Meet Our Team!

Executive Director/Administrator
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.


Jennifer 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.
Caterpillars - Infants
Becca Hunt is the lead teacher for the Caterpillar 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 Caterpillars.  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.
Melva Zapata is a support teacher in a variety of classrooms, more specifically she helps with the Infant class in the mornings and the After School class in the afternoons. She graduated from Howard College Southwest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf with the certification in Paraprofessional for the deaf and hard of hearing in Big Spring, Texas. In the past Melva taught at Ballet Folklorico Group, for children ages three to twelve, as well as working at the Boys and Girls Club of America in Del Rio, Texas and caregiving for children of her friends and family. In her free time Melva likes to spend time with her friends, family and her dog, Chloe.

Ladybugs - 1-2 Year Olds
Mindy 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

Beverly 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.

Bumblebees 3-4 Year Olds

(PHOTO COMING SOON) 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.

Dragonflies  3 1/2 - 5 Year Olds

Fireflies 4 - 5 Year Olds
Yesenia Carbajal 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.

Grasshoppers 2 - 5 Year Olds Adaptive Preschool Program
Mikayla McMurtray is the co-teacher in the Grasshopper class. She graduated in 2013 from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She has experience with many ages and abilities, especially involving children with behavioral difficulties and has been caregiving and babysitting for over eight years. She loves kids and is always searching for new ways to connect and learn with them. Mikayla plans to attend graduate school in the near future to earn a master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.
Melissa "Miss Pickles" Boaz is the co-teacher in the Grasshopper class. Melissa 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. She is near the completion of her CDA program (Child Development Associate's) and her co-workers at Emerson could not be more proud.  She is an amazing asset to the children with special needs, their families and her co-teachers.

Beetles After School Program
Christina Cranor is our after-school program leader.  Christina often works one on one with children who need extra behavioral support or support in daily living skills.  Christina has been with Emerson Academy for two years, and prior had several years of experience working in early childhood education settings.  Christina is a loving and caring teacher and has been raising her two nephews for the past year and would do anything for a child in need.  She has an adverturous spirit, encourages learning through sensory activities, singing, gardening and hands on play.  She cares deeply for the children with whom she works, which shows in her interactions with the kids and their parents.

Support Staff

Emily 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 10 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:
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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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