What is ATI?


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Academy of Thought and Industry Austin

Discover your individual path to excellence

We are a Montessori-inspired private middle and high school in Austin, TX. We deliver a powerful education for independence to develop curious, self-motivated adolescents who thrive in school and in life. Address: 5815 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78752. Phone: (512) 649-2069 E-mail: austin-admissions@thoughtandindustry.com

Julia Richards - Head of School, ATI Austin

Welcome to the future of middle and high school education!

ATI Austin's middle and high school program is unique: a deliberately planned and charted curriculum of foundational skills that open a greater and greater number of possible paths. Our students don’t just memorize—they understand, apply, and integrate knowledge to pursue their own passions!

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What kind of student is a good fit for ATI Austin?

  • High-achieving students who are looking for an intellectually-challenging school
  • College-bound students looking to get into competitive institutions
  • Ambitious teens looking for a small, private school and a more personalized learning environment
  • Homeschooled or virtual school students looking for more opportunities to socialize and excel
  • Students who are looking for a supportive and accepting community
  • Advanced students looking for a Montessori-inspired middle and high school
  • Gifted and Talented students looking for an alternative to Austin public high school

Why Choose ATI Austin?

Academic Rigor at ATI Austin

Academic Rigor for the Real World

Students are challenged and get the preparation they need to be successful in school and life. Our graduates go on to college, create their own companies, and become global citizens.

  • Students do real work in the world
  • They serve as a productive members of the community
  • They realize their natural desire for independence
View Student OutcomesDownload the Program Guide

We foster a love of learning

Learning is a lifelong pursuit, and we help students discover their own love of learning and watch as it motivates them to expand their knowledge.

Explore AcademicsRead Parent Testimonials
A small, private middle and high school in Austin TX

Intentionally Small Classes

AT ATI Austin, we choose to have small class sizes because we believe that is the best way to give students the personalized attention – through our unique teaching and coaching structure – that they need to grow and explore.

In a small school community, our students learn and practice self-governance, interdependence, and conflict resolution, gaining a sense of ownership and pride for the community around them.

Explore our Campus and Student Life
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Learn by doing, not by lecturing

Our Montessori-inspired learning pairs learning academic foundations with real life skill building. Dr. Montessori emphasized that teens should do real work: not just in school, but fully in the world. At ATI Austin, we remove the artificial barrier between the vocational and the avocational; what's required for class and what's chosen for life.

View our Curriculum for Middle and High SchoolLearn more about Montessori Education
Coaching at ATI Austin

One-on-One Coaching

Every ATI Austin student is paired with a coach, who meets one-on-one to help define the student's values, set goals, take risks, and chart their own path. The coaching curriculum has been built by educational experts and psychologists to support the process of self-creation that is so fundamental to adolescence. The coaching process emphasizes:

  • Self-worth
  • Self-efficacy
  • Self-creation
Learn more about Coaching

Small school communities, globally connected

ATI Austin is a tight-knit community that is also connected to a global network, allowing students to learn from industry experts, take part in unique electives, find mentors in your field, and connect with peers around the country and world.

All ATI Schools
Accreditation by Cognia and WASC

The Academy of Thought and Industry Austin has received accreditation by Cognia™ and WASC, the Accrediting Commission for Schools Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Earning accreditation from the Cognia Global Accreditation Commission means that the system and all of its domestic and international schools are accredited, and that ATI is recognized across the nation as meeting the Cognia Standards of Quality. ACS WASC accredits elementary and secondary schools; non-degree granting adult schools; and supplementary education programs.

What Parents are Saying

I love this school. I was a steadfast believer in public schools, until my daughter reached middle school. She spiraled through her 3 years at middle school, not being heard or listened to (except by a few) and was pushed aside for numerous reasons. By the time she got to 8th grade, I had watched my daughter go from a bright student who loved school and learning to a student who thought she lacked all intellectual capabilities and hated going to school... (At ATI) she has rediscovered her intellectual spark and her creative passions. Rather than being left in the dark as parent, we keep in close contact with her guides and her coach. I feel more supported as a parent than I have ever felt through out my daughter's career as a student.

Rhonda S.

ATI Austin Parent

Public school is not for everyone. I have 2 sons - one of whom excels in a traditional school environment, and the other who was stifled and frustrated by it. I am so grateful for ATI Austin and what the school has done, even within a short time, for my son's love of learning and outlook on school and education. I never thought I would hear him say that he loves school, but whenever anyone asks him about it, that is exactly what he says.

Page V.

ATI Austin Parent

My son enjoys the small community, the care, and individualized support of his Guides (Teachers) and the overarching vision of learning in support of the whole person at ATI. ATI's approach and learning structure provide opportunities for deep engagement with complex content supporting the development of critical thinking skills. ATI aligns student interests, creativity, and talents towards individual learning goals by honoring student voice and choice.

Tracy M.

ATI Austin Parent

Frequently Asked Questions

We charge tuition on a monthly basis during the 10 months the school year is in session. You can find the monthly price displayed on the tuition rate sheet. You’re also locking in the rates that you see displayed for future years.

Learn More about Admissions, Tuition and Financial Aid
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Student Outcomes

ATI Austin’s ultimate goal is to create students who thrive: living happy, fulfilled, and productive lives. We work with each student to identify their own values, set specific goals, and learn how to achieve them. This process gives them a sense of accomplishment, and prepares them for a variety of paths in life.

Many of our students choose to pursue higher education, and to date we have a 100% placement rate for college-bound seniors. In addition to their coach and guides, students work with a full-time, licensed college counselor.

Here is where you will find some of our recent ATI graduates:

Meet ATI Austin's School Leaders and Guides

In Montessori education, a guide is a teacher, but not a teacher in the way that's presented in a traditional school model. A Montessori teacher, or Guide, is a facilitator who journeys alongside students in the process of learning and self-construction and guides them toward their innate human potential.

Our Team

Head of School

Julia Richards

Head of School

Julia earned her bachelor’s degree in English literature from Brown University. After several years working in literacy education, she discovered Montessori and completed her AMI Elementary and Adolescent Certification. She created an adolescent program where she discovered the joy of working with teens. She has organized Montessori teacher trainings at the adolescent level, including the AMI/NAMTA Orientation to Adolescent Studies. She initially joined Higher Ground as a Programs Coach and Manager, working to support all ATI campuses, but she missed being in a school community- and in November 2020 joined ATI Austin. She could not be happier to be back working directly with students. Outside of work, Julia is a yoga instructor, enjoys singing and spending time with loved ones, and has a cat called Boo.

Assistant Head of School

Leigh Moss

Assistant Head of School

Middle School Humanities Guide

Matt Ballin

Middle School Humanities Guide

Matt entered the field of education over a decade ago when he moved across the country to begin teaching and writing history curriculum. Since then, he has earned a Montessori certification from the Association Montessori Internationale, taught humanities-related courses to ages from elementary through high school, and worked on the Higher Ground Education programs team developing curriculum and training & mentoring guides at our adolescent schools across the country. His mission is to help create learning environments that enable students to live a fully human life, now and in the future: one of knowledge, action, and self-determination.

Middle School STEM Guide

Audie Alcorn

Middle School STEM Guide

Audie Alcorn is a 7th-generation Texan who earned his teaching diploma through the Association Montessori Internationale in 2009. Since then he has taught at both Montessori and traditional schools, in both public and private schools, and at the elementary and middle-school levels. In 2017, he founded ATX Tutoring & Academic Services here in Austin and has been tutoring full-time for the past couple of years. Though he has enjoyed working one-on-one with his tutoring students and their families, he has missed being part of a learning community and so is looking forward to returning to the classroom. Prior to his career in education, Audie worked as an accountant for Price Waterhouse, as a ranger at Zion National Park, as a buyer for Whole Foods Market, and as a wear-all-the-hats type at a small publishing company in Arizona. He has three college degrees -- one in Accounting and two in Philosophy -- and was a member of a weekly-performing improv troupe for four years while attending the University of Arizona. His other creative/spiritual pursuits include running, chess, writing, poetry, storytelling, quilting, and music. He lives in South Austin with his wife Colette, stepson Noah, cat Mixi, and guinea pig Albert Einstein.

High School Math Guide

Sebastian Gamboa

High School Math Guide

Sebastian Gamboa graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with bachelor's degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Physics. At CMU, Sebastian tutored incoming Freshman and Sophomores in calculus based physics I and II for two years. After graduation, Sebastian continued his work as a physics research assistant in Carnegie Mellon's cosmology department, while also helping the curriculum development team at Higher Ground develop middle school math curriculum material.

High School Science and Makerspace Guide

Randie Piscitello

High School Science and Makerspace Guide

Randie Piscitello is a born and raised Austin native that graduated from the University of Texas in Austin with a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology. While all of her career choices have centered around education, the sciences, and health, her hobbies lie deep in the creative expressions. Randie is a talented photographer and jewelry and epoxy artist, and enjoys pursuing new creative ventures with her students. Randie comes to the Academy of Thought and Industry with a deep background in Montessori platforms, both as a previous primary and adolescent guide. She is transitioning to us from a vibrant adolescent STEM community and looks forward to the in-depth and hands-on projects that she will be tackling with the high school science community and the entire ATI creative learning student community.

High School Humanities Guide

Catherine Hatch

High School Humanities Guide

After graduating from the University of Vermont with a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, Catherine began her career working as a Marketing Content Specialist for two years. Her life mission to contribute to a more equitable society caused her to pursue a Master's degree in Education at Eastern Connecticut State University, believing that access to a quality education is the most important factor in improving social and economic equity. Catherine has spent the past three years working as an educator in public schools, focusing on how student autonomy, culturally relevant pedagogy, and an emphasis on social emotional learning lead to better outcomes for students. Outside of her passion for educational equity, Catherine enjoys hiking, rock climbing, reading, and watching true crime documentaries with her cat, Phoebe.

High School Humanities Guide

Beth Sharkey

High School Humanities Guide

For the past decade, Beth Sharkey has worked with students in grades 6–12 in both private and public school settings. She is excited to have been a part of developing the ATI adolescent experience from multiple angles—as a program manager, coach, curriculum developer, and now guide. Beth holds a Master of Arts in Teaching from UC Irvine and a CA state credential in secondary English. As you might guess, Beth is passionate about reading and writing! She loves being immersed in the worlds of novels with students and dissecting big ideas together. In addition to teaching, Beth has also written and edited educational content for national organizations such as Sesame Street, ParentPowered, and Mystery Science. She strives to help students envision real-world possibilities in writing. In her spare time, Beth enjoys playing the violin and spending time with her husband and young son and daughter.

Start your journey with us


Learn about ATI by attending one or more of our upcoming events and virtual info sessions


Consider a attending Shadow Day on campus to experience a day in the life of an ATI student


Submit your student application to ATI, which includes the option for financial aid (if necessary)


Work with Admissions to prepare for your first day of school! We can't wait to have you join our community
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Take a school tour

ATI Austin is located at 5815 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78752. We'd love for you to come and visit!

Attend a program overviewBook a Tour

Experience school on your terms

Join a school community designed to support your education with coaching, small classes, and a commitment to our core values. Engage in deep study and personal exploration as a student at ATI.

Learn more about our:

Visit Higher Ground Education to learn more about our mission to make learner-centered education the mainstream.

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