Adult Team


Michel And Melanie Achard

Bonjour y’all!

We are the Jones Masters. We thought we would share a few thoughts on what being a Master means to us as well as give you a quick sense of who we are.

At Jones you will have many ways to engage and become part of an extended family, a family that includes not only the current students, RAs, College Coordinator, and Masters, but also all the previous generations, as well as all the future ones. Our part in this family is to offer assistance to the students as they administer the College and serve as representatives of Jones to the University at large. In addition, we will have the pleasure of hosting several social events, sharing our meals with you, cheering you on in your endeavors, celebrating your many successes, and also providing a shoulder to cry on when you are down.

We are honored to be part of this family and to share these years with you. We hope that our long experience at Rice and in Houston can help you navigate some of the intricacies of college life, and make the most of this incredible time.

So who are we??? We are a bi-cultural family. Michel is from the French Alps and is currently an Associate Professor of Linguistics. Though he loves his research into language and cognition, he is also extremely passionate about tennis, football (American and the other kind), cycling, skiing and pretty much anything that involves movement outside. If you go to bed late enough, you will likely seem him running around in the early morning, trying to retain his sanity and clear his head.  

Melanie is from San Diego and works for a security software company. Though definitely a ‘techie geek,' Melanie has many interests that pull her away from her monitor, including yoga, painting, gardening, and of course cooking (who could be married to a French man without enjoying spending time in the kitchen?). Three cats make up the rest of our family and you will probably see them chasing each other around the garden and generally wreaking havoc.

Thank you for letting us be a part of the best college ever and Bienvenue à Jones!

Michelle Bennack 
College Coordinator

Hello and welcome to Jones College!

My name is Michelle Bennack, and I am the Jones College Coordinator. I hold the keys to the kingdom of Jones so to speak. My office is located in “central” on the first floor by the Commons.

As the coordinator, I am here to help you through your college years and provide you with a variety of things: your mail, packages from home, stamps, envelopes, faxes, photocopies, answers to your queries, and so much more!

The office is a great place to hang out (there are great sofas in here) and take a breather in your day. You can jump on the office computer to print your plane tickets, homework and such. If you're lacking in energy, answer the daily quiz for candy correctly and you will be rewarded with a delicious treat. Also chilling in the office everyday is my golden retriever, Beau. He gives great hugs and plays a mean game of tug-o-war. Stop in anytime!

Ian Schimmel and Allison Leedie 
Jones North RAs

Allison and Ian are both from the northeast… they’re also both from Connecticut… and if they’re being completely honest, they will also admit to attending the same high school… and that they went to prom together…. and that Ian had a mullet.

Ian graduated from Tufts University and Allison from Emerson College. After graduating, Allison taught with Teach For America in Houston, earned her Masters from Harvard University, and has since become a Teacher Development Specialist with the Houston Independent School District.

Ian taught English in Rio de Janeiro until deciding to pursue a career as a fiction writer. He received his MFA from the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program and now teaches courses in creative writing, also serving as the faculty advisor for Rice’s literary magazine, The Rice Review. He is also hard at work on his first novel.

When she’s not working, Allison enjoys anything involving cheese, Harry Potter, or low-stakes mysteries (i.e. not scary). Ian, on the other hand, can be found on the basketball court perfecting his head fake. They both love the beach and eating enough to feed a small circus.

The couple lives in with their wonderfully docile 7-year-old lab-mutt named Layla. You’ll see a burst of life from her if a squeaky toy is present, or if anyone anywhere in the halls of Jones even so much as breathes the sacred word, “walk.”

Kerri Barber 
Jones South RA

Kerri (KB) is a BoSox lovin’, Yankee hating, country music parrot-head that uses “wicked” and “y’all” in the same sentence. Kerri is a New Englander who loved the snow and cold so much she decided to attend Ithaca College which is located in upstate New York. She earned her B.S. in Sport Management and was a member of the 2002 NCAA DIII National Championship softball team. Kerri is such a competitive player she thought it would be a great idea to play in the championship series with a busted ankle and broken nose. (Being a National Champ is totally worth chronic sinus and ankle issues right?!?).

After spending four years bundled up in blankets and snow suits, Kerri realized she wanted to spend her days in flip flops and shorts. Since owning an island was way too expensive, she decided moving to hot-humid Houston was the answer. Kerri taught Physical Education and was the founding Athletic Director at the Southwest Campus of YES Prep Public Schools. Kerri made the wicked smaaht decision to become an Owl, where she is the department administrator for Sport Management. When she isn’t keeping her rowdy faculty in line, Kerri enjoys watching TV (Thursday Shonda nights anyone??), reliving her softball glory days (slow pitch is much harder than it looks), dominating in cornhole, or indulging herself in the Houston food scene (she's on a quest to find the best breakfast joint in H-town).  

Kerri's furbaby Bruin (or Bru Bru) is definitely NOT spoiled, and you will often find him in Michelle's office hanging out with his fur-brother Beau. Oh, Kerri’s niece and nephew totally have her wrapped around their tiny fingers and you will often find her flashing their pictures to anyone and everyone.