Aja Alexander, Dean of Students
Aja Alexander has a strong commitment to inspiring the youth and assisting students reach their full potential. As a Detroit, Michigan native, Ms. Alexander began her educational experience at Eastern Michigan University obtaining not only a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Mathematics but also a master’s degree in Urban/Diversity Education. This master’s has served as a great guide for learning the best practices for instructing and motivating the population she has so much desired to educate. Ms. Alexander has also obtained a Master’s in Educational Administration within her 7 years of teaching. She has made significant contributions to the overall school culture at AMS including leading various student organizations, a participant in several school committees and assisting in numerous after school events. Previously, her classroom has been featured as a Verizon Innovative Learning Model Classroom, available for classroom visits from in and out of school educators. Furthermore, she has been a presenter for in-district professional development and for out-of-district conferences such as the VILs Virtual Conference and VILs Cohort 5 Leader Summit. Ms. Alexander has been told she has a natural gift of educating and leading and she is eager to continue to display this as she continues her educational journey as the Dean of Students at Austin Middle School.
Dr. Channa Barrett, Principal
Dr. Channa Barrett is currently in her second year as principal of Austin Middle School. Previously, she spent four years as the Area Principal of STEM and Advanced Academics at James Bowie High School leading the Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and Dual Credit (DC) programs. Through her work at Bowie, she concentrated her team's efforts in gaining distinctions, increasing the “Meets” (+12 points) and “Mastery” (+16 points) performance levels on the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR).
Dr. Barrett served on the Arlington ISD's College, Career, and Military Readiness Team participating as an advisor for secondary schools through the Advanced Academics Action Consortiums. Additionally, Dr. Barrett was appointed to serve on the Texas Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) Streamlining Committee tasked with making recommendations to the State Board of Education (SBOE) on modifications of science TEKS.
Dr. Barrett’s professional strengths are building Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) and academic teams. Through her work at James Bowie High School (Arlington ISD), she developed an Instructional Model Guide (IMG), a per six weeks implementation guide for PLCs. Through her work at Oscar Dean Wyatt High School (Fort Worth ISD), she implemented weekly professional development seminars on topics such as Presenting Instructional Content, Lesson Structure and Pacing, Questioning, Academic Feedback, Grouping Students, Teacher Content Knowledge (Subject-Matter Knowledge- SMK), Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK), Thinking, Problem Solving, and Developing Instructional Plans. Also through her work at FWISD, she lead schools (Oscar Dean Wyatt High School, Dunbar High School, Carter Riverside High School) in the development of freshman academic teams in an effort to improve graduation rates.
She received a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Oklahoma, a Master of Education degree from University of Texas at Arlington, a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Texas Christian University, and a Texas Superintendent Certification from Lamar University. Most importantly, her greatest task will be building relationships with AMS Faculty, Staff, Parents, and Community Members. She believes, "Together, we CAN and we WILL increase student achievement across all disciplines and grade levels at Austin."
Mr. Joshua Zamora, Assistant Principal
For the past four years, Mr. Zamora has been a teacher leader at Lady Bird Johnson Middle School. He was a coach, taught 6/7 History, 6/7 Math, 8th History, and served as Social Studies Department Chair. Going into his 4th year at Lady Bird, he implemented a plan to increase 8th-grade History scores. By creating a safe environment for sharing/expressing ideas in PLC, modeling exemplary lessons, and putting students first, he helped his team succeed. He is excited for his new adventure at Austin Middle School and is determined to do whatever it takes to help Austin grow.
Kerrie Tarver, Assistant Principal
Kerrie Tarver is the Assistant Principal at Austin Middle School who’s always had a passion for teaching and shaping young minds. She developed her love for teaching at a very young age as an Irving ISD student at Nimitz High School graduate. Ms. Tarver taught 8th grade Science, where she shaped young minds to thrive in the STEM field. After three years of teaching Science, soon Ms. Tarver decided to spread her talents in leadership roles over time as a curriculum writer, interventionist, academic specialist, and currently as the Dean of Students. Ms. Tarver’s educational philosophy is by Benjamin Franklin; “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn”. She’s a believer of making learning fun and engaging for all students. Ms. Tarver enjoys giving back to the same community that has shaped her into the educator she is today! Being the first in her family to receive her Master’s Degree, her dream is to encourage students how education is the key to success in life.
Candace Beasley, Administrative Liasion
Ms. Beasley is joining the administrative team at Austin Middle School, serving as Administrative Liaison for the 2020-2021 school year.
After graduating high school, she attended Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Arkansas, where she received a bachelor's degree in English. She later received her M.Ed in educational leadership at Texas A&M University.
Ms. Beasley is in her 9th year of education, having served as a middle school teacher, high school teacher, and English lead teacher.
She is a firm believer that “Success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally. It comes from what you do consistently.” Ms. Beasley is excited to join the leadership team and be a #GameChanger, helping make the necessary changes to better serve the students at Austin Middle School. She embraces the challenges and experiences that will mold her into the leader she aspires to be. Go, Broncos!