Staff2018-08-07T18:57:23+00:00

Our Staff

Amanda

Amanda has worked in education for 20 years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from UTSA, her master’s degree in Teacher Leadership from Lamar University, and is currently working toward her PhD in International Education and Entrepreneurship from UIW. As a child, she rode her bike endlessly through the streets with her friends, always on the search for spectacular adventures or secret hide-outs. Now, she enjoys doing the same with her husband and three children!

Jennifer

Jennifer has an associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education, a master’s degree in Leadership in Education, as well as a Montessori Certification. She is currently pursuing her PhD in International Education and Entrepreneurship. She has a passion for early childhood and sharing the importance of nature and sciences in the lives of young children with others. Jennifer lives in the country, and enjoys quiet times to reflect and connect with nature and her horses, cows, cats, and her daughter’s donkey.

Barbara

Barbara comes to Will Smith Zoo School with a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from UIW, with a 15-yearlong career in education. Growing up in Port Aransas gave Barbara a love of nature. The beach came alive to her, and she loved finding small creatures around the seashore. As an adult, she loves gardening, hiking, and birdwatching. Barbara has other interests in learning ways to help our Earth and the creatures that live on it. She has a home full of animals! She has an albino aquatic frog, two aquatic turtles, fish, two cats, and a dog. Will Smith Zoo School was a natural place for her to land and combine her passion for teaching and love of nature.

Amanda

Amanda received her bachelor’s degree from UTSA, and has enjoyed teaching children ages preschool through fifth grade over the last five years. As a child, she remembers climbing every tree she could find, chasing her siblings in the grass, and getting as muddy as possible when it rained. Her favorite thing to do in nature as an adult is spend time exploring with her family, feeding ducks, playing at the park, and riding bike trails along with her husband and daughter.

Vanessa

Vanessa has a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. She enjoys hiking on the weekends with her family, and finds nature to be very calming yet rejuvenating. Her first memory of nature-relatedness was when she was eight. She was in her backyard, surrounded by a kaleidoscope of beautiful monarch butterflies.

Sheena

Sheena has a bachelor’s in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Human Development from California State University. Her earliest memories involve her playing in the woods of New England from sun up to sun down. She loves to spend time in the snow because it makes her to feel at peace.

Jessica

Jessica started her college adventure at the University of Hawaii, studying marine biology. She finished with a degree in Early Education Development. Her love of nature started early with caring for pets and living close to the ocean. Now, she frequently ventures outdoors to make lasting memories with her family.

Erica

Erica graduated from UT Austin with a degree in Women’s Studies. She began working with young children as an intern at the Austin Children’s Museum. She has always loved to read, and tutored children in elementary school in literacy with the Austin Independent School District. In her free time, Erica likes to hike trails and visit state parks with her family. Being able to work at Will Smith Zoo School allows Erica to combine her love of learning and teaching with her love of nature.

Sarah

Sarah is a native New Yorker, and quickly learned to navigate the edges of urban places and wild spaces. Spending an afternoon trudging through springs and climbing trees instilled a sense of wonder for the natural world and inspired her to pursue a career in education where she could share that wonder while being an advocate for environmental stewardship. Sarah has instructed and coordinated nature-based programs in Maine, Wisconsin, the California bay area, and now central Texas. With over a decade of experience leading nature-based and environmental instruction, STEM education, and experiential curriculum she is quite sure the best place for children to learn, grow, and connect is outside. When she is not learning and teaching at Will Smith Zoo School, you can find her digging in a garden or exploring Texas’ amazing landscapes with her family.

Chelsea

Chelsea has earned a Child Development Associate, and is now working towards a bachelor degree in Early Education. When she was a child, her parents couldn’t keep her inside! She loved being outdoors with her neighborhood friends, swimming, and spending time in the yard with her dogs. Now, her favorite thing to do in nature is explore with her dogs. They check out all the dog parks they can find, and spends hours exploring hiking trails. Chelsea feels there is nothing more relaxing than sitting outside on a Sunday morning, playing fetch.

Stefanie

Stefanie has worked in early childhood for ten years and has enjoyed working with children in a nature-based setting. Will Smith Zoo School has allowed her to incorporate learning with nature as a fun and memorable experience. When she is not working, she loves to spend time with her two boys and family, traveling to different parks in Texas and other states.

Ariel

Ariel graduated from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies, and is currently earning her master’s degree. When not working at Will Smith Zoo School, Ariel volunteers at several organizations that support children and families. She enjoys spending time outdoors exploring new terrain.

Aurora

Aurora comes to Will Smith Zoo School with several years of experience working with children of all ages. She enjoys facilitating their needs from potty-training to reading. When not at Will Smith Zoo School, Aurora enjoys traveling the world with her husband and visiting her children.

Hector

Hector comes to Will Smith Zoo School from Corpus Christi as a professional driver. Hector truly enjoys escorting the students to and from the zoo every day. When away from work, Hector likes to playing baseball with his son.