HPS Austin Highlights April 2019 Edition

Dedicated Staff


"A dedicated staff is a standard that Harmony is built on, but our Teachers of the Year take that dedication to the next level. Their commitment to their students in and outside of their school campus truly sets them apart. Congratulations teachers, you make us Harmony proud!" - Gina Gregory, HPS Austin District Superintendent

Francesca Houck

Elementary Teacher of the Year

"Ms. Houck is passionate about the success of the students. Walking into her classroom, you can feel that the students are cared for. She expects the best from them but does whatever it takes to make sure they know that they can be successful. We so often hear from parents how much students love coming to school because they have her as a teacher and we can see it in their faces as they enter her classroom. Students light up as she greets them at the door." - Mr. Waylon Stengler, Principal

Frida Garcia

Middle School Teacher of the Year

"Ms. Garcia is the ultimate team player. If there is ever anything that needs to be done or a challenge that needs to be faced, she is our go-to person. She had taken on new curriculum and a new course, gave up multiple weeks of her summer to attend training, and wrote grants to bring new experiences to our students. Ms. Garcia does all of this with a smile on her face and with a positive attitude." - Mr. Waylon Stengler, Principal

Jessica Madsen

High School Teacher of the Year

"Ms. Madsen is dedicated to her students and the school. She is involved in almost every aspect of the campus and works tirelessly to build positive school culture. Ms. Madsen is a teacher we know we can assign anywhere. She works tirelessly to support students whenever she can. She tutors students in all grade levels, helps them edit their college applications, and has been called on to work with our ESL students. Her classroom teaching is dynamic and effective. Ms. Madsen also takes every opportunity to be a part of the school leadership team. She has been department head for the past three years, she is a member of the STEM Advisory Board and has helped sponsor numerous clubs and organizations." - Mr. Waylon Stengler, Principal

Malayna Keller

Elementary Teacher of the Year

"Ms. Keller is an inspiration and impact to all those she comes in contact with each day. She is firm but fair, having rules yet maintaining relationships, and keenly remembering that though she teaches numerous content and subject areas, she is teaching our students whom she freely offers support and acceptance." - Ms. Tiffany Molina, Principal

Dustin Edwards

Middle School Teacher of the Year

"Mr. Edwards is a creative teacher who puts his heart and soul into teaching and getting to know his students. His students come to class to learn knowing he has high expectations but they also know he will be there for them every day." - Ms. Tiffany Molina, Principal

Mollie Garrigan

Middle School Teacher of the Year

"Ms. Garrigan is one of our top performing middle school teachers. She works hard to grow all of her students to their full potential by utilizing effective teaching techniques and methods. She is always there when her students and team members need her for assistance and support. Students in Ms. Garrigan's class benefit from her both as a teacher and as a role model who is honest and trustworthy." - Mr. Agil Sharifov, Principal

Madelyn Solomon

High School Teacher of the Year

"Ms. Solomon demonstrates excellent rapport with students, colleagues and parents that is characterized by mutual respect. Students in her Math classes get exposed to high quality instruction and they benefit from her broad content knowledge. Ms. Solomon is creative, hard-working and often helps out colleagues as she is a naturally caring person." - Mr. Agil Sharifov, Principal

Tanya Reyes

Middle School Teacher of the Year

"I am impressed with Ms. Reyes’ work philosophy and with her commitment to do all she can to help all students succeed. In addition to teaching, Ms. Reyes participates in many extracurricular activities and helps her students prepare for real life. She has such a great rapport with students that she does not hesitate to work extra for them. Students, parents, and her colleagues, would describe Ms. Reyes as knowledgeable, positive, energetic, dedicated, caring, and honest." - Mr. Engin Dogan, Principal

Jenna Garza

High School Teacher of the Year

"Ms. Garza’s leadership skills has inspired her coworkers to attain their goals. She definitely exemplifies quality, hard work, poise and organization. Her enthusiastic personality is a characteristic that motivates students and teachers in the classroom. She is a contributing and committed staff member on our campus." - Mr. Engin Dogan, Principal

Meredith Greenwood

Elementary Teacher of the Year

"She is such a person who can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning." - Mr. Ilker Yilmaz, Principal

Melinda Headrick

Elementary Teacher of the Year

"Our campus would not be the same without the inspiration, foresight, and dedication of Mrs. Melinda Headrick. She has dedicated so much of herself through her time, and loving spirit to make our school and students their absolute best. She exemplifies what it means to be an amazing educator. Over the years she has cultivated many students to rise to the challenge and work hard in order to achieve academic success. She truly believes that we, as teachers make a difference in the lives of our students and she succeeds in making that difference every day." - Mr. Mehmet Subas, Principal

Jenny Hwang

Elementary Teacher of the Year

"Ms. Hwang seizes every opportunity to support students academically in all content areas with differentiation and taps into students' various learning modalities. She models respect and empowers students to take educational risks. Ms. Hwang has a global lens for campus needs and seeks to provide resources to her team and all stakeholders. She is a vital asset to our campus and a pillar of our HSI family." - Ms. Amy Chankin, Principal

HPS Austin celebrated the 2018-2019 campus teachers of the year with a special Teacher Appreciation Luncheon. Thank you Serranos Lakeline for donating a gift card for all of our teachers to enjoy a meal. We would also like to thank Holland Photo Imaging for donating personalized mugs for all of the award recipients.

STEM 4 All


It's all systems checked and ready for lift off at Harmony School of Endeavor as Spectrum News Austin reported on two of its rocketry teams, “Endeavor 1” and “Endeavor 2” qualifying as Team America Rocketry Challenge national finalists. Students will head to the Final Fly-Off at Great Meadows in The Plains, Virginia on Saturday, May 18, 2019. More than 830 teams from across the country competed this year and only 100 teams made it to the finals. “Endeavor 1” and “Endeavor 2” teams from Harmony School of Endeavor qualified, making it the only school in Austin sending teams to the Final Fly-Off national competition.

Way to go, Hawks! We can't wait for you all to blast off and represent Harmony Austin in May! Good luck!! #TARC19 #RocketContest #STEM


KVUE News visited Harmony School of Excellence to film an educational segment titled "Scientific Minute." The Science Minute featured Mr. Paul Fielder, HSE-Austin middle school Science Teacher, demonstrating a 60-second science experiment. In the clip below, Mr. Fielder showed KVUE Meteorologist Nathan Gogo the illuminating effects different chemicals have when exposed to fire.


Eager to explore their love of STEM, twelve 5th grade girls from Harmony School of Science attended Girlstart’s annual Girls in STEM Conference this April. Accompanied with Ms. Carmen Garduno, HSS STEM teacher, our HSS girls were able to attend three STEM-based workshops filled with hands-on activities meant to encourage and expand their interest in STEM-related careers.

"The event really showed and encouraged the potential that we as teachers see in all our female students. It definitely taught them to not be afraid of success but to seek it and conquer it!" - Ms. Carmen Gardun


Harmony School of Innovation hosted their 3rd annual S.T.E.A.M. Night and Gifted and Talented Showcase where the teachers and students come together to celebrate Science, Techoolgy, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. This year, families enjoyed a variety of art and STEM-based activities such as building a floatable aluminum boat that could hold the weight of several pennies, constructing catapults and mazes out of popsicle sticks, framing the skeletal structure of dinosaurs out of q-tips, and making colorful tie-dye artwork with markers and water drops. The HSI Robotics Team also brought out their robotic pet elephant for families to enjoy in action.

HPS Austin Celebrates Student Success


Congratulations to Shaiza G., junior at Harmony Science Academy - Pflugerville, on a perfect score at State Visual Art Scholastic Event (VASE) competition on April 27th, 2019 for her piece Time Travel.

  • 35,000 total pieces of artwork were submitted across Texas
  • Central Austin region had 1,445 pieces submitted with 118 pieces advancing to state VASE
  • Out of the 35,000 pieces only 2,300 advanced to state VASE from all regions across Texas.
“Not only did she get a medal but she received the first perfect score at State VASE for HSAPf! I am BEYOND PROUD of Shaiza and all of her hard work!” - Andrea Rogers, HSAPf Art Teacher


It was a was a busy month for several 1st and 3rd grade students from Harmony Science Academy - Cedar Park and for 1st grade students from Harmony School of Science as they competed with over 75 local elementary schools in the National Mathematics Pentathlon Academic Tournament. The competition is meant to test the problem-solving and strategic thinking skills of students who have become proficient in the pentathlon game. Congratulations to all the students who participated!

  • Ashish, HSACP 1st grade, won 3 of his games, earning the Bronze medal
  • Oscar, HSACP 1st grade, won 4 of his games, earning him a Silver medal
  • Aiden, HSACP 1st grade, won all of his games, earning him Pentathlon Hall of Fame status

Lithik, HSS 1st grade, won 4 of his games, earning him Silver medal

HPS Austin Promotes a Love of Learning


Harmony School of Science rolled out the red carpet and lined up a STAAR-studded spectacular to greet 4th and 5th grade students during April’s STAAR testing week. Teachers dressed up as famous celebrities and pop stars and treated students as the STARS they are. The all-star welcome was so popular that it was even featured on-air by KVUE News! Way to go, Tigers!


Harmony School of Innovation kicked off testing week with special guest "STAARs", the Austin Wild Indoor Football Team! Austin Wild and their mascot stopped by HSI for a STAAR Pep Rally and surprised 4th and 5th grade students with words of encouragement and motivation to get them pumped for testing. As an added bonus, Austin Wild also invited HSI students to attend their April 27th game for free and donated a signed football of the entire team to the school. Thank you for being such great role models and getting our students excited for their big test!


Elementary students at Harmony Science Academy - Austin and Harmony School of Innovation were very excited to welcome author Jacky Lamenzo and illustrator Eduardo Martinez to host a special reading of their new book, “Addy Wants to Fit In.” Elementary students learned about Addy, the friendly ant who struggles to fit in with her ant colony because of her picky eating habits and the brave journey she takes to discover a new food that she likes. As the first school in their book tour, students were also treated to a special behind the scenes look at the illustration process by Mr. Martinez, who, apart from being a now published illustrator, is also the elementary art teacher for Harmony School of Innovation.


Harmony Science Academy - Cedar Park elementary students had a few “dairy” special guests waiting to greet them on the morning of April 16th. Southwest Dairy Farm and their Mobile Dairy Classroom visited Pk-2nd grade students and presented an all-immersive lesson about life on a dairy farm. With the help of the Mobile Dairy Classroom, students were able to learn the process behind milking a cow and how milk goes from being on a dairy farm to stores across Texas. Students also got to meet one of the local dairy cows! Thank you for coming out and showing our students all about the dairy industry Southwest Dairy Farm!


Harmony School of Endeavor 3rd grade students visited KUTX 98.9 FM and KUT 90.5, Austin's NPR station this April.

Students toured the station and some participated on-air! Through their tour of the radio station, students got an insight view at the science behind sound energy and soundproofing. They also learned about the history of music, oral reporting, and radio station operating. Some lucky students even got the opportunity to speak on live radio and were able to help the operating technician in the radio booth. Thanks for making this such a fun and educational field trip, KUTX 98.9 and KUT 90.5!


Harmony Science Academy - Austin 8th grade students explored the local art scene hidden in the streets of downtown Austin during a special field trip. Accompanied by Ms. Lynn Hamilton, HSA-Austin Art Teacher, 18 students started their art walk at the Forever Bicycles sculpture before making their way up the heart of Austin to the Blanton Art Museum. During their self-guided walking tour of downtown Austin, Ms. Hamilton challenged students to find street art, murals, and architecture. At the Blanton Art Museum, they also learned how Latin American artists used text to create art, admired some pieces of conceptual modern art, and were able to create their own magazines at the Blanton Art Museum Work Lab.

Community Connections


Motivated to make a difference in the local community and fueled by dedicated dental care professionals, the St. David’s Dental Foundation Dental Program visited students from Harmony Science Academy - Austin to provide free, high quality dental care. Under the direction of Dr. Abby Menke, Lead Dentist of the St. David’s Dental Foundation mobile clinic, her team of experienced dental hygienists provided participating students with free dental screenings along with free dental care in state-of-the-art mobile clinics. After their oral exam, every student walked away with a goodie bag filled with free dental care items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and a guide for brushing their teeth.

“The St. David’s Dental Program is a vital part of the community, allowing us to serve students in need of dental care without missing school or taking their parents away from work. We aim to provide students with a happy, healthy mouth so they can focus on their schoolwork. Our mission makes me feel so incredibly proud, and my hope is that we create a positive impact on the students so they may understand the importance of having a healthy mouth for a lifetime.” - Dr. Abby Menke.

Harmony School of Science and Harmony School of Innovation elementary schools were also visited by the St. David’s Dental Foundation mobile clinic in the fall. HPS Austin welcomes the new partnership with gratitude. Thank you St. David’ Foundation and Dr. Menke for teaching our students the importance of maintaining a happy and healthy smile for life!



And the crowd goes wild for the Harmony School of Excellence - Austin Lady Tigers for placing as Division Champions and Regional Runner-Ups in the Texas Charter School Girls Varsity Softball League. As a first year team, the HSE Lady Tigers went up against several other charter school softball leagues to become top champions in Central Texas. Ian Manzak, Athletic Coach at HSE, attributes the team’s success to the dedication and passion each girl poured into their training.

"These girls are the definition of what our school is capable of doing when you put in the effort and desire to learn. Being a first year team with many never having played before, we saw self-confidence rise within each of them that will continue to serve them as they grow. We’re proud of how the girls came together as a team over the year, and performed the best they could. It’s what we do at HSE!” - HSE Coach Ian Manzak

The 6th-8th grade Boys Soccer team at Harmony Science Academy - Pflugerville came out on top as the 2018-2019 Texas Charter School Academic & Athletic League (TCSAAL) Soccer Division Champions! Apart from being Division 2 champions, our Pflugerville Tigers also qualified as Regional Quarter Finalists for all of Central Texas in TCSAAL! Way to go, Tigers!

On April 20th, the Harmony Science Academy - Pflugerville track team competed in the State Regionals in San Antonio. Several HSAPf Tigers qualified to go to the State Championship with some students making it to the finals!

High School State Qualifiers

  • Atman B. - 1st place in 400 / 3rd place in 800
  • Amory K. - 2nd place in 200
  • Citlali M. - 4th place in 200
  • Madison H. - 1st place in Shot Put
  • Boy's 4x1 Relay - 2nd place (Amory K., Michael H., Seana A., and JT S.)

High School Track and Field State Finals

  • Amory K. - 5th place 200
  • Boy's 4x1 Relay - 4th place (Amory K., Michael H., Seana A., and JT S.)
“The whole team has been training since February and the hard work has paid off. I am proud of our entire team.” - Coach Brittany Weaver

Harmony Public Schools Austin

HPS Austin Leadership Team

Left to Right: Ozan Doganay, M.Ed. - Director of Engagement and Talent | Allanur Agaberdiyev, M. Ed. - Director of Academics | Clarissa Davila - Director of Public Relations | Gina Gregory, M.Ed. - Austin Area Superintendent | Dustin Cox, MBA - Director of External Relations | Toraman Yayla, M.Ed. - Director of Operations | (Not Pictured) Robert Navarro - Director of Finance
HPS Austin District Office - 13415 Fm 620 N Austin, Texas 78717

HPS Austin schools

Engin Dogan, M.Ed Principal | Harmony Science Academy - Pflugerville

1421 WELLS BRANCH #200 Pflugerville, TX 78660 GRADES: 6TH-12TH

Tiffany Molina, M.Ed. Principal | Harmony Science Academy - Austin

930 E Rundberg Lane Austin, TX 78753 Grades: PK-8th

Waylon Stengler, M.Ed. Principal | Harmony School of Endeavor - Austin

13415 Fm 620 N Austin, TX 78717 Grades: PK-12th

Ilker Yilmaz, M.Ed. Principal | Harmony Science Academy - Cedar Park

12200 Anderson Mill Rd Austin, Texas 78726 Grades: PK-5th

Mehmet Subas, M.Ed. Principal | Harmony School of Science - Austin

11800 Stonehollow Dr. #100 Austin, TX Grades: K-5th

Agil Sharifov M.Ed. M.A Principal | Harmony School of Excellence - Austin

2100 East St. Elmo Rd. Austin, Texas 78744 Grades: 6th-12th

Amy Chankin, M. Ed. Principal | Harmony School of Innovation - Austin


Follow us on Social Media @hpsaustin

Created By
Clarissa Davila

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a copyright violation, please follow the DMCA section in the Terms of Use.