Beth Cantu, Principal
My name is Beth Cantu, and I am very honored and excited to serve as the Principal of Baranoff Elementary School for the 2021-2022 school year. This is my 3rd year serving as Principal, and I previously served as the Assistant Principal at Baranoff Elementary School for three years.
I am a proud native of Austin, Texas, having attended grades K-12 in the Austin Public Schools. I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Learning and Development with a minor in English as a Second Language. I also earned a Master's of Education in Educational Leadership and Principal Certification Early Childhood to Twelfth Grade from Texas State University in 2014.
In high school, after completing a teaching internship under the teacher who was my kindergarten teacher, I knew I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. I have experience teaching in both primary and intermediate grades in Govalle Elementary School and Baranoff Elementary School. I am committed to always putting children first, and I enjoy fostering creativity, developing character, and providing students with the skills they need to reach their potential and lead productive lives. I look forward to working collaboratively with parents, students, and staff for the continued success of Baranoff Elementary School.
My husband and I enjoy fitness activities, sports, traveling, and trying new foods. Together we enjoy the company of our faithful boxers, Roxie, Guacamole, and Mac and our kitty, Chiquita.
Christine Ruiz, Assistant Principal
My name is Christine Ruiz. I am the Assistant Principal of Baranoff Elementary. I was born in Manhattan, NY but moved to Texas when I was just over a year old and I’ve been in Texas ever since.
I have lived in the Austin area (grew up in Bastrop, Tx) for about 25 years. I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Learning and Development. I also earned a Master's of Education in Educational Leadership and Principal Certification Early Childhood to Twelfth Grade from Texas State University in 2014.
Prior to becoming an administrator, I taught 2nd for two years and 3rd grade for five years. The last three years of teaching 3rd grade was right here at Baranoff. For the 2018-2019 school year I served as an assistant principal at Nan Clayton Elementary here in Austin ISD. I am thrilled to to start my 4th year as assistant principal with the wonderful students and community of Baranoff.
I live by the words: All kids. All day. Everyday. I became an educator because I believe in empowering others, nurturing the love of learning, fostering creativity, and developing the whole child. Students are the most important members of a school community and under the appropriate conditions and with the appropriate strategies, all students can be successful! My husband and I spend the majority of our time playing/laughing with (but mostly, chasing) our 3 year old daughter everywhere. We also enjoy traveling, sports, watching movies, reading, and trying new foods/restaurants. Our family is made complete with the company of our chocolate lab, Bailey.
Beth Thornton, Assistant Principal
Hello, I’m Beth Thornton, and I'm proud to represent the Baranoff Elementary community as one of your Assistant Principals. I’m a New Jersey native who settled in Texas in 2006 after stops in Minnesota, Delaware, London, and New York City.
Prior to joining the Baranoff team, I taught third grade at Oak Hill Elementary from 2018-2021. I launched their STEAM program and worked with the PTA on several initiatives designed to improve equity and community on campus. My work experience also includes running a tutoring business, Tutoring Austin, creating curriculum for the Citizen Schools after-school program at Bedichek Middle School, and teaching high school English in Manhattan’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School.
I earned my principal certification from Lamar University, my Master’s degree in Education from Montclair University in New Jersey, and my Bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware. I am dedicated to being a life-long learner, so that’s just the start!
I am an educator first and foremost because I believe in a strong and equitable public education for all. My specialties include grant writing, community building, and STEAM programming because I believe that families, arts and creative thinking are all tied to compassionate, successful learning.
In my free time, my two daughters (currently at Lively and Ann Richards) keep our family busy with karate, dance team, and basketball practice. We also love traveling, cooking, learning Spanish and attending San Antonio Spurs and Austin FC games.