WCHE COLLABORATIVE TEAM 2019 - 2020
Pictured l – r front row: Allison Brackhahn, Tanya Rivera-Yates, Kayla Clayton, Julie Gordon, Katie Eaton, Clover Yordanova
l – r second row: Cara McElderry, Shelly Slane, Erika Durham, Elizabeth Liles, Kira Moler
l – r back row: Jeri Smith, Mouna Hashem, Kelli Bayless, Candice Shrout, Jake Severson, and Molly Hein
Kelli Bayless – Mrs. Bayless earned her bachelor's degree in Applied Learning and Development at the University of Texas at Austin. Currently, she is working towards her graduate degree in Applied Behavior Analysis at Ball State University. This is Mrs. Bayless’ 7th year working in special education and her 3rd year at West Cypress Hills.
Allison Brackhahn - Mrs. Brackhahn joined our WCHE staff last year. She has been married for 14 years and has a son that is in 4th grade at Bee Cave Elementary. Mrs. Brackhahn is an Austinite through and through. Children’s education starts at a young age, and she feels blessed to have the opportunity to work with them. Seeing smiles on kids’ faces when they have accomplished something is truly something to cherish.
Kelli Burks - Mrs. Burks is a graduate of Baylor University and has taught in the classroom for 16 years. She has been both an elementary teacher and a high school teacher. After moving here with her family from Arlington, this will be her 1st year with WCHE. She lives in Spicewood with her husband and 3 daughters. Her two oldest are off at college, and her youngest is in 5th grade here at WCHE.
Kayla Clayton – Miss Clayton is a born and raised Austinite who is thrilled to be back at WCHE for her 3rd year. Her greatest goal in education is to make a difference in the lives of the students with whom she is blessed to work. Working alongside an incredible staff and bright, young minds, she looks forward to this being another amazing year!
Erika Durham - Mrs. Durham has been married 19 years to Brett Durham who also works in the district as a Special Services Coordinator. Mrs. Durham has two beautiful children: Sean, 16, and Elizabeth, 9, who is a WCHE Tiger. This is Mrs. Durham’s 2nd year with WCHE and her 7th year in Education. She is excited for another wonderful year with her Special Education team and can’t wait to see her kids. For fun, she attended Le Cordon Bleu to learn how to make French pastries.
Katie Eaton – Miss Eaton earned her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice while playing four years of college soccer at Faulkner University. She is working on getting her Alternative Certification in teaching, in the hope of having her own classroom one day! Throughout the year, outside of school, she also coaches soccer. This is Miss Eaton’s 3rd year at West Cypress Hills, and she loves seeing her students achieve their goals.
Heather Eilers – Mrs. Eilers is a Lake Travis High School alumni who received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Angelo State University. After spending 12 years working in the Continuing Legal Education field, she decided to shift to Elementary Education and is in the process of earning her Alternative Certification to teach. During the 2018-2019 school year, she worked as a Teacher’s Assistant at private preschool and as a substitute teacher at West Cypress Hills Elementary as well as at other LTISD campuses. She is married to Mark Eilers, who has been a teacher and coach at Lake Travis Middle School for 17 years. Their son is entering into Kindergarten this year, and like his mom, is excited to be a West Cypress Hills Tiger!
Julie Gordon – Mrs. Gordon and her family of five live in the West Cypress Hills neighborhood. She has a Kinder, 4th and 5th grader at the school. Mrs. Gordon has 9 years of classroom teaching experience including 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades in both private and public school districts and also experience in speech therapy. This is her 4th year at WCHE and 1st year as an inclusion aide. She holds a bachelor’s in education from Texas A&M University and earned a SLPA license through The University of Houston. She enjoys travel and the outdoors.
Mouna Hashem – Ms. Hashem and her husband live in Lakeway. She has 2 sons. One graduated from Lake Travis High School. Ms.Hashem earned a Psychology degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She is an accomplished, professional with 20 years’ experience in business management, educational, and nonprofit fields. This is her 4th year at LTISD, 2 of which worked in an ABA/G3 classroom here at WCHE. In addition to her classroom responsibilities, Ms. Hashem also serves as our Extended Care Supervisor.
Molly Hein - Ms. Hein earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Psychology at Worcester State University, her master’s degree in Special Education, and a graduate certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis at Fitchburg State University. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), with experience as a Classroom Teacher and a Special Education Teacher, as well as, experience working in an ABA clinic in Austin, TX. This is her 8th year teaching, and her 2nd year at West Cypress Hills.
Cara McElderry – Mrs. McElderry earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Loyola University and holds a graduate degree in Special Education studies from Loyola as well. She has taught in Maryland, New York, and in Texas for a total of 19 years. She and her husband have 3 children who attend LTISD schools.
Kira Moler - Ms. Moler earned her bachelor’s degree in Communicative Disorders and her master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology from San Francisco State University. She has 9 years of experience working with children as an SLP and 4 years of experience working specifically with students with Autism. She is passionate about helping students build social awareness skills in order to connect more easily with others. Ms. Moler just moved from Northern California to Austin at the end of July. In her free time she loves to cook, hike, travel, go to concerts, and explore all that Austin has to offer with her husband.
Mary Owen – Mrs. Owen serves as the Occupational Therapist at West Cypress Hills Elementary, Lake Pointe Elementary, Lake Travis Middle School, and the Lake Travis High School. She and her husband live in Driftwood.
Susan Pilgrim - Mrs. Pilgrim began her teaching career as a 5th Grade teacher in York, SC, and she feels she really found her place when she became a Special Education teacher in Illinois. Through the years, she has served as a Special Education teacher for Grades Kindergarten through 8th. Prior to coming to West Cypress, she worked with severely challenged Kindergarten through 3rd Grade students in a therapeutic day setting. She loves the outdoors, nature gardening, and kayaking. She also enjoys spending time with her husband and 2 adult sons--1 who lives in Austin and 1 who is in college in South Dakota. Mrs. Pilgrim joins the West Cypress team January 6, 2020, and is counting the days until she becomes a Texan!
Lindsay Rhodes - Mrs. Rhodes graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, and has been in the education field for 14 years. She taught 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Grades in Atlanta, GA, before moving back to her home state of Texas. During the past 3 years, Mrs. Rhodes has been an LTISD substitute teacher. She has 2 boys attending school at WCHE and is extremely happy to be working in the WCHE inclusion classes. She is excited to be a part of this wonderful community.
Tanya Rivera-Yates – Mrs. Rivera-Yates has a Bachelor’s Degree in Administration of Justice from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. She worked previously as a legal assistant in collections and also in the field of Medical Coding. She changed gears a few years ago to work as an elementary aide in Life Skills at Lakeway Elementary School. She transferred to West Cypress Hills Elementary for the 2018-2019 school year to work as an elementary G3 aide. This will be her 2nd year working as a G3 elementary aide.
Jake Severson - Mr. Severson earned his bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, his master’s degree in Vocational Rehabilitation from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, and his teaching certification from Region 13 Education Service Center in Austin. He has previous experience working with individuals with disabilities, as a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) and Behavioral Therapist in an ABA clinical setting, both in Texas and Minnesota. This is his 4th school year working as a Special Education teacher, and his 1st year teaching in LTISD. He lives in Austin, with his wife, Tess, and their cat, Tillie.
Candice Shrout – Holding a bachelor’s degree from Southwest Texas University and a Master’s Degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio, Mrs. Shrout has been an educator for over 15 years. She and her husband have two beautiful daughters.
Shelly Slane – This is Ms. Slane’s 2nd year being part of the WCHE staff. Prior to joining the WCHE team, she served as a long-term substitute teacher on our Collaborative Team. She enjoys being a part of the team and ensuring that our G3 learners have a happy and safe learning environment.
Jeri Smith – Ms. Smith lives in the Lake Travis area and has two children who attend LTISD schools. This is Ms. Smith’s 3rd year aiding G3 learners.
Clover Yordanova - Ms. Yordanova holds a Master’s degree as a reading specialist from Teachers College, Columbia University. She has been an educator for over 17 years. This is her 3rd year at West Cypress Hills Elementary School. She lives in Austin with her husband and her two children.