Leadership Team

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Beth Newton

Principal

Beth Newton has worked in AISD for most of her 28 years in education. She is
entering her third full year as the Principal of Murchison Middle School. Prior to that she served as the Principal of Hill Elementary School for ten years, and Principal of Pease Elementary School for four years. She began her leadership career as Assistant Principal at Menchaca Elementary School, serving their community for four years. Before working in leadership positions, Mrs. Newton was a teacher, in Austin ISD, Highland Park ISD and Houston ISD.

It has been the greatest joy of Mrs. Newton’s life to watch the transformative
changes that can happen on a campus when shared leadership is actively in place. She believes strongly in building leadership capacity, establishing a growth mindset and helping students develop socially and emotionally.

Mrs. Newton works with the staff to create strong academic and elective programming on campus, so that all students have the opportunity to graduate college, career and life ready. By serving  at the only MYP International Baccalaureate campus in AISD, Beth Newton aims to lead her staff in the development of inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

Beth Newton believes that the establishment of a positive climate and culture is vitally important in creating a safe learning environment. She has done this through strong collaboration with the school community and leadership with staff in developing strong relationships with students.

Mrs. Newton is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Educational Leadership. She enjoys
spending time with her family and children, exercising on Town Lake and reading extensively when she has the opportunity. She also enjoys spending time with her dog, Blue!

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Alonzo Blankenship

6th Grade Assistant Principal

Hello my name is Alonzo Blankenship and I am elated to serve as the 6th grade assistant principal at Murchison Middle School for the 2021-2022 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.

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Dominic Infante

7th Grade Assistant Principal

Dominic Infante is the 7th 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.

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Chara Harris

8th Grade Assistant Principal

Chara Harris is the 8th grade Assistant Principal for Murchison MS in Austin ISD.  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 and earned her principal certification through Region 13 Principal Certification Network.

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.

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Lynne Unruh

Lead Counselor

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 ten 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 lynne.unruh@austinisd.org

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TBA

6th Grade Counselor

Check back soon!!

Robin Johnson

7th grade Counselor

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-one 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.

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Courtney Cardosa

8th grade Counselor

Courtney Cardosa, M.Ed., LPC

This is my 19th year as a school counselor and 22nd 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 begin a new chapter supporting the Murchison students, staff, families, and community. Go Mats!

Leadership Charter