Vol. 1 | No. 2
Dear Future Grace School Gators,
October is one of my favorite months of the year. Cooler weather, college football (go frogs!), and lots of family birthdays to celebrate. It is also a very busy time in the Admissions Department; full of tours with prospective families. Meeting you, sharing my love for Grace School, walking you through the admissions process and welcoming your child during their first time on campus is what I love most about my job. The next best thing is the people I have the opportunity to work with everyday. Their energy and love for children is unmeasurable.
The relationship between Grace School and our families is essential, as we work together to help each child reach their fullest potential. At the heart of this is our talented, compassionate and dedicated leadership.
Head of School – Dr. Liz Walgamuth
Liz Walgamuth, Ed.D., has a passion for education and boundless enthusiasm for finding new ways to engage learners. Having spent over 30 years both in the classroom and leading schools, Dr. Walgamuth is celebrating her 14th year as the Head of Grace School in Houston, Texas.
Under her direction, Grace School has completed numerous enhancements including renovated classrooms, new classroom technologies, updated curriculum standards, construction of the athletic complex and a remodeled library – all with the goal of students receiving a premier education at Grace School.
Since her appointment as Head of School in 2007, Grace School received the first STEM certification in the state of Texas from AdvancED, NAEYC certification, two Nature Explore certified classrooms and numerous building/construction projects. Under her leadership, Grace has welcomed more than 1,300 new students and has graduated more than 650 students who are compassionate, thoughtful leaders eager to make an impact on our world. She also championed two summer Technology Conferences to provide Houston-area teachers with professional development opportunities.
Primary School Principal – Maria Barrington
With over 30 years of experience in education, Mrs. Barrington has taught Kindergarten and served as an instructional specialist for students needing support in reading. With her added experience as a Kindergarten Facilitator, Curriculum Specialist for English/Language Arts, Assistant Principal and Principal, Mrs. Barrington as been instrumental in implementing shared reading and project-based learning experiences for our youngest Gators.
When asked what her favorite aspect is about being a Principal over our youngest students, she responded with “I love that there is so much newness in their learning. Besides academics, students are learning to interact with peers, self-monitor behavior, and articulate their emotions. By far, we have a dynamic staff who are always engaged with children and who seek to build a strong relationship with the entire family unit. Our teachers and assistants guide the learning through play in a safe environment and celebrate as students gain confidence and acquire new language and concepts at a rapid pace. As students come to know the routine of school, they find pure joy in all of the new experiences they learn.”
Lower School Principal- Leigh Anne Shumate
Known for her ability to create novel experiences for students and their families, Mrs. Leigh Anne Shumate, Principal of Grace Lower School, is passionate about making learning fun for students. With over 22 years in education, Mrs. Shumate has served in the Preschool, Elementary, Middle and High School levels in roles of Teacher, Curriculum/Instructional Coordinator, and Principal.
Mrs. Shumate was asked what her favorite Grace School event was and she replied “The Publishing Writing Party has had themes ranging from Wizard of Oz to Superheroes to Writing Toolboxes. Every detail of the theme is planned intentionally so that students have the opportunity to celebrate themselves as authors and share their hard work with their families. My goal for planning learning celebrations is for students to experience a sense of intrinsic pride that comes at the end of a long-term project like publishing a book. The Publishing Writing Party is just one example of the learning experiences we set out to create for our students. We know that increased rigor happens once you have the students’ hearts, and you have the students’ hearts when you build relationships through positive events and experiences over time.”
Middle School Principal- Rob Williford
With twelve years of experience in education and five years in administration, Mr. Rob Williford knows that dedicating time daily to invest in adolescents’ spiritual, social and emotional growth is crucial to students’ success, overall wellbeing and happiness. Mr. Williford has taught Science and served in the position of Dean of Students before leading Middle School as Principal.
When asked what the greatest needs of his students are, he responded “I recognize that Middle School students have needs beyond academics. Our Middle School has implemented a comprehensive character development curriculum that explicitly teaches students self-awareness, social awareness, relationship skills, and how to make responsible decisions. With the implementation of dynamic low-stakes STEM lessons and a variety of elective courses, Grace Middle School provides students opportunities to try a vast range of interests in an environment where students trust and support each other. Our students graduate equipped and ready to build strong relationships, aren’t afraid to try out for sports and clubs, and are also well prepared for academic success at the next level.”
We look forward to continuing to get to know your family, and for you to get to know ours!
Important Admissions Dates and Information:
- If your child is applying for grades K-8, now is the time to schedule your admissions testing! Call Education Specialists at 713-461-7996 to make your appointment. Space is limited due to social distancing guidelines. You will need to complete the Education Specialists Questionnaire to take with you to your testing appointment.
- Priority application deadline (with all required components) is Friday, January 22, 2021
- Due to Covid-19 we will be conducting student and family interviews via Zoom to replace student visitation days. Please be on the lookout for an invitation to schedule your date and time.
“After touring 14 schools, it’s still hard to really know if it’s right until your child actually starts attending. Even then, you may love the school, but your child may not. For my 4 year old, it was a clear and swift confirmation within his first week of the best decision to choose Grace School. We were coming off of a horrible experience and could not afford another one so early in life. Despite living in SBISD where public schools are sought after, the faith component, presence of HPD on campus for safety, small class size with genuinely caring teachers and overall engaging culture (parents and administration) the Grace way was something I hadn’t been convinced of at other places. Impressively relieved that the search is over.” – Current First Grade Mom