The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders

School fever: Ms. Dunavant makes the switch from middle school to high school

in 10 yeARS in the Making/ARS News/Features/News/Showcase by

This year at Ann Richards brought many new faces to the community, including Ms. Haley Dunavant. Ms. Dunavant is a “passion-driven” teacher who has taught seventh grade science for four years. She moved to Austin this year from Memphis, Tennessee, and this semester is her first time teaching grades higher than 7th. Recently, Dunavant stepped away from seventh grade and into ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade classes to fill previous teacher Ms. McCrady’s shoes.

“I realized I wanted to teach at Ann Richards because I found that what I was passionate about was mentoring and being a role model for young women,” Dunavant said. “I started to put the two worlds together and search for public girls schools, and when I found Ann Richards I sent in my resume. I was supposed to be applying for a substitute position for seventh grade originally, but when I went in for my interview I was hired within a few minutes.”

In Dunavant’s seventh grade class, she taught life science and led projects such as plays about animal cells complete with organelle costumes. Her classes collaborated with the Colorado River Alliance, talking about Texas’ watersheds and how to preserve the Colorado River.

“The transition hasn’t been too difficult on me or the students,” Dunavant said. “The biggest transition is going from a classroom setting that needs my attention, to more of a flipped work, hands off environment.”

In the twelfth grade BioMed class, they are working on developing a skeleton with clay body systems. They add to the skeleton with clay organs and tissues, and just recently completed the digestive system. At the end of the project, the mannequin should have every single body system and organ.

“Ms. Dunavant has mentioned that she will start to do the notes from blend with us in class, as a lecture rather than flipped work,” Swearingen said. “I really appreciate this since I typically learn best when teachers actively explain the topics in class, and then let our individual work be practice on the topics/units.”

When not at work, Ms. Dunavant can be seen training for the Cap10k and working out around Austin. She is currently in the process of reading the Harry Potter series and finding new Netflix TV shows to watch including The Office, Parks and Rec, and Mindhunter.

“The transition from teacher to teacher hasn’t been too hard since Ms. Dunavent and Ms. Dixon got the blend pages set up again really quickly,” Alex Swearingen (10) said. “There wasn’t much time in between teachers where we weren’t doing our flipped work, and it all moved very smoothly. So far we’ve just been doing self-paced work on blend, but I find Ms. Dunavant’s organization and thoughts on homework and flipped work to be helpful for our learning.”

Eleanor Jeansonne’s fate is written out in the stars as: undecided. She enjoys many hobbies including aerial silks, dancing, thrifting with friends, and geology. While the human eye can see a weakling, she has always been fascinated with chiropractic work and massage therapy, something she is considering for college. Eleanor is a sentimental person, given that her favorite book is the 6th grade summer reading option, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. Her and her friends favorite way to spend a rainy evening is watching old murder mysteries with actors such as Grace Kelly and Cary Grant. She is looking forward to using newspaper as a learning experience for college writing skills.

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