Vol. 2 | No. 2

September 2021

Vol. 2 | No. 2

September 2021

Dear Future Grace Gator Families,

We have officially completed our first full month of the school year, and what a busy and fun one it has been! From building new relationships and friendships, worshiping together during chapel, to traveling to NASA, our students have been collaborating, exploring, and working hard in their classrooms. It has 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

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

Leigh 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 23 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

Rob Williford

With thirteen years of experience in education and six 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:

  • Come fall in love with Kindergarten! This fun event will allow parents to tour Kindergarten, meet our teaching team and Lower School Principal. Join us on Wednesday, November 3rd at 9:30 a.m. Email me at lgreenway@graceschool.org to RSVP. We hope to see you there!
  • Save the date! Middle School student visitation day will be on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022.
  • Applications for the 2022-2023 school year are now open! Click here to submit your child’s application.
  • Priority application deadline (with all required components) is Friday, January 21, 2022
  • Have you taken a tour? I would love to meet you and your family and share more about Grace School with you! Click here to schedule a tour!

Parent Testimonial

“Not only are the academics excellent at Grace but the mentoring programs and character building curriculum are priceless! My children have had the opportunity to be a part of a chapel family where children from different grade levels worship together and support one another. They’ve been blessed to have chapel buddies, a mentoring program between 5th graders and kindergarteners. They have shared many service experiences with their buddies. Entering middle school can be a challenging time for young girls but not at Grace school. My daughter has been a kindness ninja leaving positive notes in the lockers of classmates. She’s learned how to start conversations with others and reach out to those who may need extra smiles or loving words . Throughout the years, countless new families have commented on the welcoming community we have at Grace School. Grace is a nurturing environment where kindness and respect for others is required. Amazing Grace!”

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