Akins Educational Services Department

The Akins Educational Services Department serves more than 400 students that have Special Education services.  Students with disabilities are served in the general education setting, in inclusion and resources classes. As the largest Special Education department in Austin ISD, we have five Life Skills Classrooms, a large SCORES Program, and a SBS program to serve students who have specific needs. We follow the district's mission statement and vision for all of our students. 

Mission Statement

In partnership with parents and the community, AISD exists to provide a comprehensive experience that is high quality, challenging, and inspires all students to make a positive contribution to society.


AISD will be nationally recognized as an outstanding school district, instilling a passion for life-long learning in all students.

Department Chair

Hello, I am Kristene Newcomb, I serve as the Department Chair for Educational Services. This is my 8th year serving in this position. I graduated with a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Texas Arlington and earned my Bachelors of Applied Arts and Sciences Degree with an emphasis in developing programs for students with disabilities from Texas State University. 
Some important resources for families of Disabled Children are listed below.
For transition information visit 
For individuals with Autism:
Texas Autism Society at http://www.texasautismsociety.org/
Autism Society of America at http://www.autism-society.org/
For transitional employment services:
Texas Workforce Commision at https://twc.texas.gov/
For services to build independent living skills:
ARCIL at www.arcil.com
For information on guardianship:
For Medicaid Waiver Programs
Texas Medicaid Waiver Disability Services & Waivers http://medicaidwaiver.org/state/texas.html
Our Life Skills Program is the largest in the district.  We have 5 teachers supporting more than 50 students.  Each classroom has several support staff to ensure all student need are met.  Our teachers specialize in core subjects to enable students to follow a schedule that allows them to have an authentic high school experience while meeting the requirements of their Individual Educational Plans in the least restrictive environment.  All of our teachers have multiple years of experience here at Akins and have worked together to  develop a program that promotes maximum student growth. 
Ms. Nall specializes in teaching our students Reading and Language Arts skills. 
Mr Pena specializes in teaching Math and Financial Skills.
Mr Skip specializes in teaching the Sciences. 
Mr Schafer specializes in teaching Social Studies including History and Government. 
Ms Paladino specializes in teaching Living and Working Transitional skills.
Additional course include nutrition, dance, study skill, current events and other classes. Student schedules include courses both in the general ed setting and within the program setting according to each students IEP.  
Akins has a large SCORES program. we have more than 50 students that are supported by our teaching staff of 4 teachers and 5 teaching assistants. Students are supported by this staff in their classes in the General Education and Resource settings. Students may also take classes in the SCORES program that relate to Social Skills, Communication and Transitional Skills according to their Individual Education Plan.  Our SCORES teachers include Mr. Able, Ms Janner, Ms Cauthlen and Mr Rice. 
Our Social Behavioral Program supports students with behavioral and emotional needs.  They staff work to ensure that each students needs are met and support those students within the General Education, Inclusion and Resource Settings. Mr Heaney and Mr. Ramiro are our lead teachers for this team and they are joined by other para-professional team members. 
The Akins Special Ed Program offers Inclusion with a Co-teach model for all core classes which gives all students enrolled in inclusion classes the benefit of two teachers working as a team to support every students needs. 
Akins offers a Resource class for students that need to access learning through a modified curriculum with a smaller teacher to student ratio.