St. Andrew's Announces Yvonne Cervantez Russell as Next Head of Lower School

After a national search, St. Andrew's Episcopal School is excited to share that we have hired Yvonne Cervantez Russell to be our next Head of Lower School at St. Andrew’s beginning on July 1, 2024. Mrs. Russell joins us from St. George Episcopal School in San Antonio, where she has served for the past nine years as the Director of Lower School.

Mrs. Russell has an impressive record of success both as a classroom teacher and as a school administrator. She is known for her ability to develop leaders within an institution, build collegiality among faculty, and partnerships with parents. Among her many achievements at St. George Episcopal School, she developed a comprehensive Lower School technology initiative, aligned curriculum and instruction across grades JK-5, instituted a new school-wide assessment tool, prioritized faculty professional development in the areas of early childhood literacy, math instruction and technology, allocated instructional time for focus on entrepreneurship, diversity and inclusion, implemented signature service learning projects in all grade levels and developed the Lower School STEAM program. 

Mrs. Russell was instrumental in establishing the Social and Emotional Learning Program at St. George and enthusiastically embraces our Episcopal Identity. She also believes deeply in the value of data and metrics as a measure to reflect on current practices to continually improve programming. Being able to aggregate and understand data in its many forms, including test results, constituent feedback and program statistics is part of her thoughtful work to ensure that a school remains relevant, dynamic and effective for all its students.

Community feedback about Mrs. Russell was very positive, with one faculty member commenting, “I appreciated her leadership style and her preference for collaborative approaches. She also emphasized the significance of open, transparent and frequent communication in today’s context.” Another parent commented, “I appreciate that she understands that there are 360 different viewpoints and she is willing to listen but make the best choice. She has a deep willingness to grow and learn constantly. She is a leader that a teacher, child and parent would want to follow.”

Mrs. Russell shared, “Great schools don’t just happen, they are very thoughtfully planned. I look forward to setting the tone and direction for St. Andrew’s Lower School that will result in students who can engage fully, follow their curiosities, ask questions with confidence and learn from their experiences as they interact with content, one another, and their world. I am grateful for the opportunity to join the St. Andrew’s team and be part of this incredible organization’s future!”

Mrs. Russell has also served on school boards, as a public school vice-principal and principal and a classroom teacher, bringing a depth of experience and knowledge that will be so valuable to our Lower School experience. She and her husband Travis enjoy hiking and traveling and they have three children, Elizabeth, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in their NICU, Matthew, a Sourcing Specialist for SpaceX and Luke, a sophomore in Engineering at Texas A&M University. We look forward to welcoming Yvonne and Travis - and their dogs Luna and Abbie - to Austin this summer!