My educational background is varied, to say the least. I have been home-schooled, Unschooled, Waldorf schooled, Montessori schooled, and public schooled. I have worked for (and my daughters have attended): parent run co-ops, Waldorf-oriented and Montessori pre-schools, Sudbury schools, public schools and public-charter schools.
My previous teaching experience focused on early childhood with: South Austin Children’s Cooperative, Starbright Preschool, Montessori Escuela de Montopolis as well as bilingual Kindergarten at Maplewood elementary (AISD) and Kindergarten/first grade at Austin Discovery School.
I believe that by understanding communities’ needs through language and culture, and by demonstrating respect for differences within our communities, we can truly reach every student or learner.
My board of directors experience includes membership:
- People’s Community Clinic patient advisory board (1989-1992)
- Teen Help Line board of directors (1990-1992)
- March of Dimes (1991)
- Clearview Sudbury School (2007-2008)
- Austin Discovery School (2008-2009)
- Education Transformation Alliance (2012 – 2015)
- Conscious Garden (2014 – present)
- Natural Learning Foundation (2015 – present)
I hold an EC-4 teaching certificate from the State of Texas as well as a B.A. from UT-Austin in History/Applied Learning & Development and a M.Ed. from Texas State University-San Marcos in bilingual/bicultural education. I am currently working on my PhD. in Educational Administration at Texas State University-San Marcos. Some of my related volunteer work includes teaching ESL in Mexico and Guatemala at: Colegio Cuernavaca, Casa Xelaju, Colegio Alonzo Morelio, and La Pedrera. Additionally I was the Community Wellness Program developer and manager of Ruta Maya Coffee House for over 12 years.
You can view my entire electronic portfolio at www.austinyogamama.com for more detailed information including my resume and video documentation. Also find me for private educational consulting at http://startuplearning.me/our-team/erin-ali-ronder/
Michael Shattah has worked in educational, medical, counseling, and organizational settings for more than two decades, with a focus on wholeness-based approaches to learning and health.
While a Ph.D. candidate in Health Counseling and Educational Psychology at UT-Austin, Michael helped hundreds of clients explore therapeutic concerns in mind and body, as well as develop skills to enrich their personal and professional pursuits. His doctoral research examines the Quality of Life in medical patients with chronic pain, using a comprehensive Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual health model to enhance options in assessment, self-care, and treatment. The related evidence-based study examines potential effects of mindfulness and self-compassion for promoting patient health, reducing pain, and preventing additional disease. [Quality of life in pain patient population, as potentially moderated by self-compassion]
Michael Shattah received a M.A. in educational psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. In addition to instructing college psychology courses, Michael formerly taught standardized test preparation throughout the United States with The Princeton Review to over a thousand students seeking advanced medical and graduate degrees. During this time, he created and began teaching the Step-wise PRIMER on integrative learning.
Previously, Michael received a B.B.A. in business management from Georgia State University, with a concentration on human resources training and business development. He has started, worked at, and consulted with many enterprises, health, and sustainable community organizations devoted to improving Quality of Life in the workplace and marketplace as a whole.
Relevant Professional Training:
- Austin Pain Associates, Dr. Wills M.D. and Dr. Byrne, Ph.D. – Psychological Services Provider
- Austin Capital Area Counseling – Mental Health Counselor and Services Provider
- UT-Austin Counseling and Mental Health Center – Community Outreach and Programming
Posters and Publications:
- Poster Presentation – Stanford University CCARE Conference 2012: The Science of Compassion
- Article Contributor: Self-Compassion and Adaptive Psychological Functioning (Neff, 2007)
- Article Author: Learning and Mindfulness, The Learning Curve at UT Learning Center
Group Training Course Facilitator:
- Fitting pieces: A Step-wise PRIMER on integrative learning – self-directed skills and strategies
- Fitting pieces: Wholeness-based health promotion and disease prevention programs
- SMART Options for pain management: Support, Methods, Assessments, Resources, Treatments
Cinnamon started her adult life journey as a AMS Certified Montessori Teacher for early childhood as a Montessori Teacher in Hyde Park in 1996. She soon realized she had found her love of teaching and learning but wanted to offer her skills children who might not have the same support at home and decided to teach as elementary teacher in Del Valle ISD.
In 2005, she joined the founding team of a project-based, natural learning progressive charter school, Austin Discovery School. She advanced to Principal and Superintendent/Executive Director and lead the school community through growth, stumbling blocks and successes. in 2013, she transitioned to Community Leader (Executive Director) of the East Communities Branch YMCA a half mile from the school she ran so she could still serve the same community she was tied to.
She believes that all children, parents, and every person in the world is doing the best they can at every given moment and that service to each other is what helps us learn and grow.
Cinnamon is the mother of two teens (one homeschooled and one traditionally schooled…cause you know no two kids are ever alike or have the same needs!) She has been married over two decades and co-owns a martial arts school in Bastrop with her husband. She believes in the power of creativity, community and the human potential…and, with that all great things are possible.
I hold AMS Montessori Certification, Bachelors in Education with Minor in Science from UT, and Masters in Community Leadership from Texas State.
Susan was born in 1952 and is part of the baby-boom generation. Susan has recently become semi-retired, which has allowed her to choose a new project and focus for her life. That new focus is her lifelong passion for changing the world. She is currently developing an innovative, holistic education system for young women in prison.
Susan started out as a teenager in the late sixties and early seventies living in a small conservative town in upstate New York. She was curious, artistic, and loved to read. She developed an intense interest in issues and problems facing culture and society through self-directed study. What sparked this passionate interest was her reading about women’s liberation at that time in history. She had the revelation that her own sense of alienation, loneliness, and lack of confidence stemmed not just from personal failure, but from the cultural experience of being a woman. Her eyes were opened to the prejudice, rigid role assignment, oppression, violence, and cultural and literary exclusion and denigration of women and girls she had been experiencing all along, but could now see as a bigger picture of cultural forces at work.
From her understanding of women’s issues, blossomed her understanding and appreciation of the forces of oppression on people of color, LGBTQ+ people, poor people, and yes, men too. She realized that cultural forces had a strong role in restricting the natural fairness, kindness, and empathy that is the birthright of all people, including men. She understood that denigration of women’s interests and glorification of military might was part of the problem. Men and women naturally choose some different interests, but both these interests can be valued and respected. Domination and bullying shape all of us, but conscious and educated resistance becomes healing and transformative.
Susan’s sense of outrage at injustice and her strong sense of the need for change inspired her to be politically active as a teenager. She also had a strong realization that education is a very powerful force for change, but did not put this realization into practice until later.
It’s one step forward to know and understand that cultural forces have shaped our internal attitudes, but it’s a different and additional step to realize that knowing alone is not enough, and that internal work is still necessary for true freedom. I say this because even though Susan knew about oppression and how it applied to her own life, she married a man who was abusive. She freed herself from her physically violent husband and left her marriage, realizing later that it was her own lack of worthiness that was at the bottom of her partnership with a very controlling person. Successfully freeing herself from that dangerous situation was very empowering for Susan.
Susan raised her daughter from that marriage, and eventually married again. She has great compassion and insight into mistakes young women make as they create families, because she too made mistakes raising her daughter and two step children.
Susan’s work has been varied and eclectic. She has been self-employed as a landscape designer and installer, a music professional, and a project manager for home renovations. As an employee, her job titles have been Tax Examiner, Group Facilitator, and Manager at the Internal Revenue Service, Sales Manager at Pender Nursery, a wholesale landscaping nursery, and Administrative Director at Khabele Strong Incubator, an innovative private school for middle and high school students. She has been a teacher many times, such as a preschool teacher at Fleetwood School for Gifted Children, Choir Director, both children and adult, and piano teacher for hundreds of students. Susan currently works part time as a piano teacher.
Although Susan’s first strong passion was about changing the world, as she matured, worked, and raised her family, she became deeply interested in spirituality. Her understanding of her life as a spiritual journey brought peace and deepened her understanding of humanity. Her use of spiritual principles, such as forgiveness, acceptance, transformation, and guidance in decision-making is important to her. She is committed to the path of wisdom-seeking and spiritual education as a way to understand her own life and a way to better serve humanity.
Susan has become engaged in community activism in the last year. She is an active and contributing member of both the East MLK Contact Team and the Hog Pen Neighborhood Association, both volunteer community betterment groups. She led the successful effort to get needed sidewalks for her neighborhood and improve a dangerous intersection. She is currently working on connectivity issues in her east-side neighborhood (traditionally african-american and historically red-lined and historically receiving unequal city services). She is active in her church, Unity Church of the Hills, and currently volunteers as a “reading buddy” 3 times a week for Spanish speaking and underprivileged 1st graders.
Stacey Loop is passionate about education and considers herself to be a lifelong student around the mind/body connection and the potential for tapping into optimal wellness, which is different for each person and requires appropriate application of using the right tools at the right time.
After years of working in public schools as a Special Education Teacher, Stacey began her personal journey only after the birth of her son, who was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. Fascinated by the ancient teachings of yoga and holistic health, she embarked upon in-depth certifications as a yoga therapist and health coach. She shares this gift with her community and with her son to assist in moving them toward greater balance.
Stacey has taught over 2,500 classes over the span of 15 years in the format of teacher training, educational topics, therapeutic private lessons, mentoring, and public classes. She co-wrote the curriculum for Yoga Yoga’s Children’s Teacher Training and leads teachers in this 95 hour certification program as well as training in other programs around the therapeutic aspects of yoga and meditation.
She is known for her insight and playful approach in helping individual students move in a forward direction through the profound teachings of yoga and holistic health coaching applied strategically to meet the “bio individuality” of the student.
- C-IAYT = Certified International Association of Yoga Therapists
- E- RYT 500 hours; E-RYT 200 hours Certifications in the Hatha yoga tradition
- Children’s Yoga Certifications: Yoga Ed K-8th; Yoga for the Special Child
- Studied at the American Viniyoga Institute
- IIN Health Coach Certification
- Studied Holistic Health Coaching at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN)
- BS in Special Education, Oklahoma State University
- Public Relations assistant for Modern Holistic Healthwww.modernholistichealth.com
- Co presenter at U.T. Social Worker’s Conference 2017 on “Inner Transformation: A Holistic Approach for Kids with Neurological Issues”
Wendy Hale Davis
Wendy graduated in 1973 from Southern Illinois University, with a Bachelors in Comprehensive Design Science, a program under the aegis of Buckminster Fuller. The emphasis of the program was on creating generalists who could communicate between specialists by teaching whole systems thinking.
Wendy got her first guitar for her twelfth birthday and wrote her first song a few months later. She began performing it in public with covers of songs by Dylan, the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, and Dave Van Ronk. In her mid-twenties, she met Joe Ely on a train trip from Dodge City to Chicago, spending the night jamming in the club car. He told her about Austin, and she moved as soon as she could. She’s played in R&B bands, a jazz duo, and an improv rock band, among other things, adding new originals regularly. Currently she plays with Lisa Fancher and Joanna Howerton in Gal-DangIt! She now performs mostly original songs.
Wendy worked for twenty years doing graphic design and calligraphy for small colleges, print shops, and a small press, as well as freelance. Since she was eighteen, she has kept a journal. In the beginning, it was very sporadic and mostly visual, but over the years, it became more wordy, in an attempt to document a day in the life. Because she often carried her journal with her, the books – she started out using Strathmore sketch books – would come apart as the months went by. In 1992, she apprenticed as a bookbinder at the Adolphus Bindery in Austin, Texas. Over the next few years she learned to restore and repair books, make new books, and containers for books. She began teaching beginning bookbinding at The Art School at Laguna Gloria in the early aughts, and also teaches workshops occasionally. Her journals have evolved as her skills have improved and as the process of figuring out what her ‘perfect’ journal is. She also serves as the manager of the Optimist Club of Austin’s Christmas Tree Lot. The lot has been in operation since 01952, with all the profits going to youth charity in Austin. The lot opens the day after Thanksgiving every year, and goes until the trees run out or Christmas Eve, which-ever comes first.
I was born in Los Angeles, California in 1959, to a mom whose middle name was Adventure. Growing up we spent a lot of time traveling and were in and out of towns, states, countries and schools. In 1972, my mother, sister and I, along with assorted cats and dogs, moved to Austin. We quickly set down our roots and have been here ever since!
Public school had never been a good fit for our family and one of the great benefits of settling in Austin was the rural Holistic school just outside of town. This school, based on the Summerhill School in Suffolk, England, was perfect for us; dynamic, interest based education with caring mentors and over 100 acres of woods filled with trails and adventure. Students were considered partners both in designing curriculum and classes, as well as in addressing the many social concerns that arise in any community of people. With the pressure to make grades and “fit in” removed from my life, I developed a fondness for writing, nature, science, history, world cultures and religions, yoga, crafts, peaceful conflict resolution, and, eventually, even mathematics! In addition to my academic classes, I explored the woods and creeks, played music, dabbled in a broad range of arts and crafts and learned the lessons that have made the most difference in my life; identifying goals, finding personal mentors, the value of personal integrity, and how to resolve conflicts respectfully and honorably. I also learned what it takes to make mistakes and still look the people you respect in the eye, knowing that you are loved for who you are, not what you do.
I graduated from this delightful school in 1978, but it started me on a path that I have never left; Holistic Education. In the 4+ decades since my graduation, I have visited and worked in over a dozen holistic and non-traditional schools across the U.S., either as an assistant, a classroom mentor, administrator, director or consultant, and have served on several educational non-profit boards of directors, as well. Over the years, I have made it my business to interview graduates of holistic schools and homeschoolers wherever I find them, curious about what impact their unique education has had on their lives, any gaps they may have felt and what we, as responsive holistic educators, can do to fill those gaps for the coming generations. The question I have sought answers to is – how do we best support young people in fulfilling their dreams, become fully contributing members of their communities and keep the natural love of learning alive?
In recent years, I have found a passion for teaching through games, all sorts of games! Kids will play games for hours, rising to the inherent challenges and mastering skills in the process. In particular I have a deep regard for The Game of Village (c). As a Teacher, Mentor and School Director of 40+ years, I can confidently say that Village is the most powerful teaching tool I have ever encountered. It has completely transformed my understanding of learning and teaching and has provided me a platform from which to explore and teach applied academics in a meaningful context. Through Village, I have learned to trust the natural learning process to an ever deepening level, and have grown comfortable with the unpredictability that accompanies creativity, self expression and learning by experience, rather than imparting academic content in a controlled learning environment. Village has brought the spirit of play, creativity and trust back into my own own adult life,and it has become my passion and my goal to share it with as many young people and mentors as I can!
In addition to a consuming passion for holistic education and Village, my interests include yoga, playing outside in nature, swimming, arts and crafts, natural building, natural healing, singing, generally being with people, especially my own sweet family, including my new grandson, Calvin!
William B. Gammon
William B. “Bill” Gammon was born in Virginia and moved to Texas as a young child when his father went to work for NASA. He attended High School in Clear Lake, Houston and then came to Austin during the 1960’s to complete his under graduate degree at The University of Texas. He ran several successful small businesses both in Austin and in Houston before deciding to attend Law School. He attended UT Law School in Austin and holds the record there for the fastest graduating student. He completed Law School in just twenty two months
Bill began his solo practice here in Austin in 1987 and now specializes in Real Estate Law, Foreclosure and Evictions, Business Law, Bankruptcy, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death and Medical Malpractice. His interests and hobbies include traveling, reading, scuba diving, sky diving, politics, piloting small aircraft and helicopters and absolutely anything connected to gizmos and gadgets.
Professional Licenses & Memberships:
- State Bar of Texas
- Admitted to Practice in the United States District & Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Texas
- Admitted to Practice in the United States District & Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Texas
- Capital Area Trial Lawyers Association
- Better Business Bureau
- The Pro Bono College of the State Bar of Texas
- Texas Trial Lawyers Association
- Nonprofit Alliance of Consumer Advocates
- United States Court of Appeals For the Fifth Circuit
- Save Our Springs Alliance
- The Sierra Club
- The Women’s Advocacy Center
- North Texas Great Dane Rescue Foundation
- The Guide Dogs for the Blind Foundation in San Antonio
- The University of Texas School of Law, J.D.
- The University of Texas, BA
John Thoms has been an educator since 1996. He taught middle school in Austin ISD for ten years. During that time, he also volunteered, and co-founded the Austin Yellow Bike Project, where he taught bicycle mechanics to people of all ages. In that capacity, John started kids only classes and earn-a-bike program – where youth rebuilt a bicycle, thus earning and keeping it as their own. In 2008, he began working on a District wide level, providing behavior coaching, consultation and support for individual students, classes, and school wide. John worked with educators from pre-k through 12th grade. Since 2008, he has had a private behavior support practice, now called Behavior Creators (www.BehaviorCreators.com), providing behavior support to charter schools, private schools, Districts and families. John has two kids of his own. His daughter, Zora was born in 2001 and his son, Sasha, arrived in 2004. As a mentor at Integrity Academy, he has the pleasure of utilizing his experience as a teacher, behaviorist, and parent to work with the wonderful children and staff in an innovative and caring environment.
Luiza is an alternative care practitioner that works with homeopathy and applied kinesiology.
Author of “Higher Nutrition”, a self care book.
Reiki Master with the violet flame. App developer in the area of health and nutrition.
“Educate, Empower and Elevate” is the tag line for my “Higher Nutrition” brand, because I feel it is a human birthright to be furnished with truths to make a conscious decision based on that.
The Journey of Thomas has been filled with exploring systems that can stimulate a renaissance – via art, technology, food, community, and grassroots endeavours.
Some highlights along his path include marketing for Google, owning & operating Austin’s first CoWorking space, serving on the board for Slow Food Austin, volunteering at the UT Food Lab, and consulting with several conscious startups.
Thomas has been applying his unique gifts and vision to help co-create a vibrant and harmonious world. Most recently, Thomas has been contributing his time to researching and designing blockchain technology to identify equitable opportunities.