School Leadership & Staff

Our Leadership

Principal: Nicole Griffith

Nicole Griffith

Principal Nicole Griffith joins the Ann Richards School community with 16 years of service in public education, most recently as the Principal of McCallum High School. Before her tenure at McCallum High School, Griffith taught 9th-grade World Geography before stepping into a leadership role as the Academy Director at Austin High School. Principal Griffith believes the middle and high school years are a time for students to try new things, explore their passions, and learn from their mistakes. She dedicates herself to providing enriching experiences that give students opportunities to take their learning to a deeper level and sees magical outcomes when teachers are given the opportunity, encouragement, and support to create authentic experiences for their students. Ms. Griffith earned a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and Masters of Educational and Community Leadership from Texas State University. In her free time, Ms. Griffith loves to read and spends time adventuring outdoors with her wife and son, who is in 2nd grade and currently ‘assisting’ as a coach for the Ann Richards School Volleyball team.

Academy Director: Christina Almaraz Ortiz

Christina Almaraz Ortiz

Christina Almaraz Ortiz has spent the last 24 years serving school communities. Born and raised in San Antonio, her educational pathway began with San Antonio ISD, where she served as a math and Spanish teacher. She earned her master’s degree and began her administrative career with Austin ISD. After serving the International High School, the Early College program, and a single-gender environment, she brings in a sense of community, service, and progress. She values education and the many opportunities it provides individuals, families, and communities. Therefore, her values align with the mission of the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. She is ready to support our STARS and families through their educational journey. Christina is married to her fun-loving husband and they have one daughter, who currently is working and attending college. They spend quality time with family, friends, and their fur baby, Ripley.

Assistant Principal, High School: Ychacka Sells

Ychacka Sells

Ychacka Sells embarked on her educational career in 2007, undertaking various roles that have shaped her journey. She began as a science teacher, later assuming the responsibilities of a science department chair, and subsequently served as the Coordinator for the New Tech Academy at Akins High School. Following her tenure at Akins, she transitioned into the role of an assistant principal, dedicating four years to Lyndon Baines Johnson High School. Her tireless commitment and dedication to both the Austin Independent School District (AISD) and LBJ Early College High School earned her the distinguished recognition of being named a finalist for the 2023 Assistant Principal of the Year award. Throughout her career, Ychacka Sells has garnered invaluable insights into the importance of providing an equitable education for all students. Her diverse leadership experiences have equipped her with the tools and wisdom necessary to foster an environment where students, teachers, and families collectively view education as a means to explore and understand the world around them. In terms of her educational background, Ms. Sells holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Prairie View A&M University and a Master of Educational Leadership from Texas State University. Beyond her professional life, she shares a fulfilling married life with her childhood sweetheart, and together, they are proud parents to three intelligent and beautiful daughters. During her leisure time, she finds solace in the pages of a good novel and cherishes moments spent with her family and friends.

Assistant Principal, Middle School: Shelly Hopson

Shelly Hopson

Shelly Hopson is honored to join the Star family! Ms. Hopson earned her Masters degree in Educational Leadership from Texas State University and a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Meredith College (an all women’s school). Ms. Hopson’s teaching career began in Raleigh, NC at Washington GT Magnet Elementary. Her family moved to the Austin area in 2011, providing Ms. Hopson an opportunity to teach, learn, and grow in the International Baccalaureate curriculum in both Leander ISD at Grandview Hills Elementary and Meridian World School in Round Rock, Texas. She was active in leadership roles that promoted student voice and student leadership, inclusivity through equitable practices, and ensuring that every student has access to a quality education. Ms Hopson joins Ann Richards from a middle school in Leander ISD where she recently served as an Assistant Principal, Section 504 and Testing Coordinator. Ms. Hopson is grateful for the opportunity to serve at Ann Richards and strongly believes her entire career in education has been motivated by the goals of supporting and empowering others to be impactful in public education. She is excited to build relationships and partner with Star students and their families. She wants the community to know that she sees her young self in many of the young women that walk the Ann Richards halls. Ms. Hopson is committed to upholding the school’s five tenets, as well as providing a safe and joyful learning environment in which we all can bravely strive and thrive with positivity, respect, integrity, determination and excelling students to be their best self. Ms. Hopson is also a proud member of the esteemed Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. In her free time, Ms. Hopson enjoys traveling, reading, cooking, spending time with family and playing with her two Labrador Retrievers, Sadie and Ivy.

2023-2024 Faculty & Staff Contacts

Aguilar Linda Middle School Band Director, Fine Arts Co-Chair (512) 414-3236
Alvarado Peggy Data Processing Assistant (512) 414-3236
Anderson Mara Parent Support Specialist (512) 414-3236 ext. 43348
Anderson Minda Librarian (512) 414-3236 ext. 54706
Bacarisse Kaley English (512) 414-3236
Banks Madison Special Education (512) 414-3236 ext. 28165
Blackburn Donna STEM (512) 414-3236
Breault Benjamin Social Studies (512) 414-3236
Brewster James Social Studies (512) 414-3236
Brown Meg Physical Education, Chair (512) 414-3236
Buechele Christine Math (512) 414-3236
Burnell Ava Math (512) 414-3236
Butler Heather Art (512) 414-3236
Castro Mayra SRO (512) 414-3236
Connell Oren Maker Technology Coach/Engineering (512) 414-3236
Dean Margaret English (512) 414-3236
DiCuffa Jill Director of Programs (512) 414-3236 ext. 53013
Eakin Abby French, LOTE Chair (512) 414-3236
Esparza Jae Attendance Specialist (512) 414-3236
Espinosa Gloria Counselor’s Secretary (512) 414-3236 ext. 53268
Fitzgerald Amanda Science (512) 414-3236
Fry Emily Science (512) 414-3236
Garcia Lisa Secretary (512) 414-3236 ext. 53015
Griffith Nicole Principal (512) 414-3236
Head Baylie Theater (512) 414-3236
Heineman Eric College Advisor (512) 414-3236 ext. 53017
Hernandez Jannette Campus Safety Monitor (512) 414-3236
Ho Steffanie School Nurse (512) 414-3240
Hopson Shelly Assistant Principal: Middle School (512) 414-3236
House Jacob Social Studies (512) 414-3236
Howk Jane 9th-10th Counselor (512) 414-3236 ext. 53020
Jang Jake Social Studies (512) 414-3236
Jenkins Sierra Physical Education (512) 414-3236
Josephson Ana Engineering (512) 414-3236
Kizer Adrienne Science, Co-Chair (512) 414-3236
Langford Andrew Biomedical/Chemistry/Biology, Science Co-Chair (512) 414-3236
Langley Jamie English, ELA Co-Chair (512) 414-3236
Limón Barbara Attendance/Subs/PEIMS (512) 414-3236 ext. 43347
Martínez Rivera Maria Registrar/College Center (512) 414-3236 ext. 53033
Mayo Carey Librarian Assistant (512) 414-3236 ext. 53035
Miesner Ella Physics (512) 414-3236
Moede Rachel Dyslexia Interventionist (512) 414-3236 ext. 28165
Molina Virginia Head Custodian (512) 414-3236
Morgan Roman Special Education (512) 414-3236 ext. 28165
Morin Sylvia Spanish (512) 414-3236
O’Donnell Amber Math (512) 414-3236
Ortiz Christina Academy Director (512) 414-3236
Peralta Beatrice Bookkeeper (512) 414-3236
Potts Cervantes Kassandra Physical Education (512) 414-3236
Ramírez Jennifer Special Education/Teacher Assistant (512) 414-3236 ext. 28165
Ramírez Juan Social Studies/Economics (512) 414-3236
Roberts Doy Dance, Fine Arts Co-Chair (512) 414-3236 ext. 53040
Robertson Jana Director of Bands (512) 414-3236
Rodriguez Amanda English (512) 414-3236
Roy Sharon STARS Chair (512) 414-3236
Rutz Christena Lead Counselor – 6th-8th (512) 414-3236 ext. 53043
Sanchez Victoria Social Studies (512) 414-3236
Sandberg-Thakrar Tami Social Studies (512) 414-3236
Sanders Denise Chemistry/Biomedical (512) 414-3236
Scott Frank Cafeteria Manager (512) 414-3236
Sells Ychacka Assistant Principal: High School (512) 414-3236
Smith Matt Art (512) 414-3236
Soden Roger Media, CTE Chair (512) 414-3236
Stephen Akshata 11th-12th Counselor (512) 414-3236 ext. 57497
Strubhar Dannie STEM (512) 414-3236
Tijerina Alejandro Orchestra Director (512) 414-3236
Udy Gwyneth Math (512) 414-3236
Vásquez Yvette Choir/Piano/Yearbook (512) 414-3236
Walker Sarah English, ELA Co-Chair (512) 414-3236
Warner Carey STARS (512) 414-3236
Welser Brianne Social Studies, Chair (512) 414-3236
Whiteaker Amy Science (512) 414-3236
White Kristine Athletic Trainer (512) 414-3236
Williams Eboni Math (512) 414-3236
Willie Danielle English (512) 414-3236
Wunderlich Ruth Math (512) 414-3236

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