About Us

Faculty

When my youngest sister was diagnosed with autism over 20 years ago, I began volunteering in her preschool classroom. From that point on, I knew I wanted to work with children. I have spent the years since then living that dream. I have my Masters in Special Education from the University of Texas at Austin specializing in Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities and my Bachelor of Science with a major in psychology and minor in child development from Troy State University at Montgomery.

I teach using a student-centered approach, which I have developed over the past 20 years working with individuals with learning differences from ages 3-26 years old. For preschoolers, most of the teaching will be play-based although I also incorporate Montessori elements, inquiry-based learning and cooperative learning. I'm a facilitator of learning and strive to promote independence and exploration. I believe that students learn best when they are actively involved in what they are learning. To promote critical thinking skills, I ask the students frequent questions. I prefer having lessons outdoors, encouraging full body movement and hands-on exploration. I promote student-created projects such as books, experiments, and art and I love seeing the pride on a child's face when they complete those projects.

I adore working with young children because they are so passionate about everything! Their love for learning and life is infectious and my goal is to do everything I can to keep that fire burning.

When I'm not teaching, I'm spending time with my amazing husband, Jeff, and my precious son, Connor. In my spare time, I run my photography business where I specialize in taking lifestyle photos of children with an emphasis on photographing families with a family member with special needs. If you'd like to learn more about me, please visit my professional website at dailyglimpse.weebly.com.

Pamela McEachron, M.Ed.
First and Second Grade

I was born in Cajun country, Louisiana. I moved to Texas in middle school. After high school, I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University. I earned my Master’s degree from Texas A&M, Commerce. I have 26 years of experience teaching elementary school in Texas. I taught 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade in Mesquite ISD for 9 years. I taught Kindergarten, 1st grade, 3rd grade, and 4th grade in Boerne ISD for 17 years. I have a Texas teaching certificate. My certifications are Elementary Education (grades 1-8), Kindergarten Education (PK-K), Elementary Reading (grades 1-8), Reading Specialist (PK-12), and English as a Second Language (PK-12). I am also Gifted/Talented certified.

Building a relationship with students is the most important thing that a teacher can do. I work hard to build those relationships with students and their parents. Students learn best when they feel a connection to the teacher and feel that the teacher believes in them. Teaching children to overcome obstacles with a growth mindset is equally important. The words that students think and say impact their success. Students need to know that failure is part of learning and can be overcome.

I have two grown children. My oldest, Connor, served 4 years in the Marines and is currently working as an EMT in San Antonio. This fall Connor will attend UT San Antonio to become a paramedic. My youngest, Collin, is a senior at Texas Tech University and is planning to go to Medical School.

I love to garden, especially roses and Texas native plants. When it’s winter and too cold to play in the garden, I crochet. My specialties are scarves and afghans. Another passion is rescuing animals. I currently own two rescue cats, and hope to rescue a dog in the near future.

Samir Patel, M.S.
Curriculum Coordinator and Specialist in School Psychology

One thing I've learned in my journey is that although end goals are useful to direct our path, it is the path itself where happiness is found. For me, that path has been paved by curiosity of the inner life. In my youth, I spent a considerable time exploring world philosophies, world religions, and psychological theories which thereby led to a more formal study of the mind.

I received my B.A. in Psychology from University of Texas at Austin, where I spent quite a bit of time learning about cognitive psychology and the effects of meditation on learning. It was, however, while volunteering at a school in India, that my general curiosity turned into a passion. There, I received an indelible experience of getting to know an incredibly inquisitive and bright student who also had a penchant for blurting out answers in class, making students laugh, and allowing friends to copy his homework from the previous day. He was later expelled for bad behavior and, in all my helplessness at that moment, I wondered about the exceptional students in the world with qualitatively different learning styles who are continually at risk of having their individual potentials go unnoticed, and having their inconvenient behaviors and peculiarities define them. It is intuitive that a human in one environment should act, behave, think and operate quite differently than in another; as is evident that a child's struggle to learn or behave in one environment is not completely reflective of that child's entire personality. It is, rather, only a particular response to a particular condition - much like how plants wither under the conditions of an unrelenting sun. I thereafter pursued and received my M.A. in School Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin motivated by my interest to not only learn how to identify various learning styles and capacities in students but how to effectively create supportive conditions in which every child can blossom -- to learn how to manage and mitigate impediments to the learning process so that each student can receive their needed amounts of sunlight, rainwater and nutrition to thrive. I've since been working passionately as an LSSP, removing barriers one student at a time.

I am excited that at Sankalpa, I will have the great pleasure of working with a wonderful team, collectively enriching learning conditions so that many more students can flourish far before barriers manifest themselves.

I feel like I have a well-rounded background in education. I have experience with teaching elementary to college-level science. My philosophy of education has evolved through my own experiences as a teacher, educator, and a mother. I promote self-directed learning, autonomy, and individuality in order to help young minds find their passions. My instructional practices rely on real-world examples, experiential knowledge, and Socratic methods.

I was born and raised in Austin. I have a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with a Minor in Mathematics and an M.Ed. in Science Education. I believe that the process of investigation of the natural world begins early with children. I use the framework of biology, chemistry, and physics to facilitate scientific exploration for younger learners. While my academic pursuits have been focused on science, I have several other passions such as playing music, gardening, traveling, and painting.

Though a majority of my experience has been in secondary education teaching chemistry, physics, and environmental science, I shifted into primary education after my son Nolan was born. I feel I can have the greatest impact by helping younger minds have a head start in developing scientific reasoning. I believe that every child I teach is extraordinary and has their own unique strengths.

I am grateful to be a part of the community at Sankalpa! Being a teacher, to me, means that it is my responsibility to inspire future generations to value education, have the perspective that one’s education never ends, share the knowledge and wisdom of my experiences, help children to develop and understand their own character and values, and allow children to see their role as it fits within a varied and dynamic world. I am looking forward to working with your child in the science class and club!

Leanne Paulin, B. Sc.
Math and Art

As many of us have experienced, there is always that one teacher who stands out among others. For me, he was the principal of our elementary school and also our fill-in math teacher. From his very first lesson, he instantly elevated the tone of the class, challenging us to create our own math questions, to label them with our own perceived difficulty (were they worthy of a second base hit or a home run?), and to share them with the class, in an ongoing game of math baseball. We were all suddenly very engaged and empowered and took a lot more pride in our work. It was a pivotal moment that left me with lingering questions about why this wasn’t the norm. I asked myself: Could there be more to education? Should there be more to education?

Based on what I have experienced, I wholeheartedly believe that the answer to both of these questions is a resounding yes. Children are natural problem-solvers, seekers, questioners, artists, story-tellers, scientists, mathematicians, and so much more. They have enormous potential, each and every one of them and they deserve to be given these opportunities.

My fourteen years of experience as an educator has taught me so much. I have served in several capacities within the Austin area homeschooling community, I have been a private tutor and finally a homeschooling mother of four. I have seen first hand the benefits that can accrue from using creative approaches to teaching, from asking the right questions, engaging students in a personalized way, seeing each child for who they are and what they offer and helping them to feel that they belong. Children need to feel empowered, valued, excited to learn and in charge of their educational goals.

I am excited to share my passion for teaching and learning with your children at Sankalpa Academy. Though I hold a B.Sc. in Chemistry, I’ve always been an artist and a mathematician at heart. That should not be surprising when you consider how art and math permeate everything and how interconnected all disciplines are. I am excited to share my love of math and art with your children, to learn together the individuality and power of art, to find areas where math and art intersect, and to help them develop a deeper understanding of the universal language of mathematics. This is what I do with my children, in my private art and tutoring lessons, and what I have done for the past three years as a teacher with Austin Area Homeschoolers Math Team.

Stacey Loop is passionate about education and considers herself to be a lifelong student around the mind/body connection and the potential for tapping into optimal wellness, which is different for each person and requires appropriate application of using the right tools at the right time.

After years of working in public schools as a Special Education Teacher, Stacey began her personal journey only after the birth of her son, who was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. Fascinated by the ancient teachings of yoga and holistic health, she embarked upon in-depth certifications as a yoga therapist and health coach. She shares this gift with her community and with her son to assist in moving them toward greater balance.

Stacey has taught over 2,500 classes over the span of 15 years in the format of teacher training, educational topics, therapeutic private lessons, mentoring, and public classes. She co-wrote the curriculum for Yoga Yoga’s Children’s Teacher Training and leads teachers in this 95 hour certification program as well as training in other programs around the therapeutic aspects of yoga and meditation.

She is known for her insight and playful approach in helping individual students move in a forward direction through the profound teachings of yoga and holistic health coaching applied strategically to meet the “bio individuality” of the student.

• C-IAYT = Certified International Association of Yoga Therapists
• E- RYT 500 hours; E-RYT 200 hours Certifications in the Hatha yoga tradition
• Children’s Yoga Certifications: Yoga Ed K-8th; Yoga for the Special Child
• Studied at the American Viniyoga Institute
• IIN Health Coach Certification
• Studied Holistic Health Coaching at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN)
• BS in Special Education, Oklahoma State University
• Public Relations assistant for Modern Holistic Health (www.modernholistichealth.com)
• Co presenter at U.T. Social Worker’s Conference 2017 on “Inner Transformation: A Holistic Approach for Kids with Neurological Issues”

Amy Pancake, M.A., E-RYT, CYRT
Yoga and Meditation

Amy Pancake learned to work with pre-school age children by working with the director of La Petite Ecole French immersion preschool in Austin. Her experience includes 16 years of yoga teaching, applied kinesiology studies at U.T. Austin, ongoing study of human movement (including developmental movement with Emilie Conrad of Continuum Movement) and over 5,000 hours of kids’ yoga classes.

Her yoga classes are fun, engaging, incorporate movement in all planes of gravity, activities to grow attention span, social time and guidance (when needed) in social interactions. She began practicing Vipassana meditation at Wat Suan Mokh monastery in Thailand in 1992. In 2015 Amy co-founded Chakra Kids Yoga children's yoga teacher training program in Austin. She works with children and adults in various settings all over Austin.

She holds a Master's degree in Liberal Arts (concentration French to English translation) and later completed the coursework required for a major in Spanish literature. Her passion for the Spanish language and Latin American culture began when she moved to Texas in 1995. At the heart of her teaching is the commitment to connect in a heartfelt way with each student so they feel safe and free to express themselves in class.

I have fond memories of spending parts of my summer vacations helping my aunts setting up their classrooms, organizing materials and getting everything ready for the first day of school!

I am a native from Caracas, Venezuela. I visited Austin in the winter of 1998 and was immediately drawn by the bright blue Texas sky and the kindness of the people here. I moved in the summer of the same year and made Austin home. My two lovely daughters were born and raised here in Austin, Texas.

I hold a Bachelors degree in Arts from Universidad Católica Andrés Bello majoring in Education. I have taught elementary, middle school and high school grades in Venezuela, Mexico and Austin in my more than 10 years of experience.

I am honored to join the Sankalpa Academy community and to get to know and work with your child. It gives me deep joy to witness the unique learning processes of each student, how they connect pieces of information and apply and grow their own inner knowledge. My approach to education is holistic, since I also have a Montessori background and have experienced the educational models in different cultures.

It is my earnest intention and desire to make a positive impact in the lives of my students, respecting their individuality and learning styles and providing the space to spark their inner love of learning.

In my free time I love to read, garden, do yoga, travel and spend time in nature with my family.

Mei Szeto, M.S.
Mandarin

Mandarin is an increasingly popular foreign language, spoken all over the world. With a Master’s in Educational Psychology from The University of Texas, and more than 20 years teaching experience, Mei Szeto is also a native speaker who presents the Chinese language and culture through fun and creative methods.

Students will sing, dance, cook, play games, make crafts, tell stories, build with Lego, plant vegetables, practice Kung Fu, and perform puppet shows about numbers, colors, animals, family members, fruit, and daily greetings. Through such methods, students will learn to understand, read and write Mandarin in newer, deeper, and more inspirational ways.

In addition to this year’s private lessons, Mei will be conducting language summer camps in 2019. For more information, please call Mei at 512-796-6708.