Welcome! ¡Bienvenidos! Bienvenue! 你好 Nǐ hǎo

Kindergarten students at Kolter Elementary come to us with a wide range of social maturity levels and academic readiness. The teachers accommodate these differences by differentiating the HISD curriculum and following developmentally appropriate practices supported by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Activities to deliver the curriculum may vary. Growing to Love Learning is our Kinder-“garden” theme.


Lexa Francisco


Educational Background: I graduated from Texas A&M (WHOOP!) with both my undergrad and masters degree. I graduated in 2015 with my Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies EC-6 and then again in 2016 with my Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction.
Certifications: I am certified in Early Childhood Education through 6th grade, English as a Second Language certified, and GT certified.
Professional Experiences: I started my teaching career in kindergarten at Kolter Elementary in 2016, and have been a Kolter Cougar ever since!
Hobbies/Interests: I love to shop, travel and spend time with my puppy, friends and family!



Nina Maxwell


Educational Background: I received my bachelors degree in communications from Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi and my masters in elementary education from Grand Canyon University in Arizona.
Certifications: I am certified in early childhood- 6th grade as well as English as a second language.
Professional Experiences: I started teaching in 2009 at St. Vincent de Paul and moved to Kolter Elementary in 2016. I absolutely love being a Kolter Cougar!
Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy exploring our amazing city with my husband, Rick, and our 2 children, Austin and Ella. I like trying new restaurants and traveling to new places.



Rachel Ortiz

Kindergarten, Team Leader

Educational Background: I grew up in Houston and attended HISD schools throughout my whole childhood. I graduated from Louisiana State University (geaux tigers!) where I received my Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education.
Certifications: Grades PK-4th, English as a Second Language (ESL), Gifted and Talented/Vanguard
Professional Experiences: I started my career in 2008 as a 1st grade teacher in HISD at Ray K. Daily Elementary. 2 years later, I moved to Omaha, Nebraska where I taught Kindergarten for 5 years at Cody Elementary School in Millard Public Schools. I was ecstatic to move back to Houston in 2015 and teach Kindergarten at Kolter. I have been a proud Kolter cougar ever since!
Hobbies/Interests: I love cooking, baking, and entertaining, and I’m always looking for new recipes and restaurants to try! My husband, Greg, and I enjoy traveling, hiking, and playing with our son, Leo.



Madeline Richardson


Educational Background: I grew up in Houston and graduated from Bellaire High School. I attended Baylor University and graduated in 2019. Sic ‘em!
Certifications: I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education EC-6, as well as an ESL I EC-6 certification.
Professional Experiences: I have been at Kolter since 2019 and I am so excited to be a Kolter Cougar! I previously spent a year as an intern in a kindergarten classroom in Waco ISD, where I fell in love with Kindergarten! I also worked as a Teaching Associate in 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms during my time at Baylor.
Hobbies/Interests: I love cooking, shopping, spending time with my friends and family, cheering on the Baylor Bears, and watching baseball (Go ‘Stros!!).



Kristen Stephens


Educational Background: I grew up in the Meyerland area and attended school at Herod Elementary and Johnston (now Meyerland) Middle School. I graduated from the University of Houston in 2011.
Certifications: I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies EC-4, as well as an ESL EC-4 certification.
Professional Experiences: I taught Kindergarten for 6 years at Herod Elementary before switching to a part time reading and math interventionist at Kolter. I have been a reading and math interventionist at Kolter for the past 2 years and love it, but I am looking forward to getting back into the classroom!
Hobbies/Interests: My 2 kids (Wyatt-3.5 years old and Lily-2 years old) take up most of my time. We love going to the Houston Zoo, exploring local parks, and visiting all of the museums that Houston has to offer. We spend a lot of our time outside going on bike rides and simply playing in our backyard. When I do have time to myself, I enjoy DIY projects, painting, sewing, and crocheting and I absolutely love incorporating the arts into my classroom.