backgrounds and life experience yet everyone shares a common goal of providing a supportive and challenging learning environment. And they truly love that the teachers, staff and leadership continually see children in light of their strengths and to do the hard work every day of building up their young lives with passion and compassion.  During his tenure, their son, Will (Gamma), has delved into Ancient Egypt by heating rocks to simulate ancient mining techniques, explored the American West by building the Golden Gate Bridge out of smoothie straws, Wiki Stix and spray foam, and contemplated the future through countless hours of treasured read alouds from his teachers. Where else but AHB?

A lifelong reader with a BA in English and Spanish and an MFA in Creative Writing, Ashley is the person who took to heart the career counselor’s brochure “101 Things to Do with a Liberal Arts Degree.”  She has done everything from college admissions to web design in the early days of the Internet to a stint at Texas Monthly.  She founded and ran a country inn with her mother and sister and they currently operate a small design/build and property management business.  At any given time her purse will most likely contain a tape measure, a Lego gear or sword, and a handful of Will’s special seed pods or rocks (not to mention a desiccated, foil-wrapped Curra’s corn tortilla she can never remember to put in the refrigerator).


Cara HoushmandCara Houshmand (Place 6)

Cara is the mom of two daughters, the eldest an Alpha and younger who is 2, but already thinks AHB is her school–and she isn’t wrong. She is a native Texan who traveled/lived around the world and found her way back home. Her husband came across AHB while they were researching schools and trying to find a place that would nurture the creative spirit, encourage a real love of learning, while also being academically rigorous. They found all of that and a real sense of community at AHB.

Cara holds a BA in International Studies and French from Texas A&M and a Master’s in Public Administration with an emphasis in Nonprofit Management from the University of Nebraska. She has founded and served on several boards of non profits, and really enjoys helping organizations grow. In a former life she was a recruiter who liked to help people too much, so she became a career coach.


Anne RowesAnne Rowes (Place 7)

Anne is a native Texan who grew up on a ranch that’s been in her family for over 100 years. She’s happy to be home after traveling and living around the world. She has an undergraduate degree from Texas Woman’s University in Government and Dance and a masters degree from UMass Boston in Dispute Resolution.

Anne is excited to partner with AHB in her children’s education where kindness is celebrated and the family/school balance is taken seriously. Anne and her husband Jeff have two sons, one is an Alpha and one is a Beta. In her free time Anne loves to sit on her front porch with a cool drink and watch her children and garden grow.


At-Large Director

Jenny Black


Advisory Members

J.P. Lund 

J.P. is the father of two six-year AHB alumni, Max and Gabe, both current Four Points Middle Schoolers. J.P. is currently a practicing attorney focused on litigation and governmental relations in education, employment, family, and the general practice of law. J.P. grew up in Brooklyn, New York and has lived in the Austin area for the last seventeen years, during which he earned his J.D. from U.T. Law School, after five years in Berkeley where he received undergraduate and graduate degrees in mathematics. J.P. is serving his seventh year on the AHB Board as an an appointed, non-voting member after completing six years as an elected, voting member.


Faculty

Eliza WaughEliza Waugh
(Teacher Representative)

Eliza loves to be part of a community where creative ideas are free to be explored and where learning is an integrated, joyful, collaborative and encompassing experience.

Eliza graduated with a BA from the University of Arizona in Creative Writing and Fine Arts. She became a teacher in 2005 and has taught, mentored, and developed programs at AHB since 2007 in both the Alpha and Beta classrooms. Her sons, now high school age and beyond, attended AHB and she served several years as a board member, as well. Learning and discovering with children has always been a passion for her. If you’re ever in her classroom for long you’re bound to hear her say, “We are each other’s teachers!” because she believes that children offer insight into living and learning in the moment that demonstrates the true meaning of happiness.

When not at school, Eliza loves to spend her time with her family and pursuing the joys of writing, art, the great outdoors (especially in a kayak or hiking boots), yoga, reading, cooking and being with friends.


Ex Officio

Sasha CesareSasha Cesare (Executive Director)

Sasha comes to us with an extensive background in nonprofit management. Her past work includes working for The Rotary Foundation and Amnesty International. At Rotary she worked in the Humanitarian Grants Program and went from grant management for Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East to larger program management. At Amnesty’s headquarters in London, she was charged with helping Amnesty’s international offices grow in people, money, activism, and diversity for increased human rights impact. Her work with these organizations took her across the world with project site visits and office visits in Thailand, India, Ukraine, and Croatia, to name a few.

She holds a degree in International Studies and completed graduate work for masters degrees in Cultural Studies in Education and Secondary Education. She found AHB when looking for that perfect school for her son and was impressed with AHB’s progressive pedagogy and commitment to social justice, as well as the openness and happiness of the students. She hopes to bring her knowledge of organizational health and how small organizations grow and achieve impact.

When she isn’t with AHB, she’s at the gallery she co-owns with her husband, being directed in elaborate imaginary games with her son, or being beaten at UNO.


Shari VarsShari Vars
(Head of School)

Shari first came to AHB as a parent in 2014. Shortly after enrolling her two children, she found herself called back to the classroom (after years as a stay-at-home parent) and spent nearly 3 years teaching Humanities in Delta and Gamma. She loved teaching (and learning!) at AHB, where the nurturing environment supported creativity and curiosity alongside academic rigor. She later left to start a small business, and though much was learned in this detour, she ultimately she found herself missing the spark that comes from working with young people. When the opportunity arose to rejoin the AHB team, Shari jumped at the chance to help serve and lead the community for which she already held such deep appreciation and respect.

Originally from Minnesota, Shari earned her BA in English and Secondary Education from Vanderbilt’s Peabody School of Education in Nashville, Tennessee. She met her husband there and spent the next several years teaching high school English and special education while following his work path around the country. After settling in Austin in 2001, Shari worked as a writer and editor for an educational publishing company and took on the role of Assistant Director when the company started its own elementary micro-school, KAMICO Academy. There, Shari enjoyed the “big-picture” problem-solving involved as she worked to coordinate and best serve the needs of students, parents, and teachers. She looks forward to similar challenges as part of AHB’s administrative team!

When not at school, Shari aims to find pleasure in keeping family life afloat: walking the dog, gardening, playing family games, and sneaking the occasional date night (or Netflix binge) amongst chauffeuring busy kids.