Elementary Support Team

Kristi Townshend
ECE/Elementary Behavior Support Coordinator
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Kristi joined TSD in April of 2016.  Previous to TSD, Kristi worked for nearly 18 years as a school psychologist/behavior specialist in Minnesota.  She is looking forward to working in collaboration with students and staff to make this a STRONGER TOGETHER, amazing year!  


You will often find Kristi walking her dog or hiking with her family.

Christina Baldoni
ECE/Elementary Behavior Support Assistant
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Christina is in her 5th year at TSD. She was born and raised in Houston, Texas and attended college at RIT in New York. She later earned her Master's degree in Art Therapy at Nazareth College, also in Rochester.


Christina and her husband live in South Austin, and in their free time enjoy traveling, trying new restaurants, and exploring the city with their dog, Vito.

Joey Calvano
ECE/Elementary Behavior Support Assistant
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Joey joined TSD in October of 2007. He worked as Day Residential Educator in the HS boys' dorm for 9 years. He worked as teacher assistant at elementary for 6 months. He was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin and moved to Dallas, TX at the age of 6. He attented college at RIT and left RIT so he could donate his kidney to his older brother in 1992.


Joey is an avid golfer. He enjoys traveling with his wife, son, and dog, Bella. His oldest daughter had a baby boy in September 2017, so Joey is excited to be a new grandfather.

Jennifer Fields
ECE/Elementary Behavior Support Assistant
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Jennifer joined the Special Needs Department in 2012 as a Para Educator, and she worked with grades K-12 throughout her six years there.  She found her true passion, behavior management, and she is excited to work in the ECE/Elementary Department in that capacity.
In her free time, Jennifer enjoys photography and walking her two dogs with her partner.  She is a hardcore Saints fan.  Who Dat!
Erica Israel
Licensed Specialist in School Psychology
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Erica Israel joined TSD in the fall of 2015. She graduated from Rochester Institiute of Technology (RIT) where she completed her undergraduate and graduate studies in Psychology and School Psychology. She also worked with Dr. Peter Hauser (Deaf Studies Laboratory and Visual Langauge and Visual Learning- VL2), studying the interplay of language and cognition in the Deaf popuation. Then she spent a year working with Dr. Marie Coppola at the University of Connecticut (UCONN) where she continued to study how language impacted the brain development before moving to Austin to start her job as a Licesnsed Specialist in School Psychology in the Elementary Department.


Erica is orginially from Massachusetts and will never give up her love for the New England Patriots!


Amy Sandstorm Hill, LMSW
ECE/Elementary Counselor 

Amy Sandstrom Hill has a Bachelor’s of Science in Interpreting and English with a minor in elementary education from Northeastern University in Boston. She earned her Master of Social Work degree from Gallaudet University. She is a licensed social worker and currently pursuing her Registered Play Therapist License and Clinical License through course work and supervision. 


Amy enjoys working with her students in the sand tray and in the playroom, observing as they grow through the natural language of play. Amy lives in the city of Lakeway with her husband, Jonathan; daughter, Eleanor (2); and her parents. When she is not at TSD, Amy spends time with her family, reads (anything and everything), plays board games and works to improve her photography skills.

Tricia Grooms, LMSW
ECE/Elementary Counselor

Tricia Grooms is in her 16th year at TSD. She has a Bachelor's and Master's in Social Work from Texas State University in San Marcos, TX. She is a licensed social worker and is excited to continue her passion in providing counseling with children.


Tricia and her husband have two adult children, Shonda and J.Garrett. Tricia is currently enjoying being a grandmother to her grandson and is looking forward to another grandbaby (girl) coming in November. When not with her grandbaby, she can be found out riding motorcylces with her husband, enjoying the wind and beautiful countryside.


Kate Sweet, M.S., CCC-SLP
Licensed Speech-Language Pathologist

Kate joined TSD in the fall of 2016. In her second year, she is looking forward to further building relationships within the TSD community, as well as continued development of her ASL skills. Previous to TSD, Kate worked for Plano ISD in a pre school program for children with disabilities, where her primary focus was working with augmentative communication for non-verbal children.


Kate is originally from Massachusetts and remains a New Englander at heart, Go Pats! She currently lives happily in Austin with her husband, David, and they are expecting their first baby in December 2017!

Kendall O'Hara
Licensed Speech-Language Pathologist
3rd - 5th Grade

A fourth-generation Californian, Kendall picked up undergraduate degrees in Linguistics and Italian Literature, as well as a master’s in Speech-Language Pathology, before finding her way to the weirdest city in Texas, Austin!


She loves spending an afternoon at Barton Springs or working her way through the food trucks all over the city. Inspired by her travels in the US and abroad, Kendall believes the two most important things in life are food and language! She is thrilled to be a part of TSD and support her students in communicating in the way that honors their linguistic and cultural background. Go Rangers!

Camera Shy!
Courtney McKenzie, Au.D.
 Licensed Doctor of Audiology
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Dr. Courtney McKenzie is in her second year at TSD! During the 2016 - 2017 school year, she fulfilled the requirements of her Doctor of Audiology degree as an extern in audiology and served the middle school and high school. Previous to earning her doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Speech, Language & Hearing sciences from Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Courtney has a passion for children and individuals with special needs.


Courtney lives in south Austin with her husband and yellow Labrador, Bunky.

Laura Krol, PT, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Campus-wide support

Laura joined TSD in April 2017 and is excited to begin the new 2017-2018 school year. Laura has been working in Early Childhood Intervention and school based physical therapy for over 30 years. She earned her transitional Doctorate in Physical Therapy with a specialization in pediatrics in August 2014 because she enjoys learning. She is thrilled to be participating in team approaches, and enjoys collaboration with teachers, students, and families. Learning new things and problem solving are her favorite parts of her job, second of course to the students.

Laura has four grown children and one grandson who was born on her birthday last year. She enjoys hiking, exploring, and especially her rescue dogs. Her hobbies include sketching, painting and playing the piano.

Joey Vaughan
ECE/Elementary Curriculum Specialist
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This is Joey's 20th year at TSD, and she is a proud member of Ranger Nation. She previously taught 3rd grade for seven years, then was the Outcomes Specialist/District Testing Coordinator for five years. She has been a Curriculum Specialist for the past seven years and is excited to work in the ECE/Elementary program with this awesome group of students and staff.
In addition to supporting ECE/Elementary as their Curriculum Specialist, Joey also serves as the G/T Coordinator for TSD.
Joey has lived in Texas her entire life; she and her husband, Kevin, have two beautiful children, Jacie (13) and Austin (9). Outside of school, you will most likely find Joey cheering on her two kiddos, as they are very involved in band, volleyball, and hockey. Joey also enjoys attending professional hockey games (go Stars!), spending time with her family, photography, and watching movies.