Meet Our Team!

Executive Director/Administrator
Sarah Sarah Johnson earned a Master's Degree in Special Education from the University of Texas at Austin. She serves as The Executive Director of The Emerson Foundation, as well as the Administrator of record for Emerson Academy. Sarah has a wealth of experience with Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), conducting assessments, developing curriculum, as well as individualized, small group and large group instruction. Sarah also utilizes her skills when serving as liaison to teachers, school districts, therapists and comprehensive program providers. Sarah has 13 years of experience working closely with children with special needs, those with Autism spectrum disorders and typically developing children.
Business Director

Stacey photoStacey Bell earned a Master's Degree in Special Education from the University of Texas at Austin. She brings a wide range of experiences to Emerson Academy, having worked with adults with disabilities in private residential settings and a University setting, typically developing teens and teens with special needs as an educator in public schools, and children with disabilities in the Dallas and Austin Parks and Recreation Departments.  Stacey combines compassion, experience and fiscal sense as she helps build Emerson Academy into a one of a kind inclusive child development center. Stacey has over 20 years of experience providing services to people with disabilities.
Program Director

JenniferJennifer Green, a native of Austin, graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Kinesiology. She’s been employed with Emerson Academy since February 2008, gaining experience in every classroom, and now serves as our Program Director.  Jennifer's organizational skills and ability to multi-task, combined with her extreme dedication to the children of Emerson Academy make her an amazing leader.  A mom herself, Jennifer relates to parents and family members on a personal level ensuring that parents always know that their children are getting the very best care and education while attending Emerson Academy.
Curriculum Specialist
Melissa Melissa "Miss Pickles" Boaz came to Emerson Academy with many years of experience in early childhood education.  Melissa has worked as a pre-school teacher, program director and center director.  She is an amazing inspiration to the teachers, students and parents.  Her role as curriculum specialist includes assisting teachers with lesson planning, obtaining supplies, individual student support and overall operational improvement.

Caterpillars - Infants

nissi staff photo=Nissi Padilla is the assistant teacher in the Caterpillar class.  Nissi is currently atttending Austin Community College.  She hopes to transfer to a four year university in the next two years in order to pursue her dream of becoming a physician.  Nissi has the perfect demeanor for working with infants.  She is calm and caring, even under the most stressful moments that can present themselves when caring for infants.  She is also a mom of a beautiful baby girl, a talented athlete and a welcomed addition to Emerson Academy.

Ladybugs - 1-2 Year Olds

MindyMindy Torres is the lead teacher in the Ladybug class.  She has been working with children for 13 years and loves every minute she spends with them.  According to Mindy, "they brighten my day and make me smile".  Mindy loves to read, attend her daughter's sporting events and search Pintrest for fun craft and decorating ideas.  She is very family oriented, loves to spend time with her grandson Tucker and has the most wonderful sense of humor.  Mindy is an incredible teacher and loves the children in her class as if they were her own.

Butterflies - 2-3 Year Olds

BeverlyBeverly Franken is the co-teacher in the Butterfly class. Bev has 9 years of experience in child care along with an Associate of Arts degree and continuing education in Early Education. She is patient and kind when teaching and always gives unconditional love to her students. Along with high expectations and a very deliberate sense of right and wrong, Beverly has made long lasting impressions on all of the children who have had the opportunity to learn from her. Bev is one of Emerson's most beloved teachers.

MicheleMichele Barnes is the co-teacher in the Butterfly class. She graduated from college in 2001 with a degree in Elementary Education from Angelo State University.  She has two boys, ages 10 and 6 years old. They are an active family that loves to be outdoors; camping and anything that has to do with water are their favorite activities.  Prior to Emerson, she has worked in her church child care room during the week part time. She has worked with 6 week olds to 10 year olds. She loves kids and watching them grow and learn every day.

Bumblebees 3-4 Year Olds
laken staff photo

Laken Chappel is a co-teacher in the Bumblebee Class.  She is currently pursuing an Associate’s degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis on Special Education. She has passion for teaching young children of all abilities. Laken’s experience includes: providing respite and habilitation services for children with special needs in their home, as well as working will all children of all ages from infants to school-aged children in a private preschool.  Laken, her husband and their dog Wrigley live in right her in Round Rock.  Her hobbies are performing, swimming, shopping, reading, and anything and everything interior design related.

Becca Hunt is the co-teacher for the Bumblebee Class.   Becca came to Emerson with many years of experience in pre-school settings.  She has worked with children of different ages and abilities.  As a mom of two, she has much experience nurturing and caring for her own children and shows that each day while working with the Bumblebees.  Becca is patient, kind and it is clear that she always has the children's best interest in mind when teaching and serving as a role model to others.
  3 1/2 - 5 Year Olds


Dianne Muchow is teacher in the Dragonfly class.  She has over 20 years of early childhood experience ranging from working as a private nanny to overseeing a large Children's Ministry program at a church in Austin.  Dianne enjoys science, art, music, theater and social studies. She loves to read and enjoys bringing books to life for children.  She has 2 grown daughters, has raised 13 foster children and has one adorable granddaughter. She is attending ACC at this time and has plans to transfer to TSU to pursue her degree in Early Childhood Education. 

Aissa staff photo
Aissa Barrera is the assistant teacher in the Dragonfly classroom. She graduated summer 2013 from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and a minor in Political Science. While in college Aissa volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters and realized that there are many families and children in need. She is very family oriented, loves working with children, and always has a smile on her face. In her free time Aissa loves to read and spend time with her family, especially her goddaughter. Aissa’ s plan for the future includes attending law school and practicing family law.

Fireflies 4 - 5 Year Olds
Yesinia Carbahal is the co-teacher in the Firefly Class.  Yesinia has several years of teaching experience in the pre-Kindergarten setting.  She has three children, one who attends Emerson Academy's Dragonfly Class and two school-aged kids.  Ms. Yesinia is patient, caring and calm.  Her demeanor lends itself perfectly to the busy pre-K class.

Melissa staff photo

Melissa Wilkinson is the co-teacher in the Fireflies Class. Melissa graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. She chose to beginher teaching career in Texas where she was born and raised. Melissa has worked in elementary classrooms for over five years, with experience with all levels Pre-K through 6th grade. She often connects with children through her caring nature, sense of humor, and desire to make school fun.

Beetles After School Program

hollyan staff photoHollyan Trainer is our after-school program leader.  She works in all classrooms during the school day, supporting her co-teachers and teaching sign language.  She has many years of experience with children of all ages and abilities. In high school she worked with the Adaptive PE program, and has been care giving, teaching and babysitting for many different families over the last 8 years.  Hollyan is currently pursuiEvelynng her degree in Special Education. She is a talented musician and loves to play guitar and sing with each class.

Evelyn Anderson is the co-teacher in the Beetles Class.  Evelyn is a graduate of West Chester University with a Bachelor of Science in Education.  Prior to relocating to the Austin area, Evelyn was a teacher's assistant in the Pre-Kindergarten Program with Hatboro-Horsham School District in Horsham, Pennsylvania.  She has also worked in Kindergarten, second and fourth grade classrooms.  Evelyn is a natural teacher and has helped to create a learning environment that is exciting, inviting and a fun place to learn.

Support Staff

ChristinaChristina Cranor is a support teacher in a variety of classrooms.  Ms. Christina often works one on one with children who need extra behavioral support or support in daily living skills. Christina has several years of experience working in early childhood education settings, including two years with Emerson Academy.  Christina is a loving and caring teacher, is raising her young nephews, and would do anything for someone in need.  She has an adventurous spirit, encourages learning through sensory activities, singing and hands on play.  Christina cares deeply for the children with whom she works, which shows in her interactions with children and their parents.

Bea Bea Padilla is the glue that holds Emerson Academy together.  She does it all and with a smile on her face!  Having been a foster parent for many years, Bea takes very seriously her role in food preparation, cleaning, sanitation and ensuring a clean and healthy environment for the students at Emerson.

EmilyEmily Montez is THE domestic goddess of Emerson Academy!  She works diligently and tirelessly to ensure the cleanliness and sanitation of classrooms and learning spaces.  Ms. Emily is invaluable to the health of Emerson students.

is a 9 year old Golden Retreiver who was rescued from the Gold Ribbon Rescue (GRR) group in Austin.  He has been at Emerson Academy for three years and works with all ages and classes.  Duke is a patient, easy-going and loving dog who has never met a child he doesn't love.  His relationships with the children, especially children with special needs, is remarkable.  Duke is one of Emerson's most beloved icons and makes many a day of children and parents alike.


Positions Available
Teaching Assistants

We are currently accepting applications for teaching assistants. If you are a high-energy, child-oriented person, please send us your resume; we will contact you to discuss available positions. Applicants should have experience with children and at least a high school diploma. Experience and/or knowledge of disabilities and some college is preferred.

Volunteer/Internship Opportunities:

As an inclusive child development center committed to children of all ability levels and capabilities, we welcome volunteers in a variety of capacities - classroom, office, library, and teacher support. Volunteers are often university students working on degrees in speech, language, education, and related fields. If you're interested in gaining experience working in a school setting, please contact us! Send your resume to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To Apply:

  1. Please print and complete the employment application (below), and
  2. Send the application with your resume to:

    Stacey Bell, Business Director

    by mail:
    Emerson Academy
    1 Valley View Drive
    Round Rock, Texas 78664

    by fax:
    (512) 252-0401

    by email:
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Employment Application

What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson


Contact Us

1 Valley View Drive
Round Rock, Texas 78664 
Phone: (512) 252-0400
Fax:(512) 252-0401
Sarah Johnson, Administrator                   
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Jennifer Green, Program Director
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               Stacey Bell, Business Director
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