Ms. McWilliams, M.Ed, GACHeadmistress
A former gifted student, Madison graduated college at 19 and served as a gifted/talented coordinator in public education before founding The Joule School. She holds a dual M.Ed in Teaching and Gifted/Talented Educational Psychology, and is the regional Gifted Youth Coordinator for Mensa of Central Texas. She is currently pursuing additional graduate certification online in School Leadership at Harvard University while serving as Head of School at Joule.
Madison holds multiple teaching certifications and has taught kindergarten through high school in three states. She is trained in the Montessori Method and Advanced Placement (AP) programs. In addition, she has developed online courses for students across the country as a curriculum author with educational publishing houses. She has also served as a speech and debate coach, Destination Imagination state-certified coach, and National Honor Society sponsor.
Madison is an international dual resident and lives part-time in The Netherlands when Joule is not in session.
Mrs. Merissa Russell-Hammer, M.A.
Merissa is a truly international teacher: a British American who grew up in Holland, Belgium, Ireland, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. She earned her M.A. in Creative Writing in London, England and her BA in Communications/Literature in Brussels, Belgium.
As she spent her entire life in Europe, Merissa is trilingual. Her love for language first led her into education in an École de Langues in Brussels, teaching English and Dutch to French-speaking children aged 3 to 14 with storytelling and hands-on activities. In addition to her work in the field of writing, language, and literature, Merissa also holds a certificate in filmmaking which she earned in Ebeltoft, Denmark. She has worked as a professional storyteller and filmmaker, and brings her creative side into the classroom.
Merissa has a long-term passion for teaching and children’s development. She is passionate about guiding children in becoming independent individuals in an environment where their giftedness can thrive. She joined Joule after settling in Austin, TX, where she teaches the primary grades and immersion French classes.
Ms. Erin Meyer, B.A.
Bio coming soon!
Dr. Jim James, Ph.D
Dr. Jim James is a pianist of unique breadth and depth, with a wide range of experience in solo, chamber, and collaborative playing. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Lawrence University in Wisconsin, as well as a Master of Music degree from the University of Missouri.
Dr. James earned his Doctorate in Piano Performance at the University of Texas. He also spent a semester studying at the École Normale de Musique in Paris , France. In 2002, Jim took first prize in the Badger Piano Competition of the Wisconisin Music Teachers Association. He later played John Adams Grand Pianola Music as a soloist with the UT Wind Ensemble in a performance featured on NPR’s Performance Today.
Dr. James continues performing solo and collaborative music in the Austin area, including frequent performances with the Austin Chamber Music Society.