Kinkaid says “hello” to 11 new faculty members

Madi Babine, Sally Buck, and William Scott

Jarad Benn-Upper School Acting Teacher and Director

Mr. Jarad Benn first became a teacher 12 years ago, when he taught music class in Philadelphia. He has taught all ages, from younger kids to professionals. As soon as he saw there was a job opening at Kinkaid, he was thrilled to become a part of the community. Mr. Benn said that “the spaces that are here, from a theater standpoint, rival most colleges.” Excited to take this “teacher’s dream job,” Mr. Benn explained how the teachers care about developing and teaching the entire student. Coming in as an Upper School Acting Teacher and Director, Mr. Benn is excited to be working with a program and school that values the arts as much as athletics and academics.


Lakeisha Branch-Upper School Digital Services Librarian

Mrs. Branch came to Kinkaid from Lee Community College in Baytown, Texas. Her transition has been smooth and she is getting in the groove of the new kinkaid technology, however she has to make a long trek everyday from her house to school.  She came to Kinkaid because it is a prestigious and well-known school. She also enjoys spending time with her 10 month old baby.


Ryan Call-Upper School English Instructor

Mr. Ryan Call has been an instructor since 2007, and has taught high school students since 2011. He received a writing award in 2011 for his collection called, “The Weather Stations” and his most recent published story was called “No Mothers, Only Ghosts”. Mr. Call said that Kinkaid “always struck [him] as a school of excellence,” because the four core values are very important to him. Mr. Call has had a very nice transition, mainly because he lives five minutes from school. Coming from Episcopal high school, Mr. Call knows how to teach high school, and he appreciates the common foundation that the middle schoolers here at Kinkaid all share. Ironically, his father was an air force pilot, but Mr. Call is terrified of flying.


Liz Chambers-Upper School History and Social Sciences Instructor

Coming from St. Mary’s Hall, Kinkaid has always been Ms. Liz Chambers rival; however, now she is excited to be cheering on the Falcons! Incredibly impressed by the school, she found her transition to Kinkaid very seamless and almost “surreal,” she said. Teaching all grades as a history and social science instructor, Ms. Chambers said that each class has a sense of community, making her feel more welcome. Ms. Chambers studied at Vanderbilt University and pursued a career as an art consultant; however, she decided to switch to teaching because she felt that her job as an art consultant “was not very fulfilling and was shallow,” and is now beginning her third year of teaching.


Ike Crews-Upper School Cooney Fellow for History and Social Sciences

Mr. Ike Crews began his teaching career 21 days ago, on the first day of school. He attended Davidson college where he wrestled. During his gap year between high school and college, Mr. Crews visited different countries, including Peru and Australia, working as a banana picker and teaching English at a school in Peru for a month. Enthusiastic to join a school that is well-known across the country and having attended to St. Mark’s School in Dallas, Mr. Crews was delighted to know that he was chosen for the Cooney Fellow for history and social sciences. He is also involved in athletics, coaching football and wrestling.


Steve Dowell-Upper School Mathematics

Mr. Steve Dowell has been teaching for 8 years, 7 of which have been in teaching high school mathematics. Additionally, he spent a year teaching Latin. Mr. Dowell appreciates the school’s four core values and culture, which are some of the reasons why he chose Kinkaid. He found his transition initially smooth, but Hurricane Harvey disrupted his life, and he does not think he would be here without the support of the staff. Dowell describes how at his old school, Woodberry Forest, an all-boys school, the community was more “cold and distant”, and here at Kinkaid, the population is vibrant and welcoming. A little known fact about Mr. Dowell is that he is almost entirely colorbind.


Jessica Hawkes-Upper School History and Social Science Instructor

Mrs. Jessica Hawkes is beginning her eighth year in education and her 17th year coaching cheer. She originally came to Kinkaid for the position of varsity cheerleading coach, and began teaching History three years later. Becoming the new Kinkaid Cooks For the Community (KCFC) club sponsor this year, she is truly involved in all parts of Kinkaid. Her transition into the school has been easy because she was already a part of the Kinkaid community. In addition to playing a role in the Kinkaid population, she also enjoys travelling, and she went to Peru to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.


Jason Johnson-Upper School Science Instructor

Beginning his 15th year as a teacher, Mr. Jason Johnson taught at an all-boys school before transitioning to Kinkaid. He was introduced to the Kinkaid community when his wife, Dr. McDonald Johnson, began teaching English a couple years ago. Although Mr. Johnson said he is not quite adjusted to the heat, he loves the wildlife and food scene that can be found here in Houston.

Kristen McKinney-Middle and Upper School Acting Teacher and Director

Ms. Kristen McKinney is joining the Kinkaid community as the new Middle and Upper School Acting Teacher and Director. Ms. McKinney is no stranger to the arts as she taught for 24 years, 23 of which were at her last school, Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Massachusetts. She says she “is eager for a change and challenge,” especially since the arts and athletics are highly valued at Kinkaid. As a football lover, McKinney is thrilled to become a Falcon fan.  


Kenley Turville-Upper School Dean

Ms. Kenley Turville has been in education since 2012, starting at the Webb Schools in California, then transitioning over to USC. At USC, Ms. Turville worked in administration for six years, overseeing Texas applicants. Knowing the challenge that comes with moving to a new school and living in a new city, Ms. Turville is enthusiastic to get to know the students as a new Upper School dean. Ms. Turville chose this job because she can “ get more hands on with students,” Turville said. Adventurous as she is, she completed her journey to all 50 states, with a one week fishing trip to Alaska.


Mr. Holm- New Athletic Director

With 27 years of teaching and coaching in high school and at the collegiate level, the new Athletic Director, Mr. David Holm, joined the Kinkaid community. He was attracted to Kinkaid by the students he recruited at Georgetown University, and the balance of value between athletics and academics. He has connections in Houston through his wife’s family with two nieces at River Oaks Baptist. “I had a great transition with the hurricane adding a little twist to it,” Holm said. Mr. Holm is a big time Green Bay packers fan and always has been.