Headwaters School

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Khabele School Rio Grande Campus Building 1
Khabele School Manchaca Road campus
Khabele School Brodie Lane Campus

The Headqaters School, formerly Khabele School until 2016, is an early childhood through 12th grade private school located in Austin, Texas.[1] It re-branded as Headwaters School in 2016.[2] It begins with a Montessori foundation and progresses to the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. It has three campuses, with the Middle & High School Campus in Downtown Austin serving grades 6 through 12, the Elementary Campus on Brodie Lane serving grades Kindergarten through 5, and the Early Childhood Campus on Manchaca Road serving ages 18 months through preschool.[3]


Letsie "Khotso" Khabele,[4] Moya Khabele, Lisa Dubuque, and Hector Perez co-founded the school.[5] Letsie Khabele is the grandson of Bertha Sadler Means, an Austin activist during the Civil Rights Movement. Michael Barnes of the Austin American-Statesman said that "[t]he idea for the school grew out of a national crisis".[4] Khotso said he considered "How do I raise my child in this new world? How do I educate kids for this new, rapidly changing world? We got clear that we wanted to lean into change."[4]

The school opened in 2001 with 9 students.[6] The Khabele couple had started the school six months after the two first met. The school initially used a borrowed classroom,[4] in North Austin.[5] In 2007 the school acquired an annex at 701 W. 7th St. and housed dance, martial arts, music, and yoga classes there.[6] In 2008 the school had 170 students.[7]

In 2011 Khabele merged with Primavera Montessori, a South Austin private school for 18-month-old to 1st grade children.[8] Primavera; established by Maria Claus, John Martin, Jennifer Phillips, and Jennifer Tyson;[5] had opened in October 2002,[9] with 15 students.[5] As of 2012 the Khabele School had 101 employees and a yearly budget of $6 million. By 2012 it had signed a one-year lease for the facility that houses the elementary division. After that point, the school had the possibility of renewing the lease or constructing a new facility.[8] As of January 2013 the school has three campuses with a total of 460 students. Barnes said in 2013 that the "globally themed" school had "grown rapidly".[4]

Ted Graf became the head of school in July 2015.[10] Its new name was effective 2016.[11] Graf, the principal, stated that the school was planning to get a new name since the merger as it needed to solidify its identity. In regards to the new name Graf stated "We felt like Headwaters, metaphorically, was this notion that educational journeys of the self begin at this primal spot, and we felt like Headwaters and all the imagery and language that comes with it really expresses what we’re trying to do as a school."[10]


The K-5th grade is Montessori. The high school is part of the IBO program for juniors and seniors.[citation needed]

As of 2007, students at the school do charitable acts for one week in the month of December.[12]

Student body[edit]

As of 2014 the school had 527 students,[13] with 8% of the student body receiving financial aid. The enrollment includes 126 students in early childhood (18 months to 5 years), 173 students in elementary school (Kindergarten through grade 5), and 228 students in middle and high school (6-12). The school states that 8% of its total student body receives financial aid is given of its total student body. As of 2014 the middle and high school division includes 20 international students who originated from eight countries.[14]


  1. ^ "The Khabele School".
  2. ^ "Community news: Watch the roads as more school districts begin classes". Austin American-Statesman.
  3. ^ "Contact Us". Headwaters School. Retrieved 2019-01-16. "Middle & High School (6th-12th grade) 807 Rio Grande St, Austin TX 78701" and "Elementary (K-5th grade) 9607 Brodie Lane, Austin, TX 78748" and "Springs Campus YCC & Primary (18 months to Pre-K) 6305 Menchaca Rd., Austin, TX 78745"
  4. ^ a b c d e Barnes, Michael. "Six generations of courage and vision from an Austin family." Austin American-Statesman. Saturday January 12, 2013. Retrieved on January 16, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d "History". The Khabele School. Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  6. ^ a b "History." Khabele School. Retrieved on August 12, 2011.
  7. ^ Staff. "First MBAs, now first graders for Acton founder." Austin Business Journal. May 31, 2009. 2. Retrieved on January 16, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Staff. "Khabele School seeks to grow brand." Austin Business Journal. August 10, 2012. Retrieved on January 16, 2013.
  9. ^ "Ahout." Primavera Montessori School. January 10, 2006. Retrieved on January 16, 2013.
  10. ^ a b Samuels, Alex. "The Q&A: Ted Graf". Texas Tribune.
  11. ^ "About Headwaters." Headwaters School. Retrieved on January 16, 2019.
  12. ^ "This birthday girl saves her wish for the environment." Austin American-Statesman. September 30, 2007. B02. Retrieved on January 16, 2013. "At the Khabele School in Austin, students are required to spend a week in December fulfilling a lifelong dream that benefits charity. So this winter, 16-year- old[...]"
  13. ^ "School Profile 2014" (Archive). Khabele School. p. 2. Retrieved on April 6, 2015.
  14. ^ "School Profile 2014" (Archive). Khabele School. p. 3. Retrieved on April 6, 2015.

External links[edit]