Akins Admin Team

2023-2024 Administration Team

(Front Row- L to R) Jennifer Dawson, Carman Wissel, Susan Thames & Manuel Garcia

(Back Row- L to R) Melinda Van Horn, Michael Herbin, Ruben Sarinana & Tyson Williams

Mr. Michael Herbin, Principal

Principal Michael Herbin is the principal of Akins Early College High School in Austin ISD.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Grinnell College and a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from Texas State University.  He began his educational career as an Americorps volunteer in Denver, Colorado before moving to Austin.  A former AISD science teacher, coach, and department chair.  Mr. Herbin has also served as an Principal at Bedichek MS and an Assistant Principal Martin MS and as an Administrative Supervisor in the Middle Schools office. 

Mr. Herbin grew up in both Kansas and Montana, attended undergraduate college in Iowa, and has worked in Colorado and Texas.  He and his wife Jennifer have two sons, Reid and Bryce. He loves to hike, fish, travel, and spend time with his family.


Dr. Manuel Garcia, Associate Principal (Early College High School Academy)

Manuel Garcia is the Associate Principal for Akins High School.  Dr. Garcia attended St. Edward’s University and in 1995, he graduated with a degree in education (History & Political Science).  In 2004, he received his Masters in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at Austin and in March 2024, he successfully defended his dissertation research, "Teacher Retention at Title I High Schools: A Phenomenological Study of Teachers' Lived Experiences During & Post Pandemic" at St. Edward's University. Dr. Garcia began his teaching career in the Austin Independent School District in 1996 as a Spanish teacher.  He has been a teacher, assistant principal, and principal.  This is his 14th year at Akins High School.  Dr. Garcia is passionate in helping students succeed, especially in the new Early College Programs (Real Estate & Tomorrow's Teachers) programs.  Outside of  Akins, Dr. Garcia likes to spend valuable time with his two beautiful children, Sabrina (18 years old) and Travis (16 years old).  Hobbies include traveling and spending time with friends and family. Dr. Garcia’s contact information is; (512) 841-9900 ext. 28035.


Mrs. Jennifer Dawson, Assistant Principal (Arts & Humanities Academy)

Jennifer Dawson is the Assistant Principal for the Arts and Humanities Academy.  This is her 8th year at Akins High School as an administrator. She is originally from Austin, Texas.  She graduated from Oklahoma City University with a Bachelor of Science in Dance Management and received her Master of Education from Concordia University Texas.  Mrs. Dawson is a Past President for the Texas Dance Educators Association, a Cadre Member for the Center for Educator Development in Fine Arts (CEDFA) and the former Dance Liaison for AISD Fine Arts.  Mrs. Dawson enjoys reading, yoga, travel, and spending time with her family.  Mrs. Dawson’s contact information: (512) 841-9900 ext. 71175


Mr. Ruben Sarinana, Assistant Principal (Green Tech Academy)

Ruben Sarinana is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in communications. He recently obtained my master's in educational leadership from the University of Texas at Austin. For the 2023-2024 school year, he became the Green Tech Assistant Principal. Previous to joining the administration team, he served as a Special Education Department Chair, Special Education teacher, and teacher mentor to first-year teachers. His past experience has been working with students covering modified curriculums such as U.S. History, Texas History, Economics, World History, Government, and Special Education Courses focused on social behavior skills. Mr. Sarinana can be contacted at or at (512) 841-9900 ext. 51717.



Dr. Susan Thames, Assistant Principal (New Tech Academy)

Susan Thames is the New Tech Academy Assistant Principal.  This is her 8th year at Akins High School. She is originally from Waco, TX.  She graduated from McLennan Community College with an A.A. degree in Business Administration; received her B.S. degree in English Secondary Education from Baylor University, her Master of Education degree from the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor and her Ed.D. with an emphasis in Educational Administration Leadership from Capella University.  Prior to her arrival to Akins High School, she was a teacher at William B. Travis Early College High School.  In her 25-year career in education, she has experience as a high school English teacher, elementary school assistant principal, middle school assistant principal, middle school principal and as an adjunct junior college English instructor.  Her hobbies include reading, traveling and spending time with family.  She has one daughter Nichole, a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, and who is currently working on her Master’s degree in Higher Education with an emphasis in Leadership for Student Success. Dr. Thames's email is or you can reach her at (512) 841-9900 ext. 71227.


Ms. Melinda Van Horn, Assistant Principal (ABLLE Academy)

Melinda Van Horn is the Assistant Principal for the ABLLE Academy. She began her teaching career at Akins in 2008 as a social studies teacher and has served as a school counselor and School Improvement Facilitator prior to becoming an administrator. Born in Yokosuka (NAS), Japan to military parents, Melinda grew up in Pensacola, Florida and later moved to Round Rock, Texas, where she graduated from Round Rock High School. Ms. Van Horn graduated with a BA in History from George Washington University and a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Texas State University. Ms. Van Horn lives in Kyle with her husband Matt, two-year-old son Mason, and fourteen-year young puppy Millie. She loves everything Akins and bleeds blue and gold!; (512) 841-9900 ext. 71187


Mr. Tyson Williams, Academic Dean/Assistant Principal (Social Services Academy)

Tyson Williams is the Academic Dean/Assistant Principal of the Social Services Academy. Previously, he has served as teacher and Academy Coordinator at Akins, an English teacher in New Mexico, and an Assistant Principal at Lockhart High School. This is his 15th year in education. Mr. Williams received his BA in English from The University of Texas-Austin and his Master of Education from Concordia University-Texas. In his free time Mr. Williams enjoys outdoor activities with his wife, son, and two dogs. He also loves to play  music, read, and coach his son’s little league baseball team. Mr. Williams’ contact information: (512) 841-9900 ext. 73237.


Ms. Carman DeLeon Wissel (STEM Academy)

Carman DeLeon-Wissel is the Assistant Principal for STEM Academy. This is her 7th year at Akins High School as an Administrator and her fifteenth year in education. Ms. DeLeon-Wissel is an AISD graduate and attended Texas State University where she received her BA in International Studies. She received her Master of Education degree from Concordia University, Austin. In her spare time Mrs. DeLeon-Wissel enjoys spending time with her family and friends.  She enjoys traveling, attending music events, trying new restaurants, and reading. Ms. DeLeon-Wissel’s contact information: ; (512) 841-9900 ext. 71243.