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


Christa Spraggins (Place 1)

Christa and her husband, Dan, knew their daughter would be happiest at a part-time school. At AHB, she could enjoy a micro-school community, yet still have time to develop her specific interests.

They appreciate how joyful their daughter has become since joining the school. Participating in hands-on activities and being surrounded by friendly faces has increased her confidence. Christa and Dan also appreciate how the community at AHB has become a part of their lives.

With a background in marketing and web development, Christa joined the board hoping to help increase awareness of the school. But her favorite way to volunteer at AHB is as a lunch monitor, watching the children laugh and grow up together.


Evelyn GalanteEvelyn Galante (Place 2)

Evelyn has two young sons: a pensive Alpha and a spirited two-year-old. She began her career in Washington D.C. doing best practice research for global communications teams, but gave up her pantsuits for cowboy boots when she moved to Austin in 2010. Evelyn is now a communications consultant who works primarily with nonprofit clients and specializes in branding, editorial strategy and content development. She believes in serial commas (but writes in AP style) and is passionate about the people and causes creating positive change on our world.

Evelyn and her family like to eat (especially whatever her husband is baking), go to farmers markets, and run around Ramsey Park. Evelyn has a Bachelors of Science in Systems Science & Mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis.


Dilum RanatungaDilum Ranatunga (Place 3)

The Ranatungas have been with AHB for over 9 years, and have had all of their four kids enrolled in the school. They currently have a 12 year old Delta (who does soccer goal keeping at a select level), a 10 year old 2nd year Gamma (team member in competitive synchronized swimming) and a 9 year old incoming Gamma (budding kid-pitch baseball player).

Dilum joined the board to bring additional international perspective after being a student in Sri Lankan, Australian and British academic systems. He is also passionate about applying his professional skills (as a Product Strategist at Austin’s WP Engine) in the school’s collaborative planning and governance.


Jessica PerryJessica Perry (Place 4)

The pandemic flipped everything Jessica thought she knew about education and lifestyle on its head. After experiencing the joys and challenges of homeschooling a kindergartener and preschooler, she found the sweet spot in AHB that magically melds the benefits of home and classroom education.

Her family moved to Austin in 2016 after spending 12 years in the Northeast. Early in her career, Jessica served on the legislative policy teams of several Members of Congress in Washington, D.C. After leaving Capitol Hill, she directed the fundraising team for a nonprofit public policy think tank in New York City that supported the work of scholars researching ways to help cities flourish, and inspire economic growth and opportunity for more people.

Jessica has a B.S. in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida. Growing up in Florida, she met her husband, Dean, when she was 3 years old.


Ashley GibsonAshley 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 elder a Beta and younger who is 3, 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.


Lindsey PearlsteinLindsey Pearlstein
(Board Appointed Member)

Lindsey found AHB when she was looking for a place to teach that allowed teacher autonomy and whose values aligned with her own. As a teacher, she taught the Gamma class through a social-justice lens and promoted critical thinking, creativity, and authentic learning experiences for her students. She deeply appreciates the opportunity to serve the amazing AHB community through board membership.

Lindsey holds a B.S. in Applied Learning & Development from The University of Texas at Austin. Currently, Lindsey is a REALTOR® with Austin Portfolio Real Estate, continuing to help others through buying and selling homes. When she isn’t working in real estate, she can be found at Alamo Drafthouse or loving on her 90-pound German Shepherd, Watson.


Faculty

Kim LongacreKim Longacre
(Teacher Representative)

Kim received her B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Austin. She started teaching in 1983 at Athena Montessori School, one of the original pre-schools in Austin. She and Joe McDermott founded The Phoenix School in 1985, where Kim served as both the director and as a teacher. Kim has 5 sons who have kept her delighted, inspired and a true believer in life-long learning! Kim created summer camps through The Life Empowerment Center, where she designed curriculum and taught students how their brains work and how learning happens.

In 2007 she started teaching at AHBCS in the Alpha room teaching math, science, social studies, Monday Science Lab and all after school classes – ranging from portrait drawing to Greek history, from theatre to intro to music!

In the summer of 2010, Kim became the director of education for HealthStart Foundation, a non-profit whose mission is to create healthy communities starting with early childhood education. Her main accomplishment with HealthStart was writing 9 volumes of curriculum!

Kim returned to AHB in 2013 and is thrilled to be back in the classroom singing and creating with students, alongside inspiring, supportive teachers, administrators and parents.


Amanda SimpsonAmanda Simpson
(Teacher Representative)

Amanda graduated from Texas A&M University Central Texas with a B.S. and M.S. in Mathematics.  She aspired to be a data miner before she became a graduate teaching assistant. Once she was in the classroom she decided to never leave. She is a fourth-generation teacher and teaching is in her blood.  She has teaching experience ranging from 5th grade to University.

She spends most of her spare time watching movies, playing video games, and caring for her fur babies with her spouse. Amanda’s more interesting hobby is volunteering as an official for the Texas Rollergirls, the original modern roller derby league here in Austin.

Amanda believes anyone can learn given quality instruction and a sprinkle of curiosity. She hopes to provide both here at AHB.


Ex Officio

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.


Alexa CorbettAlexa Corbett
(Associate Director)

Alexa has an undergraduate degree in German from the University of Texas and a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Maryland. She taught for five years in inner-city Baltimore, and then moved to North Carolina, where she worked with curriculum implementation and licensing for the NC Real Estate Commission. After many years at home with kids, she is excited to be back in her wheelhouse – working in education and organizational development.

Alexa’s family found AHB in 2013 when her oldest son started Kindergarten. All five of her children have benefitted from AHB’s unique approach to education. Alexa finds great value in collaborative learning and the work/life balance that AHB offers her family. She served as President of AHB’s Board of Directors for almost three years before accepting the role of Associate Director. She enjoys sharing AHB’s magic with families who are searching for an educational community.

Outside of school, Alexa has a passion for renovating old houses and exploring the world with her family. She is on a mission to visit all 50 states and every U.S. National Park. At home she enjoys yoga, growing vegetables and training her cat, Henry.