Primary School Staff Biographies
Mrs. Ambreen Saeed earned her Bachelor of Science Degree and her Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of Punjab in Lahore, Pakistan. She also earned a paraprofessional certificate from ACC and attended a wide variety of workshops leading to certifications. In 2011, she earned a NAMC preschool/kindergarten Teaching Diploma for Montessori Schools. Her experience in the Montessori learning method and its implementation will be of great benefit to the students in fostering a love of learning through play and exploration. Her creative and artistic approach to teaching will further this dynamic in the classroom. Along with her enriching childhood education background, she has served as the lower school teacher assistant at APA for six years. This extensive experience along with her maternal and patient personality will provide an enriching and nurturing environment for our youngest students. In 2015, she received the best TA award from APA. Ms Ambreen also served as the PSIA Spelling Coach/Grader and Assistant Director. She is also very involved in the local community. She joined APA in 2011.
Mrs. Nahid Hassan completed her degree in Early Childhood Education from Seneca College in Toronto. In Toronto, she created engaging and enriching educational material for students of wide age ranges. Additionally, she assisted in a Kindergarten classroom where she taught and tested different levels of students. Over the past few years, she volunteered in many capacities at APA where she developed a familiarity with the the school’s mission, values, and dynamics. Ms. Hassan’s educational background and past work experience provides her with the tools to create the perfect learning environment to develop these young minds. Her nurturing and patient personality, along with her background experience and education, will make her an asset to the Pre-K department. She joined APA in 2018.
Elementary School Department
Mrs. Fatima Baginda earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature at Mindanao State University. From 2008 to 2009 she served as a youth representative to the Philippine Congress and helped draft and implement nationwide programs focused on improving child literacy. After graduating, she worked as an ESL teacher for Korean students at Seattle Effective Learning Center (Philippines). She previously taught Pre-K and Kindergarten at two highly prestigious schools, Kinhaven in Virginia and the Lowell School in Washington, DC. She has extensive experience with Early Childhood education and is very excited to be working at APA. Her experience in both curriculum development and in the classroom, along with her nurturing, creative, and innovative personality make her an excellent addition to our Lower Elementary School. She joined APA in 2014.
Ms. Dorion DeMeyer Dorion DeMeyer currently teaches first grade at Austin Peace Academy. Previously, she was a third through fifth grade reading intervention teacher for The Meadows Center For Preventing Educational Risk, The University of Texas at Austin College of Education. Prior to that, she taught a K-2 classroom at Austin Village Academy, with a focus on reading and writing instruction and social emotional learning. She has also owned her own educational consulting business since 2008 in which she tutors K-5th grades in all subjects. She collaborates with teachers on classroom design, conducts parent/homeschool curriculum workshops, and manages recreational programs for youth. From 2005 through 2008 she worked for Leander ISD as a first grade teacher, a special education teaching assistant, and an early learning environment (ELE) lead teacher. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio in interdisciplinary studies, with specializations in early childhood education (ECE) and reading, grades 1-8. Ms. Demeyer joined APA in 2014.
Mrs. Naveen Khan returns to APA to serve as the second grade teacher. Mrs. Khan completed her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Child Learning and Development from the University of Texas at Dallas. Her vast teaching experience shines through in the classroom. Mrs. Khan has worked many years as a Montessori school teacher. Her experience in a Montessori classroom allows her to provide a different dynamic to learning that benefits the students, in which they are encouraged to explore the world around them. Her goal is to ensure that all her students have a love of learning, just as she does. Mrs. Khan was a first grade teacher at APA a few of years ago and took some time off to be with her family. During her time off, Mrs. Khan worked as a tutor to students in China. She worked for years teaching Chinese students how to read, write, and speak English. Mrs. Khan’s virtual teaching experience has provided for a new understanding of different methods of teaching. Mrs. Khan’s experience as a teacher, coupled with her ability to integrate Islamic learning, leads to an enriching and nurturing Islamic environment for her students. Mrs. Khan worked at APA from 2014-2016 and rejoined in 2018.
Ms. Sumayra Hossain completed a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Women and Gender Studies from UT, Austin . She had previously majored in childhood development and has a good understanding on early childhood education and child development. Due to her experience working with toddlers, she can create a fun learning environment. Ms. Sumayra loves teaching and guiding toddlers through play-based learning with a special focus on Art. She has worked with students from different cultural backgrounds and varying learning abilities in the past and understands and addresses the needs of each. Her pleasant, patient, and enthusiastic demeanor makes her an exciting addition as APA’s new Pre-K3 teacher. This year, Ms. Sumayra is teaching 3rd grade this year. She joined the APA team in 2016.
Mrs. Sheila Brown comes to Austin Peace Academy from Boston Public Schools. She has been a Fourth Grade Teacher, Math Leadership Coordinator for grades 3-5, Assessment Benchmark Coordinator for grades 3-5, Teacher Mentor/Leader for the past 24 years and State Testing Coordinator for the past 14 years. She has a Bachelor Degree from Regis College and a Masters Degree in elementary education from Framingham State College. She has taken Education Administration Leadership courses at the University of Massachusetts as well. She is certified in the following content area: Elementary 1-6, English language learner and Math ELL. She is deeply involved in looking at student work and data, including trends over time, and to inform sound instructional practices in her grade level. Her classroom was designated by the Principal as a “learning site” for principals and outside staff to observe best teaching practices in Math and Readers & Writers workshop. She has led school wide workshops on ” Discourse” and how to develop it in the instructional setting to allow student discussion to enhance learning in all areas. She has organized family day events for the school as a community builder and a way to increase parent involvement. Ms. Brown also teaches 7th Grade History. She joined APA in 2012.
Mrs. Casey Duck-Garcia graduated from an International Baccalaureate high school program in Tulsa, Oklahoma before receiving her BA from Texas Christian University, Magna Cum Laude. Her graduate studies took place at the University of Texas Arlington, where she earned her Master of Science in Social Work, as a Presidential Scholar with Summa Cum Laude distinction. Intermingled throughout and since this time she has worked as a licensed educator at the elementary level with English Language Learners over 15 years in small and large schools both public and private. She taught migrant students in Colorado through AmeriCorps National Service, worked in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a special education teacher and served families and children at the Center for Creative Living in Fort Worth. She lived and worked on the extremely remote Navajo Reservation in Arizona working with students in the gifted and talented as well as special education programs. The past eight years she has taught in the Del Valle ISD of Austin serving students primarily in the Response to Intervention setting. Additionally, she runs her own yoga for youth program where she works with small groups of students to integrate movement, mindfulness and problem solving skills both on and off the mat. In addition to teaching 5th grade, Ms. Garcia also teaches 6th Grade English. She joined APA in 2013.
Mr. Joseph Florencio (Coach Flo) joins Austin Peace Academy with extensive teaching and coaching experience. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1999 and then went on to complete his Masters degree in History in 2001. Upon graduation through to present day, he taught history at different levels for Middle and High School students including all the AP courses (US History, World History, European History, Macroeconomic), with much exposure to multi-cultural populations and a focus on critical analysis plus essay writing. Additionally, for many of these institutions he led the physical education program, along with coaching different sports, including basketball. His experience as a Dorm Parent at St. Thomas More School along with his coaching background will serve him well as APA’s new Personal Development Coach. Coach Florencio knows how to relate with students and motivates them. He previously worked at an Islamic school – Al-Noor Academy in Mansfield, MA.
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 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.