> English & Social Studies Department
Br. Ted Hamilton
Br. Ted Hamilton is a certified teacher with over six years of curriculum development and instruction experience. He graduated from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He teaches a variety of middle and high school courses at APA including AP Research, Seminar and US History. Br. Ted has served as an AP Reader for Seminar and was a top 5 finalist for Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2018. He also coaches policy debate, teaches elective courses such as ultimate frisbee and hand percussion and collaborates with other educators to coordinate APA’s interfaith relationships with partner schools. He joined APA in 2013.
Mr. Robbie Williams
Mr. Robbie Williams will be joining the faculty of Austin Peace Academy for the 2020-21 school year. He brings 7 years of teaching experience in the public and private school spheres. He holds a Certification from the state of Texas for Middle and High School Social studies education. Mr. Williams earned his BA in Psychology from the University of Texas at Dallas. In his career, he has taught a myriad of subjects including 4 years of AP Human Geography, 3 years of AP World History, and 2 years of AP US History with many of his students outperforming state, national, and global averages. He has also taught psychology and sociology classes, and acted as an International Baccalaureate extended essay supervisor.
In the classroom, Mr. Williams values opportunities for his students to get hands-on with history and reach beyond their textbooks using the full body of historical evidence available to inform their analyses. This approach to history is vital for developing critical thinking skills, but it also makes for informed and involved future citizens. Mr. Williams also helps his students leverage their research and analysis skills into successes in the annual National History Day competition. In the past 3 years, his students have achieved numerous accolades at the regional and state levels, with students in the Senior and Junior divisions competing in the National Contest in Washington, DC in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Robbie Williams is dedicated to his field of study and considers himself a lifetime learner. Most importantly, he is committed to the academic and personal growth of his students, and we are excited to have him join our team. Mr. Williams will teach Social Studies to Middle and Upper School students.
Ms. Amna Rahman
Ms. Amna Rahman graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LLb Hons) and completed her Masters in English specializing in nineteenth century language and culture. She has dedicated five years to teaching Language Arts at APA to various middle and upper school classes where she strives to teach content in a fun, student centered, yet challenging fashion while simultaneously aligning with AP requirements. She has completed several AP training courses at the University of Texas and her students have consistently scored above national norms in the AP examination. Ms. Amna has coached various PSIA and MIST events and has been responsible for the successful staging of four school drama productions. She focuses on building strong relationships of trust and respect with students to foster an optimal environment for holistic student growth. Ms. Amna was the recipient of the Teacher of the Year Award in 2014-5. She joined APA in 2011.
Ms. Tracy Dickson
Ms. Tracy Dickson, a veteran English teacher, joins APA in 2020 with more than 15 years of experience teaching students from middle school to college level high school English classes. She holds certifications in New York, Vermont and Texas and has a BA in English from SUNY Oneonta and an MA in Public Policy from SUNY Empire State College. Ms. Dickson is a five time recipient of the Dutchess County Excellence in Education award for developing programs to create student-centered curricula and library child development programs. Ms. Dickson has extensive experience in developing curricula, classroom management plans and project based learning projects. Prior to obtaining her teaching certification, she worked as a professional journalist and fundraiser. She enjoys reading novels with her students and making connections between in-class assignments and “real world” reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. Ms. Tracy will teach Middle School English.
> Science Department
Ms. Nahed Abou Galala
Ms. Nahed Abou Galala has a degree in Computer Science from Mu’tah University in Jordan and also holds a diploma in High Educational Skills. She is also certified in computer science for 8-12 grades. She worked as a computer programmer in Jordan and as a teacher in chemistry and computer technology in Indiana. In addition to teaching science and computer classes in middle and upper school, she is the school’s main IT support for both software and hardware areas. Ms. Nahed has attended several educational workshops in using “Mimio Interactive projectors” in the classrooms and the summer UT Summer Institute for teaching Pre-AP Science for middle school, AP Computer Science A, and AP Chemistry. She has finished 36 hours of training in teaching Forensic Science for Upper School. Ms. Nahed was rewarded the “Principal’s Award” for meeting and exceeding all standards in 2010 – 2011. She joined APA in 2006.
Mr. Kiel Kietlinski
Mr. Kiel Kietlinski was born and raised in Austin, Texas. He attended Stephen F. Austin University and Southern Illinois University obtaining two Bachelor’s Degrees in Biology and Science Education, and a Master’s Degree in Plant Biology. While working on his Master’s Degree, Mr. Kietlinski spent time in Utah working in a genetics lab studying grain and weedy amaranths from North and South America. He additionally spent time working in the Academic Assistance & Resource Center (AARC) at Stephen F. Austin State University tutoring students in biology, geology, and chemistry. In college, Mr. Kietlinski was passionate about working with electron microscopes and eventually ended up working in an Electron Microscopy lab at Southern Illinois University. He has over 10 years of combined experience working as a Lab Instructor (Teaching Assistant) and as a Secondary Science Teacher at various public institutions.
Mr. Kietlinski actively sponsors students in the Austin Regional Science Fair. Under his direction students have won numerous awards and have even competed in the state science fair in San Antonio. He is an adjunct faculty member in the Biotechnology department at Austin Community College. In his classroom, Mr. Kietlinski loves interacting with students and bringing science to life in his classroom. In his free time, he enjoys caving, hiking, and light microscopy. Mr. Kietlinski joins APA in 2020 and will teach Science to Middle and Upper School students.
> Math Department
Mrs. Sarah Sayegh
Mrs. Sarah Sayegh holds a Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting from The University of Texas at Austin and is certified to teach both Middle School Mathematics and Elementary Generalist. She returns to APA this year to serve as a Middle/Upper School Mathematics teacher. Mrs. Sayegh has previously taught in British International Schools in expat communities in Central Africa. She has attended various workshops geared towards integrating technology into the classroom. Mrs. Sayegh aspires to instill her passion for Mathematics in her students as they discover the applications in their daily lives. She strives to make her classroom a fun and engaging learning environment. She joined APA in 2013 and now returns to APA in 2019 for her third year of teaching.
Ms. Maisaa Hawana
Ms. Maisaa Hawana graduated with a B. Sc. degree in Computer Engineering from Iowa State University and a diploma in Communications Engineering from Public Authority of Applied Education and Training, Kuwait. She also received her Masters of Education in Education with Principalship from Concordia University in 2017. Prior to joining APA, she worked for the State of Texas as a TAKS exam scorer and as a teacher’s aide at a childcare center. Her qualifications include certified Math Middle/High School teacher, childhood development training and several computer certifications. In addition to teaching mathematics in school, she is in charge of the finances, the day to day operations and works closely with the IT department in software and hardware maintenance issues. Ms. Maisaa has attended many workshops including Thinking Maps, training in using “Mimio Interactive projectors” in the classrooms and the summer UT Summer Institute for teaching Pre-AP Mathematics for Middle school and Upper school. She was teacher of the year for academic 2012-2013. Currently she is the Principal Designated School Official (PDSO) for Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) for International Students and is the official Notary for APA. Ms. Hawana also teaches Upper School Geometry. She joined APA in 2008.
Ms. Cara Bearden
Ms. Cara Bearden completed her degree in Mathematics from Alverno College in 2005. She received her Secondary Math Certification in 2007 for Texas. She taught math for seven years at Crockett High School, where she also served as the AP math teacher lead. In 2012, she joined the National Math and Science Initiative as a presenter and mentor. Ms. Bearden offers exam preparation sessions for students in AP statistics and general AP math exam preparation. At NMSI, she also mentors teachers, providing them with resources and offering support. She joined APA in 2018.
Ms. Penny Smeltzer
Ms. Penny Smeltzer earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and History, with an additional certification in English, from Western Michigan University. Ms. Penny boasts an incredibly diverse and well-rounded background in teaching Mathematics. Her passion is Advanced Placement Statistics. In addition to teaching at Austin Peace Academy, she continues to serve as a consultant for the College board, as an AP grader and rubric writer, and member of the AP Statistics Test Development Committee. Penny also works as a statistics content specialist for the National Mathematics and Science Initiative. Her dedication to professional development has helped teachers and students from coast to coast as well as in Singapore and Hong Kong. Penny’s recognition includes 2015 Presidential Award Finalist, 2011 O’Donnell AP Teacher of the Year, 2010 Intel Teacher of Merit, 2009 Texas Exes Outstanding Teacher, the 2008 national winner of the Siemen’s Teacher Award, 2007 District Teacher of the Year, and 2006 Toyota International Teacher Award. This is a result of her connecting material to the students and engaging with them on a deeper level. Ms. Penny joined the APA community from Westwood High school as a Mathematics teacher as well as a peer advisor and mentor for the APA Teaching Staff for Math and Science. Ms. Penny joined APA in 2015.
> Co-Curricular Department
Ms. Shabana Tabassum
Ms. Shabana Tabassum has a Bachelor of Science degree from Bangalore University, India and has completed a Diploma in Software Applications. Her prior experience includes teaching at lower elementary school at International School in Saudi Arabia as well as computer system administration. Her artistic and creative background lead to her becoming APA’s art teacher, where her high standards motivate students to put forth their best into their artwork. Furthermore, her passion for the field ignites interest for the students and allows them to tap unfulfilled potential. She joined APA in 2010.