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.


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.


Dallas DickinsonDallas Dickinson (Place 4)

Dallas Dickinson is the father of Fletcher (Middle Years) and Louisa (Gamma). He is deeply committed to AHB’s unique brand of progressive education and loves being part of a community that values emotional education as highly as it does academic achievement. He and his family value project-based learning, collaboration, flexibility, and autonomy as core principles for students and adults alike to master.

Dallas holds an AB from Princeton University, where he studied English and Theater/Dance. In his free time, he is a video game executive, serving as General Manager of the Tomb Raider franchise for Crystal Dynamics.


Jessica PerryJessica Perry (Place 5)

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.


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.


Mina LehmannMina Lehmann
(Board Appointed Member)

Mina is pleased to have an educational home for her family in AHB Community School. AHB’s sense of community, strong academics, flexibility, and nurturance comfort the mother in her and inspire the student of human potential in her.

With her husband, Trent, Mina has three children – an AHB alumnus, a current Beta student, and a 3 year old. Mina has experienced, as a mother and as a student, the variable success that various educational environments have in fostering the joy of learning and a sense of agency in those whom they aim to educate, and she has gratefully witnessed AHB’s success in fostering both.

Mina has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Texas and an M.A. in Psychology (with a focus in Cognitive Neuroscience) from Brandeis University. In her spare time, Mina enjoys playing on the piano, brushing up on her Persian, and wandering on hiking trails. She looks forward to contributing to AHB’s continued success.


Lindsey PearlsteinLindsey Pearlstein
(Advisory Position)

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 and 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 the Alamo Drafthouse or loving on her 90-pound German Shepherd, Watson.


Faculty

Kelly Larson
(Teacher Representative)

So much to learn… so much to explore… so many exciting challenges and opportunities.  Kelly has felt so lucky to be able to share her curiosity of the world around her with students throughout her teaching career.  Kelly received her Master’s in Education from the University of New Hampshire. She has taught in the primary grades in Barrington NH, Albuquerque NM, Salt Lake City UT, Los Alamos NM  and finally here in Austin TX as she and her husband raised two boys and her husband pursued a career as a geologist.

Everywhere Kelly has taught, whether public or private schools, small or large communities, she has enjoyed taking children on a path of wonder and excitement about the world we live in. She has investigated forests and fields of milkweed in New Hampshire, and built a garden from scorched earth in Albuquerque. In Los Alamos she created a curriculum for the district to get every child in the school outside at least once a month to marvel at the amazing aspects of nature.

As the Japanese proverb states- to teach is to learn, and there is nothing more amazing than exploring right alongside children. Kelly looks forward to learning and creating memories alongside your children.


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.