Administrative Team

lisacLisa ChalkHead of School

As a child, Ms. Lisa attended a Montessori school. Experiencing the Montessori philosophy first hand imprinted a desire to help young children reach their potential using the Montessori Method. After receiving a Bachelor of Integrative Studies with a concentration in Education from George Mason University, she pursued her Early Childhood Montessori Education at Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies in Maryland.

Ms. Lisa is an AMS Early Childhood certified teacher and has taught in the primary level at Montessori School of Cedar Lane in Fairfax. VA. She lives in Austin with her husband and their two daughters, Lily and Isabel.

gigi-SGigi Papini – Associate Head of School/Koalas Lead Teacher

Ms. Gigi realized she wanted to be a Montessori teacher after she witnessed the difference the Montessori Method and School in the Hills made in the life of the children she was caring for. Ms. Gigi truly believes that the freedom of movement and the opportunity the children have to work and learn through hands-on activities creates an inviting environment that allows them to develop their minds.

Ms. Gigi’s strength as a teacher is the ability to make the learning process fun, positive, and creative. She has a strong sense of community and respect for different cultures and lifestyles. She also strives in helping her students grow, develop, and learn how to be good citizens of the world.

Ms. Gigi was born and raised in Brazil. She received a Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in Cultures from the Catholic University of Goias in 2005. She taught high school level World History for two years in Brazil before she became an au pair for a family here in Austin. She received her Montessori Primary Certification from the Montessori Teacher Education Institute in Houston, TX. Ms. Gigi hopes to go back to school to get a Masters degree in Psychology in the near future.

Daniel Marker – Administrative Director

Daniel grew up in an entrepreneurial family.  He joined the family businesses after earning a BBA in Finance from The University of Texas at Austin in 1986.  He worked his way up in the company to become a partner and President of The Marker Group.  At the peak, he managed five business units, 270 employees, and 50 contractors. This experience taught him the importance of providing a high-quality service and exceptional customer service.

Daniel’s mother instilled in him a belief that success starts with the employees.  It is important to hire great people, provide excellent training, and value their role in the organization’s success.  He and Alicia operate School in the Hills with the same conviction. His love of Montessori started when his young sons attended a Montessori school in Houston, where Alicia also started working as an assistant teacher. She soon entered training to become a certified Montessori teacher. Her excitement during training and the fun of watching their boys grow in the program made him a true believer in the philosophy.

Daniel often jokes that School in the Hills is his and Alicia’s “mid-life crisis,” but it feels like his full career was leading to starting the school.  He shares a love of children with Alicia and a belief that these formative years are so important in a child’s life. He spent many years as a coach and a scout leader when their children were growing up.  He also served on the Parent Advisory Committee and Steering Committee at their elementary school.  Later, he assisted his wife in coaching an Odyssey of the Mind team.

Nancy Meadows – Operations Manager

Ms. Nancy was born in Cincinnati, OH and moved to Austin in 2008.  She is a friendly, outgoing and caring person, who has more than 30 years of administrative and customer service experience. Her professional background includes positions such as administrative assistant to the vice president of Life Ins. Co. of Cincinnati, financial assistant at Fire Creek Cattle Company, and account representative at SunTrust Bank.

During her free time, she enjoys playing with her grandson and granddaughter, reading, needlework, and crocheting.   She loves being around children, coming from a large family herself.  She feels blessed to be a part of School in the Hills and such a loving, nurturing program for children.

Aditi-5Aditi Jagannath – Office Coordinator

Ms. Aditi grew up in India to a family of music lovers and bankers. Her journey in life allowed her to study and work in a variety of cities including Bangalore & Mumbai in India, as well as San Francisco, CA and Boise, ID before she moved to Austin, TX.

Ms. Aditi has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism, with a minor in Psychology. After a few years in the private sector, she went back to school and got a Master’s Degree in Mass Communication. She discovered Montessori when her firstborn started attending a Montessori school. Her love for working with children and for the Montessori philosophy led her to begin a career in Montessori Education. She went on to work as a teacher and ultimately as a Director at a local Montessori school in Cedar Park, TX.

Ms. Aditi joined School in the Hills in June 2015. She is excited to be part of the special place that SitH is and pursue her passion for all things Montessori. She is married with three children, all of whom are products of the Montessori system. Look for her little one in our toddler classroom!

Kimberly Tran – Administrative Assistant Kimberly-1

Ms. Kimberly originally hails from Southern California where she grew up with a love for the performing arts. She went on to study musical theater at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. When she graduated, her passion for performing led her to New York where she spent time immersed in the city and the theater life. After living in New York for a while, she moved back to her roots in Los Angeles to continue in film work.

Ms. Kimberly grew up in a large and active family, so being around little ones was always natural to her. She had early experience in childcare, and while back in LA, she was lucky enough to nanny for a family with two terrific boys. While being part of their lives, she discovered the world of Montessori through their eyes and saw how wonderfully it impacted them. When life brought her out to Austin, she knew she wanted to work in an environment where she would be able to take part in encouraging and helping children grow. She was lucky enough to find School in the Hills, and already considers it her Montessori family.

Amy Pawlik – Administrative Assistant

Ms. Amy is honored to be part of The School in the Hills community.  She brings with her 23 years of experience, all of which have been within a Montessori environment.  Her first years were spent as a teaching assistant in Primary and Elementary classrooms. This is where she fell in love with the Montessori philosophy.  In the classrooms, she worked alongside teachers who had more than 30 years of experience, and she learned so much from them. The lessons and experiences Ms. Amy had with these gifted individuals shaped her into the person she is today and for that, she is forever grateful.

A few years into her Montessori career, a position within administration became available and this is where she found a new love. While working in this area, she had an extensive list of responsibilities and loved the challenges that each day would bring.  Her greatest joy came from the connections she made with the parents and children. She holds a Texas Director’s Certification.

Ms. Amy grew up in Westlake, and her family still lives there today.  She loves being with her family, husband Dan of 18 years and their beautiful daughter Ava Grace.  She has a great love for animals. She also enjoys interior design and event planning, having recently taken on her biggest event when she hosted and coordinated a beautiful wedding.