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Maura Joyce comes to Post Oak this year after serving as head of school at Montessori in Redlands (Calfornia) since July 2000. She holds AMI diplomas at both the Primary (3-6) and Elementary (6-12) levels, a master’s degree in education from Loyola College, and a bachelor’s degree from Boston College. Maura has ten years of classroom teaching experience at the Elementary and Adolescent levels. She has been a featured presenter for both AMI/USA and NAMTA and has also lectured at various Montessori schools around the country and the Montessori Institute of San Diego, where she has also been an examiner for AMI. Maura served on the Board of the Montessori Administrators Association for eight years and is the parent of a Montessori student, who attends Post Oak's High School. A native of New York, Maura came to Houston with her husband and son to become part of the Post Oak community and to be closer to her husband’s family, who has been in Houston since 1978.
by Maura Joyce, Head of School
There is so much that I want to share with you about my first weeks at Post Oak, so let me start with this: I am really happy to be here. It is such an honor to be entrusted with the care and leadership of this gem of a school. What a gift this role is for me, and what a gift Post Oak is for your children! In a few short weeks it has been easy to see how special the school is because of its diverse, engaged, and warm community. Thank you for sharing your children and young adults with us; spending time with them makes us better people.
Two weekends ago, I attended the board of trustees annual retreat and I was charged with sharing the history of Post Oak with the new trustees. Yes, it’s okay to laugh—I felt a little bit like an imposter, as I had been here all of eight weeks and had to talk about Post Oak’s history. But it was a great exercise as it allowed me to reflect on where Post Oak came from and where it is today.
Sharing the history I thought about the journey of this wonderful school. I won’t go into the entire story here but 53 years ago a seed was planted and it took root and began to grow. As one of the first Montessori schools in Houston, it quickly expanded from serving three to six-year-olds, to serving toddlers, adding Elementary-aged children, eventually a Middle School, and most recently, the High School. What an accomplishment and what an exciting time to be part of Post Oak! As the students begin the school year I am reminded that they are continuing their own journey which began at birth. This journey is one that focuses all of their energy and is the purpose of all their work. The children move, observe, listen, and explore to discover themselves. This journey doesn’t have a particular destination or an end, rather it is the path they move along, as they become the people they are going to be.
On the Post Oak website you will see pictures of famous Montessori alums, like chef Julia Child and Google founder Sergey Brin. I am certain they did not know what they were going to do or who they were going to be when they began in their Montessori schools at the age of three. However, they quickly realized that in this place—their Montessori classroom—they were allowed to find out.
The journey, which is a physical, intellectual, and spiritual one, takes place for all people in all places in the world. It is not only Post Oak children who embark on it. However, Post Oak is a wonderful place designed with this important goal in mind: allowing the child to create him/herself. This goal has many, many parts and it is an awesome task to make sure that everything is in place for this to happen.
Each environment from Young Children’s Community to High School has the elements the child or young adult might need for the journey. It has room for movement, materials for exploration, a community of peers, and the freedom to discover and work. It provides opportunities for purposeful work, intellectual exploration, social interaction, and peaceful reflection. It is inspiring and creative and limitless in its possibilities for learning.
Our mission and our promise to our families is that Post Oak will prepare the environment so that with every step students can reach their full potential—every step will bring them closer and closer to that unique individual they are to become.
As we step onto both campuses at Post Oak this year, we are reminded of the solid foundation of our school. Grounded in Montessori principles, staffed with the most dedicated group of faculty, assistants and administration, and supported by a committed group of families, Post Oak is thriving. We have a full spectrum program from infancy through adulthood, with strong enrollment and lots to look forward to in the very bright future.
There is plenty to look forward to for the 2016–2017 school year:
I am looking forward to becoming part of the Post Oak community as a fellow traveler in supporting our children as they grow!