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Paragon Primary Faculty

Photo of  David McGrath M.Ed.
David McGrath M.Ed.
Founder/Headmaster

David McGrath came to Austin in 1986 to begin his college education at The University of Texas. There he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Masters in Educational Psychology while competing as a member of the Longhorn football team. Following graduation from UT, Mr. McGrath served as a counselor, teacher and school administrator in Austin schools before becoming Paragon’s Founder and Headmaster.

Mr. McGrath serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Alliance of Accredited Private Schools.  He is also a member of several state and national associations and honor societies including: the Texas Counseling Association, the Association of College Admissions Counselors, EO Austin, Phi Kappa Phi, Psi Chi, and the Mensa Society.

Photo of  Jackie Acosta
Jackie Acosta
​Director of Elementary PE and Assistant Girls Athletic Director

Jacklyn Acosta was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. She moved to Austin where she became a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and earned a Bachelor of Science in Applied Movement Science in 2015. The knowledge and experience that she gained from UT is reflected in her teaching and coaching to best benefit our students. She teaches Physical Education to Kinder through 6th graders here at Paragon. She brings valuable knowledge on how to make a Physical Education class beneficial to all students so they can learn to enjoy being active for a lifetime. Along with teaching Physical Education she coaches several of the team sports that are offered to the students including volleyball, basketball, and track & field.

Photo of  Emily Bolt
Emily Bolt
Art Teacher

Emily Bolt graduated from The University of Texas at Austin. She studied both Visual Arts and English focusing on painting, drawing, and creative writing. Emily has taught in various arenas in Austin and creates out of her in home studio. She started teaching as a visual and performing arts instructor at the Dougherty Arts Center. Next, she combined her interest in social work, psychology, and art, working as a therapeutic child care specialist at the Helping and Home for Children and facilitating murals with at-risk youth at several Austin middle schools through Communities in Schools. Emily experienced the transformative power that making art holds. She went on to teach art to students with disabilities at the Maverick school, and worked with Amala Foundation’s One Village Project facilitating art and fundraising shows with immigrant and war refugee children from around the world. Mr. McGrath found her teaching private lessons and directing an art camp The Art Pad Studio in the summer of 2009. She is honored and elated to now be teaching at Paragon. She hopes to help students contribute to the Paragon culture and enliven their campus with creativity. Emily is continually inspired by the students she teaches. She strongly believes that the process of making art helps improve creative critical thinking, visual intelligence, and self-awareness.

Photo of  Alex Freeman
Alex Freeman
K-2 Teacher

Alex Freeman comes to Paragon Primary from Mount Pleasant, TX where she graduated with a Master of Science degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Texas A&M University-Texarkana. Prior to living in Mount Pleasant and after she graduated from Harding University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, Miss Freeman spent nearly two years living and teaching abroad in Seoul, South Korea. In Korea, she was able to gain invaluable experience on teaching students from diverse backgrounds in PreK-5th grade. Working with kids from an array of cultures, connecting with students through learning, and building relationships is Miss Freeman’s greatest passion! At Paragon Primary, Miss Freeman is co-teaching the Kindergarten-2nd grade program alongside Barb Watterson.

Outside of the classroom, Miss Freeman loves to play guitar, sing, dance, and read LOTS of books. She enjoys the outdoors, TV crime shows, and music such as The Avett Brothers and Beyonce. Aside from all of her favorite activities, the best past time is to be with good company eating great food.

Photo of  Mark Hathaway
Mark Hathaway
Founder/Business Manager

Mr. Hathaway holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in finance from The University of Texas at Arlington. Mr. H started his professional career as an investment specialist in Shreveport, Louisiana. During this time, he sought refuge from the boiler room by volunteering with kids in different school and sports settings. The time he spent working with kids was much more rewarding than his job. In the spring of 1997, Mr. H quit his “day job” to come help start Paragon. It was a very scary but easy decision.

Over the years, he has worn many hats at Paragon: math teacher, athletic director, coach, bus driver, janitor, physical plant, birthday singer, Slurpee provider, trip leader, and many more.  Mr. Hathaway currently serves as Paragon’s business manager and he continues his reign as Paragon’s “Director of Fun!”

Photo of  Lindsay Hay
Lindsay Hay
Administrator

Lindsay Hay graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications and Film, with minors in Marketing and Psychology. After college, she spent 8 years in the Motion Picture Film Industry as a camera technician in Florida, Colorado, and Alabama. When motherhood called, Lindsay fine tuned her photography skills from home, while homeschooling her children. After preschool teaching, freelance photography, and working as a website administrator for a fashion boutique, Lindsay found her way to Paragon.

Working for Paragon, Lindsay takes pictures, creates student videos, develops advertising campaigns, drives the school bus, monitors 5th – 8th grade mornings and lunches, and most of all– has the opportunity to interact with students during a transformational time in their lives.

“I have found the perfect job that utilizes all of my skills. I love photography, graphic design, and marketing– especially for a school I believe in. I also love talking with the students and helping them with the Paragon journey. There is something educationally fantastic happening here and I feel so fortunate to be a part of it.”

Photo of  David Katz
David Katz
Girl's Sports Athletic Director & PE Teacher

David Katz earned a BA in history from St. Edwards University. He started out his college career at Texas State (SWT) where he was a member of the men’s basketball team. From 1995 until 2008 David and his wife, Cece, and their two daughters, Annika (9) and Maddie (7), lived in Los Angeles where David worked as an actor. He was on the TV show, The West Wing from 1999-2006.

David has coached both the Houston and Austin Maccabi boys’ basketball teams and is currently an assistant coach under Bobby Schwartz on the AAU team Kryptonite.  David was also a member of the gold medal Mens Basketball Team USA in the 2011 Pan-Am Games.  He was awarded the bronze medal for the USA Men’s Basketball Team in the 2013 Macabbi Games in Israel.

“I am honored to be a part of Paragon. Having recently completed my teaching certification, I have observed many different schools throughout Austin and Paragon far and away surpasses all of them. It is great to be a part of team Paragon.”
Photo of  Kathleen Pierson
Kathleen Pierson
Language Arts Teacher

Kathleen teaches Language Arts 3rd, 4th, and 5th at Paragon Primary School. She has 30 years of teaching experience, eleven years in self-contained, 4th-6th grade, and seventeen years teaching Kindergarten through 6th grade, in the Gifted/Talented program. Prior to moving to Austin three years ago, she taught in the Denton and Dallas school districts. 

Ms. Pierson loves teaching because, “Every day is a new day with children. The excitement they exude is contagious.”

Kathleen graduated from the University of North Texas with a B.S. degree in Elementary Education and a minor in English.

She enjoys taking part in community theatre, playing the guitar and singing, skiing, tennis, travel and evenings out experiencing the music and good eats in Austin.

Photo of  Bobby Schwartz
Bobby Schwartz
Athletic Director, PE Coach

Coach Bobby Schwartz is a graduate of the Master’s program at The University of Texas and holds a Double Major BA from USC. He is a Texas State certified teacher and has completed 30 hours of work towards his PHD. Coach Schwartz comes to Paragon from the college ranks after serving as an Assistant Coach to the Men’s Basketball team at St. Edwards University where in his first year they won the first Heartland conference championship in school history, first Heartland conference tournament title and earned a bid to the NCAA tournament. Before ST. Edward’s he was the assistant men’s Basketball Coach at Concordia University and served as Athletic Director and Head Basketball Coach at St. Mary’s where his varsity team went 65-0 over three seasons. Coach Schwartz is currently a member of the (NABC) National Association of Basketball Coaches and a former member of the American Coaches Federation. In 2007 Coach Schwartz was named the National Director of the American Jewish Coaches Association of College Basketball Coaches.

As a strong believer of continuing education in the field of coaching, Coach Schwartz has completed the NABC Coaches Professional Development series training for the last four years. Coach Schwartz is an ordained Rabbi and serves as Chaplain to the Critical Incident Response team of the Texas State Troopers under the Department of Public Safety for the past five years. Prior to that Coach Schwartz served as chaplain to the Austin Police Department.

Photo of  Clara Trevino
Clara Trevino
Assistant Girl’s Athletic Director, PE Teacher, Head Girl’s Volleyball Coach

After multiple offers to continue to play sports in college, Coach Clara decided to instead pursue her undergraduate degree at The University of Texas at Austin. She received her B.A. in Cultural Geography/Pre-Law with a Minor in Spanish.

Before entering the law school realm, Clara went on a mission trip to Panama where she taught students from K-2nd grade.  It was then that she realized that her true passion was working with kids.  Upon returning from her missionary trip, she served as an after-school teacher and mentor for students in the Austin area ranging from Kinder through their college years.

Coach Clara was brought on board to coach volleyball for Paragon in 2013. During her first year of coaching, she led her team to their first District Title in years and helped the girls win first place in the AIPL Volleyball tournament. Coach Clara now serves as Paragon’s Head Volleyball Coach and Director and forms part of Paragon’s coaching staff.

Coach Clara says she is truly blessed to have the opportunity to help mold the minds of students both on and off the court, instilling good morals and values that they can use far beyond their Paragon years.

Clara is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Physical Education, Instruction and Curriculum at Texas State University.

Photo of  Brian Wann
Brian Wann
Science Teacher
Mr. Wann is the 5th grade lead teacher as well the Primary school’s science specialist for grades 3, 4 and 5.
Mr. Wann has been teaching elementary students for the past 15 years at public and private schools in Austin. His specialty has been science, math and geography.Over the years he has developed a hands-on, laboratory based curriculum to use with his science students. This rigorous curriculum is aligned to the new Next Generation Science Standards, but far exceeds the minimum expectations including units in physics of simple machines, basic chemistry, the particulate nature of matter, basic phylogeny and comparative anatomy dissections.
Mr. Wann earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of Texas at Austin in 1997. He is a State of Texas Certified teacher for grades 1- 8 and has training teaching Gifted and Talented students as well. In addition to teaching school, Mr. Wann is a husband, father, avid rock climber and scuba diver.
Photo of  Barbara Watterson
Barbara Watterson
K-2 Teacher

K12 teacher Barbara Watterson joined Paragon Primary in 2013 after teaching 35 years in both public and private schools in West Virginia, Ohio, Connecticut and Texas. During this time, Mrs. Watterson has taught students from early childhood through eighth grade with 17 of those years teaching first grade. Her 25-year career at Eanes ISD included teaching Life Skills, RTI (Response to Intervention), first and second grades. Her passion is with primary students; no day is ever the same! Her commitment is to maintain a well-managed classroom with a thoughtful organization of time, materials and space. Children feel safe and comfortable to be themselves in her classroom. She believes that a good teacher must teach with tremendous compassion, energy and humor. Celebrating successes, both big and small, along the way is important as students learn as individuals and in groups throughout their day.

Mrs. Watterson earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s of Science degree in Education from the University of Dayton. She has been married to John, a psychologist in private practice here in Austin, since 1979. Their son Colin earned his JD from the University of Texas in May 2013. He is an associate attorney with Susman Godfrey in their Houston office. Mrs. Watterson is a volunteer with Divine Canines and enjoys making visits to retirement facilities and libraries with her dog Jarvis.

Photo of  Jacob White
Jacob White
Associate Athletic Director, Middle School PE Director, Head Soccer Coach

After being born and raised in San Antonio, Jacob moved to Austin where he graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2013. He received a Bachelors of Science degree in Kinesiology and Health Education. Jacob spent his college years learning about the human body and gained valuable experience training through class work and internships. Along with coaching at Paragon, Jacob is a speed/strengthening coach for kids ages 8-17 and athletes of all sports and skill levels.

He is excited to continue using his skills to help Paragon students grow on and off the field, in all aspects of life.

Photo of  Diana Zucknick
Diana Zucknick
Music, Spanish, & Social Studies Teacher

Diana Zucknick began her career in education more than a decade ago in Houston, supporting after-school programs dedicated to quality academic assistance for at-risk youth. She was a teacher by day and a professional Mariachi by night where she performed at weddings, quinceañeras and fiestas of every kind. She relocated to central Texas to attend the University of Texas at Austin where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music with a minor in Spanish. She focused on music education, Latin American music, and bilingual education.

As a certified bilingual educator, Diana has taught in dual language classrooms in grades K – 3. She is a big advocate for learning languages and strongly believes in the adage, “to learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world“. Diana is eager to share her enthusiasm for music and the Spanish language with the Paragon family!