Chara Harris is entering her 22nd year in education as the principal of Murchison Middle School. She completed her B.A. in Mathematics and her M.A. in Mathematics Education through the UTeach program at the University of Texas at Austin.
After spending 12 years as a middle school math teacher and campus instructional coach, Chara moved on to the positions of district Curriculum Technology Specialist in the Math department and that of Technology Design Coach.
She is passionate about campus instructional leadership. Chara believes in job embedded professional development to develop teacher leaders. and supporting teachers in providing inquiry-based, culturally relevant, and real-world learning experiences and earned her principal certification through Region 13 Principal Certification Network.
Chara is committed to being a barrier breaking leader on Murchison’s Island of Safety. Through equity, access, and culture of excellence, she aims to ensure ALL students have access to opportunities, support to be successful, and feel like they belong at Murchison.
In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching football, and listening to music. Chara is from a military (Air Force) family and has resided in Austin since first grade. She attended all AISD schools; Winn Elementary, Webb 4th & 5th grade center, Pearce Middle School, and LBJ High School.
Roxanne Walker is the 6th grade Assistant Principal at Murchison Middle School. This is her 17th year in education and first year as a proud Matador! She completed her BA at the University of South Florida. She then pursued her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction and attained her Principal’s certification from Lamar University.
Prior to becoming a Murchison Matador, Roxanne spent five years as a special education teacher in Tampa, FL. She moved to Austin in 2011 where she joined the AISD team as an ELA teacher at Mendez Middle School. She spent the last 11 years at Mendez MS as a teacher, Literacy Specialist, SIM Instructional Coach, and Assistant Director.
Roxanne’s educational philosophy is rooted in the belief that the foundation of our educational system thrives on relationships. She views the infrastructures of education as the interdependence of academics and relationships; we are in the field of relational work. Roxanne also believes that by providing students with meaningful learning opportunities, and by allowing students to challenge while being challenged, we are preparing them to be productive advocates in an ever-changing society. Her goal is to maintain a forward thinking mindset focused on increasing diversity and educational opportunities for all students. Roxanne is also passionate about providing restorative practices and social and emotional opportunities for all students.
Roxanne is originally from Boston, Massachusetts. In her free time, she enjoys exercising and running. She also enjoys traveling and being near the ocean. Her absolute favorite activity is spending time with her daughter.
Hello my name is Alonzo Blankenship and I am elated to serve as the 7th grade assistant principal at Murchison Middle School for the 2022-2023 school year! My objective as an educator is to inspire a culture of learning and belonging where leaders, including students, willingly embrace the love and wisdom needed to overcome fear and social isolation in our community.
I believe that all people have unique gifts and talents that are needed for a learning community to not only survive, but thrive. However, do adult facilitators of learning believe all students are assets and create space to hear their story? Do students recognize and leverage their own inherent gifts and talents? Do campus leaders listen reflectively and engage collaboratively with those they serve to intentionally remove the barriers that hinder imagination, diversity of expression, and empathy? Does the campus community model what it means to come together and form deep connections across social differences?
I am a graduate of the UT Austin Principalship Program, where my action research focused on deeper learning in the classroom through the integration of culturally responsive instruction.
As a former band director and teacher leader and Garcia and Webb Middle Schools, I have engaged in manifold opportunities to grow as a leader. Moreover, as a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Specialist for the past four years, I have emphasized how learning is a process through which students and adults have the potential to cultivate essential skills for life effectiveness. I believe that learners need both support and high expectations in culturally responsive settings to grow.
Feel free to contact me to talk more! My hobbies include but are not limited to reading, enjoying music, spending time with family, and serving alongside the faith community. I am grateful for all of you and for the Lord who has blessed me tremendously.
Dominic Infante is the 8th grade Assistant Principal at Murchison Middle School. This is his second year at Murchison. Prior to joining the team at MMS, he spent the previous 6 years working in the Special Education Department in AISD as a specialist and instructional coordinator. Before working at the district level, he taught special education for 5 years at Lively Middle School. Dominic graduated from the University of Texas in 2003, before later receiving a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Texas State University.
Dominic is a firm believer in the power of education in the lives of all students. As an educational leader, he strives to ensure a meaningful, impactful education for all students that prepares them for the life of their choosing, helps them realize unmapped dreams and potential, and gives all students the tools to change their world.
A resident of Austin since 1999, in his time outside of work Dominic enjoys spending time with his family, including his two young children. He also enjoys staying active and being outdoors, swimming at Barton Springs whenever possible. Other hobbies include music, reading, and trying to keep his home garden alive and growing. Please reach out to him with any questions, comments, or concerns.
Lauren Rivas is the Murchison Middle School project specialist in charge of Section 504 coordination and assistance with Texas’ student assessments. She is new to the AISD family but has been in education for over 14 years.
Lauren prides herself in being a lifelong learner. She has her M.A. in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from the University of Colorado and her B.A. in Liberal Studies from Florida International University. Additionally, she completed four graduate courses with the University of Miami Herbert Business School (M.S., Leadership) and has a certificate in Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities from the University of Central Florida.
Ms. Rivas has served students of all ages and demographics domestically and abroad. Throughout her career in education, she has taken on many roles – University English language educator, learning specialist working with neurodiverse students, teacher trainer, and supervisor to volunteers and educators in both professional and community service roles.
Lauren is originally from New York, NY. In her free time, she takes delight in practicing yoga, being and moving in nature, listening to music and dancing, writing, traveling, volunteering with various community organizations, and spending time with her son.
Courtney Cardosa, M.Ed., LPC
This is my 20th year as a school counselor and 23rd year in education. I have spent the last 6 years as the counselor at Summitt Elementary where I focused on building a program to support 850 students, their families, and a wonderful staff. Prior to Summitt, I called Pflugerville ISD home for 16 years where I was a counselor and a middle school teacher. I have also spent time practicing private therapy with both adolescents and adults over the years. When not at school, you can find me supporting one of my four children in one of their many activities. I believe strongly that collaboration, communication, and relationships are the keys to happiness and success. I am excited to be supporting the Murchison students, staff, families, and community. Go Mats!
Greetings Murchison parents and community! I am thrilled to be a member of the Matador Family! I would like to share a few tidbits about me. I have been with AISD for eleven years. During this time, I have served as an Elementary Counselor and a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Specialist. Fortunately, as an SEL Specialist, I worked with the Anderson Vertical Team elementary campuses. Prior to my time with Austin ISD, I worked as a Special Education teacher for 9 years and then as a Middle School Counselor. I have missed working with the middle school population and am excited to have this opportunity. I look forward to being a part of your community and learning and growing together. You can reach me at email@example.com
Greetings from the midwest! I am an Illinois girl living in a Texas world. I am thrilled to enter Matador Land! My family and I moved to Cedar Park in the summer of 2016. This fall officially marks twenty-two years as an educator; serving in the capacity of classroom teacher, and the last seven years fully transitioning into the world of mental health. My previous five years were spent training and working as a School Counselor at O’Henry Middle and Nan Clayton Elementary School.
I’m a proud wife and mother of a rising college sophomore and two high schoolers (rising 9th and 12th grade). When I’m not serving in my role, you can find me nestled next to my family engaging in school activities, sporting events, traveling, board games, or enjoying a good movie. My self-care routine often includes cuddling up with a good book or taking walks in nature. I look forward to cultivating supportive, stimulating, and inclusive environments that will allow students to learn how to reach their full potential here at Murchison Middle School.