About Us

Alexandra Elliot, PhD, Director/Founder

Dr. Alexandra Elliot is a certified teacher, certified reading specialist, and certified special education teacher with over 25 years of teaching experience.  In addition to being a reading/dyslexia specialist, she has taught general education, special education, and gifted/talented education.  She has a Master of Science degree in Education (Reading Specialist), and a second Master of Science degree in Special Education .  In addition, she has a PhD in Clinical Psychology with a Concentration in Neuropsychology.  Her areas of expertise are dyslexia intervention (Orton Gillingham), dysgraphia intervention,  dyscalculia, gifted/talented (2e), and executive functioning.  She has presented her research on reading interventions and working memory at the International Literacy Association, National Academy of Neuropsychology, and other national conferences. While offering private dyslexia and special education services to children in Austin, she saw a need for a school that could better meet children's needs.  Bridges Academy Austin is designed to meet children's needs in a supportive environment in which students thrive at any level.

Mallory McKeever, M.Ed., Assistant Director - Reading  Specialist

Mrs. McKeever is a certified teacher, certified reading specialist, and administrator.  She holds two Master of Education (M.Ed.) degrees, including an M.Ed. in Reading from the University of Texas at Tyler and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Stephen F. Austin State University.  Additionally, she received her Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English with a concentration in Multicultural Literature and a minor in History from the University of Texas at Arlington.   Mrs. McKeever has primarily taught ELA in public schools at the middle school level, in addition to providing 1:1 dyslexia therapy.   She also has experience with elementary language arts and secondary social studies.   Whether working with students above level or below level, Mrs. McKeever differentiates instruction to ensure all students’ needs are met.  She has also assisted in curriculum design and district professional development. Additionally, she has served as a Mentor Teacher and earned Teacher of the Month on several occasions. Mrs. McKeever believes the learning process should be fun and creates engaging and relevant lessons with each individual student in mind. She offers support and guidance as she helps her students become lifelong learners, readers, and critical thinkers.

Karen Lousma, M.Ed. - Middle School Team


Karen Lousma has 24 years as an educator, spanning elementary to adult learners. Her teaching style is student-centric, facilitative, and motivational. She holds certification in the areas of English, reading, speech, special education, and ESL. She has 15 years of secondary experience, teaching English I - IV, AP Literature. professional communication, leadership, and reading intervention. Helping others in the Austin area pursue their teaching careers, Mrs. Lousma served as the secondary teacher certification instructor at Region VIII. She has a Master's Degree in School Counseling. She received the Excellence in Education Award for exemplary programming that promotes awareness and appreciation of diversity. She taught in the middle school for six years and has experience working in the elementary school as a reading interventionist. In her free time, she enjoys outdoor activities, and you will find her on the lake or in the mountains hiking and camping. 

Julia Nelson, M.A. - History & ELA Teacher

Ms. Nelson holds a Master’s degree in History from University of Liverpool. She also has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from UC San Diego.  In addition to her teacher certification program, she has had specialized training in reading and writing intervention.   Ms. Nelson has experience working with students of all ages from kindergarten through high school.  Her goal is to help her students become good global citizens and to encourage their curiosity about the world they live in. In her downtime, she enjoys reading Shakespeare and exploring new historical research about Renaissance era England. 

Pat Curry, Ed.D. - Elementary Team


Dr. Curry has over 30 years of experience in education - as a teacher, counselor, assistant principal, principal, and district administrator. She has degrees in Educational Curriculum and Instruction (B.S.), Counseling (M.Ed.), Educational Administration and Supervision (M.Ed.), and Educational Leadership (Ed.D.), and certifications in English, special education, sociology, counseling, mid-management, superintendency, and English as a Second Language. Dr. Curry and her two sons, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren live Austin and Buda. For fun she enjoys antiquing, reading, dancing, yard work, and outdoor events.

Elena Killough, M.A. - Elementary Team and  Art Specialist

Mrs. Killough is a talented teacher with certifications in Elementary Education (Core Subjects) and English as a Second Language.  She has over 25 years of teaching experience as a reading teacher, ESL specialist, and art specialist.   She has also earned certifications in English Language Arts and Reading (8-12) and Secondary German (8-12).  She is proficient in English, Russian, German, and  Latin.  In addition, she is an ISLA Certified Trainer of Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol, a TEA Certified TOP Rater, and has been certified through the Center for Applied Linguistics Best Literacy Administrator. 

Nicole Caldwell, PhD -  Social Skills and Coding

Dr. Nicole Caldwell has a PhD in special education and has worked with students from ages preschool through high school since 2005. Her background and experiences include private schools, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) programs, Montessori elementary school, and tutoring. She holds certifications in elementary education, K-12th grade special education, lower elementary Montessori teaching, Montessori art teaching, and Pivotal Response Treatment (a naturalistic teaching approach for students with autism). Dr. Caldwell also teaches graduate courses for future special education teachers and has presented at various conferences, including the University of North Texas Adventures in Autism Intervention and Research Conference.  Dr. Caldwell loves making learning fun and meaningful through hands-on activities and project-based learning, where students can be creative and develop collaborative problem-solving skills. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, reading, hiking, and spending time with her family.