Starla Simmons, LCSW is a clinical assistant professor strongly rooted in social justice and racial equity. She worked in Austin ISD for over 10 years providing a range of direct care services to families, students, and staff. Starla has passion for supporting the vitality and resilience of communities of color. She is experienced in holistic practices such as ecotherapy, mindfulness and TBRI (Trust-based Relational Intervention).

In addition to direct services, she worked as the liaison and coordinator for AISD’s school mental health centers, providing consultation and operational support for school-based therapy services at 19 middle and high schools.

Starla has facilitated trainings in Austin non-profits around the topics of racial equity, social justice, mindfulness, self-care, and ecotherapy. Previously, she served as an Austin leader for the national non-profit Outdoor Afro, which celebrates and inspires Black leadership in nature. She currently serves as board chair for Mama Sana Vibrant Woman, a local non-profit that provides pregnancy and birth support to women of color.

At home, Starla is Mama Bear to her two children and spirited partner to her husband, Thomas. She loves exploring natural swimming holes, sitting under trees, camping & live music.


Curriculum Vitae

Professional Interests

Social justice & liberation, addressing trauma in communities of color, ecotherapy and holistic social work interventions, group work with children and adolescents.