Faculty

Our students are only as successful as our faculty are committed. Meet the dedicated souls behind “the Xavier difference.”

Xavier is committed to academic excellence through the selection of faculty who are equally as academically (and socially and emotionally) accomplished. We offer a student-teacher ratio of 7-to-1.

Several faculty members hold Doctorate degrees and nearly a dozen hold Masters degrees. Additionally, our students and families benefit from our four on-site, licensed therapists, along with our art and drama teachers, dyscalculia specialist, college counselor, dance teacher, various extra-curricular and adjunct teachers and P.E. director.

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Founder & Headmaster

Richard de la Cuadra is Xavier Educational Academy’s founder and head of school. An innovative educator who takes a collaborative and personalized approach to education, Richard is dedicated to changing the way students experience school. Richard was born in Ecuador and spent his later childhood years and teen years in New York City, learning at exceptional Jesuit...

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Director of Schools

David Garner is Xavier Educational Academy’s managing director of schools. David champions a relational approach to education, where students learn by developing and applying critical thinking skills to subject content that resonates personally with them. With an MBA from the University of Houston and a Master of Arts in Teaching and Administration from Rice University, David...

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Director, Memorial Campus

Nelliana Acuna serves as the School Director for Xavier’s Memorial campus. She brought her talents to our team in 2019 as a proactive, analytical, results-focused Human Resources specialist with a Master’s degrees in Psychology and Therapy, whose passion from working with people only adds to her cross-functional work background in supporting and coaching individuals towards becoming more resourceful, independent and to plan...

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Director, Woodlands Campus

Candace Runaas serves as the Director of our Woodlands Campus, joining our team in 2019. Candace worked in special education for seven years before pursuing and conferring a Masters degree in Psychology. She is highly trained in systems theory and relationships. She has post-graduate training (Masters of Science in Psychology) and credentials in collaborative practices and dialogue. She joined Xavier in 2019 as a school...

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Director of Admissions and Outreach

Salvador Vela, Jr. is Xavier Educational Academy’s Director of Admissions and Outreach. Equipped with both an Executive C.P.A. from ITESM (Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education) and an MKT-MBA from U-ERRE (Universidad Regiomontana), Sal leverages his more than twenty-five years in sales, marketing, public relations and administration to identify, recruit and matriculate students to Xavier. From automotive...

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Director of Mental Health 

Josie Paul is Xavier’s Director of Mental Health & School Counseling and joined our team in 2013. Thanks to Josie’s leadership, we now offer a full team of therapists providing a wide range of services to students, staff and families. Josie expanded our therapy program to include teacher training on mental health topics, parenting courses and student groups. She also...

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Director of College Counseling

Sarah Rosenblum is Xavier Educational Academy’s Director of College Counseling and educator and practitioner of positive psychology. Having graduated with her B.A. in English from Union College, Sarah earned her Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) from the University of Pennsylvania and a Certificate in College...

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Director of Athletics

Charles Gipson, Jr. is Xavier’s Director of Athletics and has been a member of the team since 2014. Charles was born in Orange, California. Having shown great promise and talent as a baseball player throughout high school and college, Charles was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in 1991 and debuted in the Major leagues in 1998 at the age of 25. He played eight years in the major leagues as outfielder and third baseman for the...

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Director of Development

Dena Robinson serves as Xavier's Director of Development. In this role, she is charged with raising funds to help support our scholarship fund and financial aid to ensure any student is able to attend Xavier despite financial limitations. She oversees our Friends of Xavier (FOX) PTO, a 501c3 non-profit organization, our annual fundraising events including our Spring Gala and...

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Office Manager

Veronica Gonzales is not only Xavier's Office Manager, but she is also a proud Xavier parent. Veronica is crucial to so much of what happens within our campus walls! As our community knows well, there is no job she would turn down and she is always willing to help our students. She is beloved by Xavier parents and staff, as well. She is eager to help and loves to interact with everyone with patience, open-mindedness, caring...

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Finance & Accounting

Jorge Flores has been a part of the Xavier team since 2016, formerly serving as our Registrar and now managing our Finance & Accounting. Jorge was born and raised in El Salvador and moved to the United States with his family in 2015 to be with his family in Houston. He received his Bachelors of Science in Industrial Engineering from UCA University in El Salvador and also completed Postgraduate studies in Business and...

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Registrar & Hebrew Teacher

Barry Barancik joined our team in 2020 where he serves as Xavier's Registrar and teaches Hebrew. As Registrar, Barry manages student registration and records, manage the school's presence in the online school management tool, RenWeb/SIS and documents procedures to maintain consistent action across our quickly expanding school system. Prior to joining the Xavier team, Barry was a Document Control Specialist as Houston...

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4th Grade Teacher & Reading Support Specialist

Brenda Lynne Berger joined our team this year as a 4th Grade Teacher and Reading Support Specialist. Brenda has been teaching for the last 14 years with experience across various grades and subject areas including third through fifth grade, ELA for sixth through eighth grade and as an Academic Support Specialist supporting ESL, reading, math and writing for first through twelfth grade students. Brenda began her educational...

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Drama and Yoga Teacher & Arrowsmith Facilitator

Michelle Caillouet has been a member of the Xavier team since 2010, teaching our students Drama and Yoga and supporting them through the Arrowsmith Program. Michelle received her Bachelor of Arts from Henderson State University. She completed 200 HR Yoga Teacher Training, 90 Hour Devotional Yoga Studies and the Arrowsmith Teaching Certification. She was named “Best Actress in...

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High School History Teacher

Omri Codner joined Xavier in 2020 as a High School History Teacher. Prior to becoming a teacher, Omri was an educator in STEM and literacy for low income areas around Houston through Harris County Public Library. She received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Houston. Outside of the classroom, she loves to explore nature, paint and draw and...

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Wellness Teacher

Lindsey Day is Xavier’s Comprehensive Wellness/Nutrition Teacher for Middle and High School students. She has been a part of our Xavier community since 2016, and simultaneously supports Houstonians as a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach and Certified Broadcast Meteorologist, hosting Wellness segments for CW39. She is currently obtaining her Master’s in Nutrition as she is on a mission to help others optimize...

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Dance & Movement Teacher

Karen Deffner has been teaching Dance and Movement at Xavier since 2018. Karen is a creative, data-driven, strategic marketing professional and experienced dancer. She has extensive experience in Social Media, Graphic Designs, Print, Event Planning, Dance Instruction and more! In addition to being a dance instructor at Xavier, she owns Ballroom Dance Company and is the founder of Motion Dance Center in Houston TX. Karen...

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Therapist

Skeetz Edinger is a valuable member of our mental health support staff, serving as a Counselor at Xavier Educational Academy since 2018. Skeetz received his BS in Psychology from Sam Houston State University and his MS in Psychology from Our Lady of the Lake University. Prior to joining Xavier, Skeetz completed his clinical internship at Interface-Samaritan Counseling...

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Social Studies Teacher

Diane Gillaspie is a Middle School English/Language Arts and Social Studies Teacher at Xavier Educational Academy. Prior to joining our team as a full time teacher in January 2020, Diane was a beloved tutor to Xavier students for eight years. In 1993, Diane was named “Teacher of the Year” by Alief ISD, an award dedicated to the memory of her later father who passed away earlier that year. Diane earned a Bachelor’s Degree in...

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High School Math Teacher

Randy Goswick has been a High School Math Teacher at Xavier Educational Academy since 2015. Randy received his BS in Mathematics/Actuarial Science and MA in Mathematics Education from The University of Iowa and holds an AP Statistics Certification, Texas State Lifetime Certificate for Teaching Mathematics (Grades 6-12) and is a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Randy also serves as the Xavier National...

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Therapist

Melanie Gregg, PhD, is a full-time parent of a Xavier student and part-time therapist to our community of Xavier students! After joining our Xavier community as a Xavier parent last year, she decided it was a great place to bring her talents as it felt like “a home away from home.” Dr. Gregg utilizes her 24+ years of experience in child and family therapy to help our students manage anxiety through mindfulness techniques....

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Math & Science Teacher

Ann Montalvo Guillerman joined our team in 2020 as a Math and Science Teacher. Having taught math and science in various settings, she brings a breadth of experience to our STEM team. Ann taught a senior level microbiology lab in college, was a college campus tutor for math and science, taught math and science in both public and private high school settings and home schooled her son for several years. She also enjoyed various...

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Middle School Math Teacher

Rachel Hartman is a Middle School Math Teacher at Xavier, joining our team in 2017. She has also taught math to our high school students. Rachel graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2005 with a Bachelors in Business Administration, Marketing. She then received her teaching certification and Masters in Elementary Education at The University of Houston. She also holds certifications in “Gifted and Talented” and...

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Math & Science Teacher

Kathy Hawkins is a High School Math and Science Teacher at Xavier, currently teaching our students Algebra 2, Trigonometry, Algebra I and Physics. She has been a member of our team since 2017 and also serves as the Yearbook Advisor, ensuring that we capture our students throughout the year. Prior to joining the Xavier team, Kathy served as a high school math teacher for 15 years and as a Senior Vice President at JPMorgan...

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High School English Teacher

Ty Hayes is one of the newest members of our team, joining Xavier as a High School English Teacher, where he teachers 10th and 11th grades. With eight years of experience in cross-cultural Secondary and Higher Education, Ty is a wonderful addition to our team as he is truly passionate about the transformative power of a Liberal Arts education. Ty received a B.A. in Humanities from Lubbock Christian University and a M.A. in...

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Art Teacher

Rose Oshman Johnston is Xavier Educational Academy’s Fine Arts Teacher and has been a part of our community since 2010. Rose also leads our Student Art Club. She is a Certified teacher in both Texas and Arizona and holds a BA in French and BA in Art and a MFA in Art Education. She studied French, Spanish, Art and Anthropology at University of Houston; and then, studied Ceramics and Native American Cultures at Northern Arizona...

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Elementary School Teacher

Hena Karim is an Elementary Teacher at Xavier Educational Academy's Woodlands campus. She joined our team in 2018. Hena holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education and Economics. When she isn’t teaching her students, she loves spending time with her family, reading and traveling.

Contact Hena here.

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English Department Head

Erin Keith is a 9th and 12th grade English Teacher at Xavier Educational Academy and our English Department Head, where she is proudly celebrating nearly a dozen years of service! Though a native Houstonian, Erin enjoyed globetrotting throughout her studies: she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics with a specialization in Italian Studies from John Cabot University in Rome, and a Master's in Food Governance from the...

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High School STEM Teacher

Michael Krumholz is a High School Math and Science Teacher at Xavier, joining the team in 2016. Michael also served as the head of our Woodlands campus Math and Science Department in its first and second years of operation. He’s taught a number of math and science courses including Algebra I and II, College Algebra, Precalculus, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Middle-School Math and Science. He’s also guided students through...

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Music Teacher

Linda Lowe is a Music Teacher at Xavier and the founding Artistic Director of the Writers in the Round Concert Series, a longtime community partner of our school. She is a prolific poet, songwriter, producer, and recording artist who has released three books of poetry and six original albums, all of which have won critical acclaim internationally. Linda won the 1984 Kerrville Folk festival...

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Music Teacher

Judi Messina is a music teacher at Xavier through its partnership with Writers in the Round. She has taught piano and voice full-time in Houston since 1987, and spends every Friday night playing keyboard for ComedySportz, an improv troupe. She grew up in the musical theatre community in Cleveland, Ohio, sneaking into the local theatre, but quickly got hired to accompany and arrange music. She also teaches improvisation,...

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Music Teacher - Guitar

Chance Moore serves as a Music Teacher at Xavier thanks to our partnership with Writers in the Round. After completing his work at Chireno High School, in Chireno, Texas, in 2011, Chance Moore entered Angelina College, where he earned an Associate degree in music. A major highlight from his Angelina years was performing as the All-State Jazz Guitarist at the Texas Music Educators Association in San Antonio in 2013....

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History Teacher

Cooper Paul teaches World Geography, AP and on-level U.S. Government, as well as Economics at Xavier and is a proud Xavier alumna. She began her Xavier journey her sophomore year in high school as a dancer traveling between Houston and New York City who needed a flexible option as she pursued her dance career. Cooper also teaches some of our elective courses including this...

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Collaborative Leadership Teacher

Ilana Reisz teachers Collaborative Leadership at Xavier. She wanted to be a physical therapist since she was a teen growing up in Israel and when her family emigrated to the U.S., she was able to realize that dream. After earning a B.S. from New York University, Ilana had a long and varied career in physical therapy including at The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR), managing her private practice, and in...

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Therapist

Misti Rel, LMFT has served as a therapist on our mental health counseling team since 2015. Misti received her Masters in Psychology specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy from Our Lady of the Lake University. Through the course of her 34 year career in the field, she has worked with clients dealing with challenges in the areas of relationships, marriage, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, serious mental illness and...

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Music Teacher

Bill Royall has been teaching Music courses at Xavier since 2014. He teachers our students various courses including guitar, bass, drums, songwriting, production, appreciation, ukulele and piano. Over the last two decades Bill Royall has taught in Houston and performed all over Texas and abroad. Bill teaches rock, blues, classical and jazz, with an emphasis on aural development, structure, music theory, rhythm and...

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Digital Art Teacher

Natalie Saab is Xavier Educational Academy’s Digital Art Teacher, joining our team in 2019. Natalie graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor's in Studio Painting. Outside of the classroom, Natalie utilizes her talents as a freelance illustrator and painter, specializing in character design and portraiture.

Contact Natalie here.

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Dyscalculia Tutor

Dr. Anneke Schreuder has been a part of the Xavier team since 2014, serving as its Dyscalculia tutor.

Dr. Schreuder follows and implements the latest research on the subject of learning differences and best practices for intervention. She volunteered at Neuhaus and a fMRI study at UT and was trained as a reading tutor at UT. The tutoring experience brought back fond memories of her first student job as a Math...

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English & Social Studies Teacher

Elizabeth Strelow is an English and Social Studies teacher at Xavier, joining our team in 2019. Prior to joining Xavier, Elizabeth was a writing instructor, English tutor and an educator in arts education. Over the last 20 years, she’s taught film making, creative writing, voice and musical theater. She also excels in narrative therapy and the therapeutic uses of music and meditation. She utilizes a variety of creative tools...

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Middle School Math & Science Teacher

William vonReichbauer is a Middle School Math and Science Teacher at Xavier Educational Academy and an accomplished musician. He joined our team in 2017, after teaching for over a dozen years. William received his Bachelor of Music from University of North Carolina School of the Arts and completed a HopeWerks artist residency with Hope Stone Inc.; The William R. Kenan, Jr. Fellowship with Spoleto Festival USA; The Semans Art...

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Head of Arrowsmith

David Wizig oversees the Barbara Arrowsmith Program at Xavier. He is an experienced, award-winning educator with 40 years of teaching experience. He grew up in Texas. Following his graduation from the University of Texas at Austin with honors in English and in Judaic Studies, he got married. He and his wife spent their honeymoon in a Peace Corps program in Israel. Upon their...

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STEM Teacher

Joshua Yip is Xavier Educational Academy’s Chemistry and STEM Teacher. Joshua has been a member of the Xavier team for more than six years, first joining us as a math and science tutor to Xavier students and students from other schools who join our Xavier community as part of our Homework Club. As a STEM teacher at Xavier, Joshua teaches math and science courses (Chemistry,...

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Neurofeedback Clinician

Dr. Stephanie Zepeda joined Xavier Academy in 2017 offering her neurofeedback services to students and families of Xavier after completing her dissertation work using neuromodualtory interventions for cancer pain at MD Anderson Cancer Center. She has loved getting to be a part of such a collaborative effort of doing neurofeedback at a school in conjunction with the staff and...

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