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05 February . 2021

For the Watsons, smaller is better when it comes to schools

As a teacher herself, Rancho Sienna resident Michelle Watson knows the importance of strong schools. Providing a top-notch education for their daughter, Piper, was the main reason that Michelle and her husband, Ken, started looking for a new home about four years ago.

The family was living in Leander, which had a well-regarded school district, but Michelle liked the reputation of the highly regarded Liberty Hill Independent School District, which has an overall A- rating from Niche. She especially liked the fact Liberty Hill ISD, which serves all of Rancho Sienna, has less than 5,000 students, making it about one-eighth the size of Leander ISD.

“Schools were such a big part of our decision to move to Rancho Sienna. Liberty Hill ISD reminds me of how Leander ISD used to be in the ‘80s, before it grew so much,” says Michelle. “That small-town feeling, where everybody knows and cares about each student, was very appealing to us,” says Michelle.

Michelle has deep roots in the North Austin area surrounding Rancho Sienna. She was born in Austin and her family moved to Leander when she was 7. Her father was a teacher and coach in Leander ISD for 45 years. Ken, originally from Waco, is a mail carrier in Leander.

Michelle taught fulltime in Liberty Hill ISD for eight years, but now this busy mom works as a substitute teacher in the district. She currently has a long-term assignment at Rancho Sienna Elementary School, where Piper is in the third grade.

The Watsons first discovered Rancho Sienna when they visited as guests of the Harvest Festival.

“We immediately fell in love with the community spirit of Rancho Sienna, and the natural beauty with the trails and ponds,” Michelle says. “We found a perfect home right behind Rancho Sienna Elementary School, which was being built at the time. Our house is just a half-mile from Sienna House, so I love to walk over to work out.”

Michelle has recently become more involved in community life at Rancho Sienna, joining the resident-led Activities Committee, which plans special events throughout the year such as Thirsty Thursday happy hours and a Mardi Gras celebration.

See upcoming and past events at Rancho Sienna.