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Paragon Primary Faculty

Photo of  David McGrath M.Ed.
David McGrath M.Ed.

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 in 2009 with a Bachelors of Arts. That same year, she began teaching at Paragon. Emily teaches art to kinder-8th grade and created Paragon’s Social and Emotional Learning Curriculum that is based on Mindfulness and a Growth mindset philosophy.

Emily is also a practicing artist, musician, certified yoga Instructor, and mindfulness instructor. Emily believes that being an artist is a way of being in the world.  Art classes function under the philosophy that every person is an artist and all humans are innately creative beings. People are not “born artists”; rather, drawing, painting, sculpting, and creativity are learned by gaining a certain set of skills and practicing them, just like music, dance, sports, and academics. Practicing art making is vital to children’s growth on many levels. The creative process of making art promotes high level critical thinking skills, communication skills, emotional intelligence, observation skills, open-mindedness, creative problem solving, eye-hand coordination, self-awareness, self-expression, self-esteem, contemplative reflection, inventiveness, and flexibility just to name a few. Art is where the hand, the head, and the heart meet.

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

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 school videos and PNN (Paragon Network News), develops advertising campaigns, organizes school-wide events and field trips, drives the school bus 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  Kerry Jones
Kerry Jones
Administrative Assistant and Registrar

Kerry Jones came to Paragon Prep in 2017 as an administrative assistant and serves as the school’s registrar. She joins the administrative team after over 12 years of teaching and managing in the early childhood education field. Kerry studied Liberal Arts at Lamar State College-Orange and Studio Art at Tarleton State University.

“This role at Paragon allows me to — connect with families, collaborate with teachers, and engage with children in their love of learning.”

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  Melissa Lype
Melissa Lype
Math Teacher

Melissa was born and raised in Houston, TX and moved to the great city of Austin to attend the University of Texas. She graduated in 2008 with a Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing from UT’s Red McCombs School of Business and a minor in Government.

Melissa has worn many hats in the education field from substitute teacher/choir director, special education case manager, resource and inclusion teacher, and general education math teacher, teaching 3 different levels of math at a time: Academic, Pre-AP, and Advanced. She has also served on school and district committees and cohorts like AVID, the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE), Technology Cohort I, and Curriculum Writing Cohorts. Melissa has received the honor of being Murchison Middle School’s Teacher of the Year in 2016 and was a Semi-Finalist for Austin ISD’s Teacher of the Year the same year.

Outside of school, Melissa enjoys spending time with her family, of which she is the youngest of 9 siblings and the aunt to 19 nieces and nephews (as of 2017). As a lifelong choir nerd, Melissa can be found singing with Austin Women’s Chorus, watching a Broadway show, or performing a math parody in her classroom for her students. Melissa and her husband Dan welcomed their first child August 2018.

Photo of  Matt Mulconrey
Matt Mulconrey
Math and PE Teacher/After-Care Director

Matt Mulconrey was born and raised in Austin, Texas. Mr. Mulconrey was a student at Paragon Prep from 1999-2002 where he never met a sport he didn’t love. He went on to Anderson High School, and then graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in management. In 2015, he rejoined his Paragon family. Since then, Mr. Mulconrey has worked with all ages Pre-K through 8th grade at the school. He has coached sports for the school, but currently Mr. Mulconrey teaches math to various grades, teaches PE, and helps run the After-Care program.

Photo of  Kathleen Pierson
Kathleen Pierson
Language Arts and Social Studies to 3rd and 4th

She has 34 years of teaching experience, eleven years in self-contained, 4th-6th grade, seventeen years teaching Kindergarten through 6th grade, in the Gifted/Talented program and 7 years teaching 3rd, 4th, and 5th Language Arts. Prior to moving to Austin, seven years ago, she taught in the Denton School District.

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
Head Football Coach, Head Basketball 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 has achieved an astonishing coaching record in Basketball of 840 wins over his coaching career. Coach Schwartz legendary Blackshirt Basketball programs have won 24 Tournament Championships and 31 District titles.

As Head Football Coach, he has led the Blackshirt Knights Football program to 16 Championship titles including 2 Super Bowl Saturday Titles.

Coach Bobby’s “Blackshirt for Life” Moto has become a staple of the Paragon Athletic experience and commitment of all his players to be winners at life and work to be their very best in all they endeavor to achieve on and off the court and field as young men and women who will grow up to be parents and spouses and co-workers and bosses.

Coach Bobby Schwartz has two children who attended Paragon and is the Proud Father of his daughter Zaya and his Son Blake.

Coach Schwartz came 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 has been a member of the (NABC) National Association of Basketball Coaches and a former member of the American Coaches Federation. Coach Schwartz was named the National Director of the American Jewish Coaches Association of College Basketball Coaches and has served that group since 2007.

As a strong believer of continuing education in the field of coaching, Coach Schwartz completes the NABC Coaches Professional Development series training each year at the Final Four. Coach Schwartz is an ordained Rabbi and previously served as Chaplain to the Critical Incident Response team of the Texas State Troopers under the Department of Public Safety. Prior to that Coach Schwartz served as Police Chaplain to the Austin Police Department helping officers and families.

Photo of  Joey Silva
Joey Silva
Director of Student Development Work

Joey was born in Albuquerque, NM and was raised in El Paso, TX.  After graduating from high school he worked while going to college part-time; eventually going to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and transferring to and graduating from the University of Texas at Dallas, majoring in Psychology with in minor in Communication. Joey then moved to Austin, TX in 2007, continuing to work and eventually received his masters degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Texas in Austin in 2013.

Joey has been working with children for more than 15 years, 7 of them within the educational system. He has two young children of his own.
“I’m trying to make people become the best versions of themselves possible, all the while appreciating the struggle that it takes.  Life is not measured on where one ends up, but the obstacles one had to overcome to get there.”
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-1 Teacher

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. They both grew up in Pittsburgh and remain fans of the Pirates and Steelers. They have season tickets for football, men’s basketball and baseball, so UT sports consume a lot of their free time.  They live in Crestview and are often seen walking their dog Jarvis throughout the neighborhood.  Their son Colin earned his Bachelor’s degree from Emory University in 2008 (thus her interest in having Emory as her college) and his JD from the University of Texas in May 2013. Currently, 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

Jacob was born and raised in San Antonio and 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, with a specialization as a Fitness Instructor. Jacob spent his college years learning about the human body and gained valuable experience training athletes and the general public through class work and internships. Along with coaching at Paragon, Jacob is a Lonestar Soccer Club Jr. Academy coach. He also has experience as a speed/agility and strength coach for youth athletes of all sports, ages, 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
2nd Grade Teacher

Diana Zucknick began her career in education over a decade ago in Houston, supporting after-school programs dedicated to academic assistance for at-risk youth. She relocated to Austin to study at the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music with a minor in Spanish, focusing on music education, Latin American music, and bilingual education.

As a certified educator, Diana has taught dual language and bilingual classrooms in elementary schools in central Texas. She joined The Schools of Paragon in 2014 where she has taught music and Spanish to grades K-5, Social Studies to grades 3-5, and second grade.

Diana also enjoys reading books, traveling the world with her husband, spoiling her fluffy rescue dogs, and making music with friends.