Five Decades of Lifelong Learning

Montessori School of Fort Worth Brings Success

(This story by Lisa Martin originally appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of TCU Magazine.)

As the school in southwest Fort Worth prepares to mark its 50th anniversary, generations of former students, their parents and even some grandparents are poised to celebrate its effect on their lives and the community, including strong ties to TCU.

In 1968, Joy Sheffield ’61 MEd and LaVerne Davis co-founded the school, fulfilling a long-held dream of educating young children in an open, individualized and collaborative environment. Originally situated in a single house about five miles west of TCU, the school adheres to the principles of pioneering educator Maria Montessori (1870-1952), who created a system of teaching based on the belief that even the youngest children will thrive when encouraged to pursue their passions.

Today, Amy Henderson ’81 MEd owns and operates the Montessori school, which educates students from preschool through eighth grade. As a passionate proponent of Montessori’s success-begets-success philosophy through building knowledge, skills and confidence, Henderson has dedicated her career to creating lifelong learners.

Photo of child giving a flower to head of school Amy Henderson-Hanna

Head of School Amy Henderson ’81 MEd gets a flower from Hanna Boone during Teacher Appreciation Week. (Photo by Carolyn Cruz)

“One of the best things was that as a student you set your own goals and worked at your own pace,” said Jonathan Pickell, a senior biology major at TCU. He attended the Montessori school from preschool through sixth grade, and he returned in 2017 to teach Spanish two days a week. “The school is actually like TCU in that you get a lot of personalized experience with your instructors. They do not just want you to regurgitate information but instead work hard to make sure you truly understand what you are studying.”

Mary Ruth Jones ’58, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, knew Sheffield and Davis through Delta Kappa Gamma, an honor society for female educators. “The school is so special and was so groundbreaking when those two first brought the Montessori concept to Fort Worth,” said Jones, who has worked at TCU for about 35 years and whose three children attended the Montessori school. “The legacy of this one little school and its program in our community is amazing.”

Read more in TCU Magazine.