Faculty and Staff

Leadership & Administration

Dr. Nance Riffe
Head of School

Dr. Nance Riffe received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication at George Mason University. There, she was a awarded a full tuition scholarship and membership to the Mason Scholars Program, an academic honors and learning community. She was awarded the University’s highest distinction, Senior of the Year. At George Mason, Nance participated in competitive public speaking and, at the National Tournament her senior year, she broke a few national records. She received her Master of Arts in Communication Studies at the University of Alabama where she was awarded several fellowships, a research assistantship, and several teaching assistantships. Dr. Riffe completed her coursework toward her Ph.D. in Communication at the University of Texas at Austin and received her Ph.D. from the University of Alabama where she was awarded the Department of Communication’s highest graduate school honor, Outstanding Doctoral Student. Her Doctorate is in the field of Communication with a concentration in Critical, Cultural, and Rhetorical Studies with a cognate in Qualitative Research Methods through Education Research. She has received several Top Paper awards at national and regional communication conferences including her field’s largest conference, the National Communication Association. After completing her doctorate, Dr. Riffe was awarded a professorship at the University of Alabama. There, she earned several grants for her department, several for her own research projects, and was asked to be the lead teacher working with the Department of Communication’s graduate student teacher training program.

When Tuscaloosa, Alabama, got a little small after a few years, Nance came back to Austin and heard about ACE Academy from a friend who had just finished working for Summer Wonders. Intrigued, she interviewed, interested in any position. She was a Red Pod Teaching Assistant for about two weeks. She then moved quickly into an accreditation management position. Having served ACE Academy in a variety of capacities, she is delighted to continue working with ACE students, students she describes as “amazing, joyful, and eclectic.” She loves working with these students who get her Tolkien references and could guess that all of her passwords used to be “wiggin,” based on a little boy named “Ender” who reminds her so much of them.

Tabitha Molett
Dean of Faculty and Academic Programs

Ms. Tabitha Molett completed her undergraduate work at the University of Arizona and University of Texas at Dallas graduating with a B.A. from the School of Humanities. She continued her education at Southern Methodist University graduating with honors and obtaining a M.Ed., Master Reading Teacher Certification, and Gifted and Talented Endorsement. As a GT specialist for the Richardson I.S.D she was one of the founding members of the Enhanced Identification Program at her school; an alternative admissions and testing process developed to increase underrepresented populations in the gifted & talented program. Tabitha’s contributions to this committee led to the district-wide adopted of a 2nd grade talent pool program that is still in existence today.

Ms. Tabitha Molett has taught gifted and talented teacher-training courses and has been a lead presenter at the Texas Association for Gifted & Talented (TAGT). Her workshops include: Bringing Rigorous Education to all Children, Innovation and Creative Thinking, Twice Exceptional and the Growth Mindset, and Leadership Development for Gifted Children. She is a co-creator of the signature ACE Academy programs ODIM (Open Door Interdisciplinary Modules), a course designed for students to explore their passions in greater depth and involve them in the process of project-based learning, and ACE Innovation which is a school-wide event highlighting creative & innovative thinking strategies. In addition to teaching, presenting at educational forums, and the planning and development of curriculum programs, she co-founded an educational company that focused on bringing engagement, intrigue, inquiry, and higher-level thinking into every classroom.

Loren McDonough
Chief Financial Officer

Loren completed his BBA in Management from the Mays School at Texas A&M University and continued on to receive his MBA from the University of Texas at Tyler. Loren has spent much of his professional life in healthcare financial and operations management. He has worked with both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, managing budgets in excess of $70 million annually. He spent several years working in internal audit and internal controls for a large public company where, in addition to helping to strengthen accounting and audit procedures, he also advised executive leadership in operational improvements. A father of three gifted learners himself, Loren is very passionate about being a part of ACE Academy and helping our school through financial stewardship. When he’s not at ACE Academy, Loren can usually be found coaching and cheering his children on in their sporting events or joining his family in yelling for their Fightin’ Texas Aggies!

Nicki Hollums
Director of Admissions

Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Nicki Hollums fell in love with nonprofits when she was growing up in the local area. After obtaining her B.S. in Psychology at Texas State University, in San Marcos Texas, she was inspired by her direct care work with young girls at a residential treatment facility, where she quickly developed a deep passion for child advocacy. This resolve stuck with her through her graduate degree, leading her to obtain a M.A. in Forensic Psychology from Argosy University in Dallas. After working with multiple non-profit organizations, universities, mental health communities, in a diagnostic and treatment capacity, Nicki is embarking on her second year at ACE Academy. She provides support, advocacy and relationship building as the Admissions Director. Nicki is happy working with the faculty and staff and spends her days keeping ACE an amazing school – one student at a time.

Elizabeth Roper

Administrative Assistant & Program Coordinator

“Be generous to yourself and others”

Erin McCracken

Director of Development

“Choose to be kind.”

Jessica Deimler – Hoff

School Counselor

“Laughter and hugs go a long way.”

RANDY HOLLENSBE

IT Support

“Use your powers for good.”

RAMA SREEKANTHAM

Lower School Division Head, STEAM Teacher and Facilitator

“Try your hardest, always.”

CAROLINE POE

Blue Pod Teacher

JENNY MEZAS

Blue Pod Teacher Assistant

“Don’t be afraid to eat dessert first!”

SARA KEITGES

Yellow Pod Teacher

” Questions are really important.”

Kelly Moses

Yellow Pod Teacher Assistant

“Always remember to have fun!”

Janessa McLean

Red Pod Teacher

“Don’t stop until you’re proud.”

LESLIE DOVER

Green Pod Teacher

“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.”

MOLLY PRICE

Green Pod Teacher Assistant

“What do you have to lose?”

KATE SULLIVAN

Green Pod Teacher

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions! If you are wondering, someone esle is too and there are no stupid questions.”

SADAF AHMADBEIGI

Green Pod Teacher Assistant

“You will be pleasantly surprised if you stay true to yourself.”

KEITH ROHN

Lower School Teacher

“Believe in yourself fiercely and others will follow suit.”

EMILY AYRES

Lower School Teacher

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

CHRIS AGUERO

Lower School Teacher

“Questions are often more valuable than answers.”

TYSON RAHMEIER

Upper School Division Head, History Department Chair

“Enjoy every sandwich.”

Dr. DEANNA BUCKLEY

Science Department Chair, STEM Teacher

“It is not the strongest that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

CHARMAINE PRICE

Math Department Chair, STEM Teacher

“Be kind and open-hearted to each other.”

DAVID MARCUS

STEM Teacher

“Attitude is key!”

SWAPNA DEEPAK

STEM Teacher

“Be open to new ideas and do not hesitate to test them out.”

BETHANY RHOADES

Fine Arts Department Chair, Theater Teacher

“Asking for help when you need it is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness.”

DIANA MONCAYO

Spanish Teacher

“Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful.”

RANI SAM

Robotics and Technology Teacher

“Be open to learn, it expands your thinking.”

CATHLEEN CAROTHERS

Physical Education Teacher

“Attitude is Everything!”

ANDIE JEW

Art Teacher

“View mistakes as opportunities to learn.”

ROBERT MONCRIEFF

Film Teacher

“Dig into things that are fun and interesting to you.”

 

PAUL POLLINI

Music Teacher

“Everyone has innate aptitudes and deficits, but none of that matters as much as what you choose to do with what you have.”

LIONEL SIKSIK

French Teacher

“Have fun and do your best!”

CAROLE DOSTIE

French & Spanish Teacher

“Learning languages can lead us to see things in an unexpected way.”

LY POE

Computer Science Teacher

PEDRO CAAMANO

Spanish Teacher

“Learning languages is your passport to new places.”

 

Dr. MARILEE RANSOM

Language Arts Department Chair

“Strive to be kind, perseverant, and authentic.”

ALEX RITZENBERG

Humanities Teacher

“Learn to laugh at yourself and to celebrate your mistakes.”

Dr. MARINA FLIDER

Humanities Teacher

“Live in the question.”

ADAM SOTO

Humanities Teacher

“You cannot solve a problem unless you are willing to have one.”