PRE-K -- GRADE 8 WITH
TWOS & THREES PROGRAM

our staff

Dr. Franci Roberts

Dr. Franci Roberts

Principal / Middle & Upper Elementary Teacher

Dr. Roberts has been in education for 46 years, both in public school and private school. Her Bachelor’s degree is in elementary and special education. She earned her Master’s in Educational Administration and her Doctorate in Educational Leadership. Dr. Roberts has been involved as an AdvancEd Accreditation External Review team member and team leader for the past several years. She is the founder of The Rubicon Academy and has been the Head of School and the teacher for Upper Elementary for the past 20 years. As a curious and evolving educator, she always looks forward to examining new horizons in the education world and to absorb and learn fresh ideas from research and visiting with other schools.

Paula Gunnell

Paula Gunnell

Lower Elementary Teacher

Mrs. Paula Gunnell has been an educator for 23 years. She has taught in several different public school settings and is currently teaching in her tenth year at Rubicon Academy. She has an M.S.Ed. with a major emphasis in special education. Her B.S. is in Early Childhood and Elementary Education.

Shannon McConnell

Shannon McConnell

Office Manager / 2's and 3's Teacher / Counselor

Shannon McConnell has been teaching over 20 years. She graduated from Sam Houston State University with her Bachelors in Business Management, and an MBA in Management. She has graduated with her Counseling degree from Sam Houston State University and is a certified Play Therapist. She has many years of working in administration, teaching experience with preschool, character development, arts and crafts, and glass fusing.

J.C. Reeves

J.C. Reeves

High School Mathematics Teacher

J.C. Reeves has an engineering degree from Texas A&M University with a minor in business. He started a private tutoring business in 2013 that has served hundreds of students in the Greater Houston area. In addition to private tutoring for all levels of math, he also teaches math/science at Ridgemont Academy and SAT Intensive prep classes that he designed from the ground up. He has a passion for bulletproof coffee, board games, physical fitness, and spending time with his wife and children.

Darryl Richards

Darryl Richards

Music Teacher

Darryl Richards attended Sam Houston State University. He studied flute with legendary teacher Jan Cole, who studied in Paris, France with Jean Pierre Rampal. Darryl’s teaching technique is the French style of flute playing which he teaches to all his students.  He has performed with Otis Day and The Knights, Gladys Knight, The Temptations and recorded with Luther Vandross whose CD: “My Secret Love” received a Grammy. He has also graced the big screen with a role in the Tina Turner story “What’s Love Got To Do With It.”  Darryl Richards is debuting his freshman solo album, “It Goes Like This”. He wrote all of the music and produced the CD.

Dr. Rachel McConnell

Dr. Rachel McConnell

Music / Junior Master Gardening Teacher

Rachel McConnell is a pediatrician in The Woodlands area. She volunteers her time introducing primary grade children to the recorder and the flute. She enjoys sharing her love of gardening through The Junior Master Gardening Program with all the students at the school.

Damini Jolly

Damini Jolly

Robotics Teacher

Mrs. Jolly has a Bachelors and Masters degree in Business from Punjab University, India.  Over the past 6 years her role in robotics has evolved from being a parent to a coach, mentor and judge at the FLL Qualifier to head project judge at Houston Championship, and judge at the Houston World Championship.

Katie Kelley

Katie Kelley

Robotics Teacher

Mrs. Kelley teaches robotics and S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to the older students. She brings over twelve years of robotics experience and has worked for the University of Houston, Houston Museum of Natural Science, and Lone Star College just to name a few.

Theresa Woods

Theresa Woods

Drama Teacher

Theresa Woods is an experienced instructor, administrator, and director. She has taught pre-school, elementary, secondary grades plus adults. She considers English, Language Arts, Theatre Arts and Writing to be particular strengths but has taught all subjects. Her education includes a Masters in Language Arts / Reading and a Masters in administration. Presently, she is a director for GED preparation in CISD. Ms. Woods is the drama coach/ Theatre Arts teacher at Rubicon Academy. She enjoys being part of the Rubicon Academy team and is very proud of her acting students.

Susana Gama

Susana Gama

Lower School Spanish Teacher

Susana Gama was born and raised in Mexico city, Mexico. She graduated from Universidad Tecnológica de México with a Bachelor in Science as a Chemical Engineer. She possesses a diploma in Professional Skills. She worked in the food industry for Leading International Companies doing administration work, and in Research and Development laboratory.  In 2002, she acquired her Certificate for Teaching English as a Second Language from a recognized school in Mexico City, training under the umbrella of Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Throughout the past 7 years, she worked in a public school in Texas.  She is a passionate teacher with students of all ages, and she has done so since 2002, as either a tutor or in the classroom, in a variety of academic subjects.  She strongly feels that her calling is supporting the community and making a difference.

Alilis Lopez

Alilis Lopez

Upper School Spanish Teacher

Mrs. López has been teaching Spanish in private school setting for more than 7 years in the Woodlands area. She graduated from Sam Houston State University with a Master degree in Spanish Linguistics & Hispanic Studies. She’s a Spanish native speaker and professional linguist devoting time to foreign language teaching and other services such as private tutoring, translation and interpreting. Mrs. López believes learning different languages and cultures will make students more tolerant and respectful, therefore, they will be better individuals and citizens in their communities.

Rebekah Billings

Rebekah Billings

Art Teacher

Rebekah Billings has been teaching art since 2007.  She has taught in many different environments including museum summer camps, public School and private art classes. She received a bachelor’s degree in art education from Lamar University.  While in college she had the unique experience to work as a mural artist at saint Anthony’s cathedral in Beaumont. This fueled her love for art history.  Following that, she worked as an artist in other historical buildings, businesses and has done commissioned murals for individuals.  Rebekah is an enthusiastic art teacher who loves sharing her experiences and incorporating art history into her teaching.

Julian Marino

Julian Marino

Physical Education

Julian Marino has been with The Rubicon Academy since 2006. He enthusiastically shares his love of soccer and fitness with the children every week, encouraging them to achieve their fitness goals.

Betty Estala

Betty Estala

Teacher Aid

Bertha Alicia Estala has been helping at The Rubicon Academy since 2013. She is better known at our school as “Ms. Betty.” She works with the Small Hands Explorer group, the 18 months to three-year old’s class. She assists with drama productions on costumes and scenery. Ms. Betty also teaches arts and crafts. In her spare time, her hobbies are dancing, sewing, and baking.