Note! This page contains information about 2012's Symposium. Click here for information about the upcoming 2013 Symposium.
Diane Aquila, the mother of 11 homeschooled children, will share her point of view, experiences, and lessons learned about homeschooling. Diane has homeschooled her children over the last 27 years in five states. She has written for homeschool newsletters, counseled parents interested in home schooling, and run a co-op for 77 children grades K-12. She is married to Dominic Aquila, who is also a well spoken advocate of homeschooling.
Philip Cannon, Head of Middle School at Presbyterian School, Philip will provide an overview of the specific benefits of a private school education. Philip has worked as a teacher, coach, and administrator in independent middle and high schools in Houston and has firsthand experience in independent schools as both a student and a current parent. Situated in the Museum District, Presbyterian School serves students from prekindergarten through eighth grade.
Shelby Joe, President and Founder of General Academic, Shelby will introduce an analytical structure by which parents can compare their various private and select public school options. Shelby is the co-author of, "Houston Private and Select Public Schools: Survey, Analysis, and Research." He founded General Academic in 2003, through which he works with hundreds of students and parents each year on academic achievement and school selection.
Melissa Marschall, PhD, the Albert Thomas Association Professor of Political Science at Rice University. She is co-author of "Choosing Schools: Consumer Choice and the Quality of American Schools (Princeton University Press)" and is completing her second book on immigrant parent involvement and incorporation in U.S. schools. She teaches courses on education policy, policy analysis, and urban politics and policy. She is the parent of two boys, ages 5 and 6.
Linda McSpadden McNeil, PhD, a Professor of Education at Rice University. She will discuss the rich array of public high schools in the Houston area, with an emphasis on the connection between the child and the school. Dr. McNeil is the author of "Contradictions of Control: School Structure and School Knowledge," which has become a classic volume in the field of education in its detailing of the effects of bureaucratic structures of schooling on teaching and learning.
James Moudry, M.Ed, the High School Director at The Post Oak School. He will share his own grade school Montessori experience as well as explaining the potential benefits of a Montessori method education. James has presented at the North American Montessori Teachers Association's Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies. Situated in Bellaire, The Post Oak School serves students in prekindergarten through twelfth grade.
Loes Berendschot, a visual artist originally from the Netherlands, her daughter is a third year architecture student at Renssellear Polytechnic Institute (graduate of Awty International School), and her son is a freshman at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (graduate of School of the Woods). Her children were 6 and 4 when she came to the United States, after living in Europe, the Middle East, and South East Asia.
Andy Chan, President of the Pin Oak Middle School PTO, Andy also sits on the District Parent Advisory Committee for Gifted/Talented & Vanguard students. Both his 8th grade daughter and 6th grade son are at Pin Oak Middle School. Andy has deep experience in navigating HISD's magnet programs and looks forward to sharing that insight with other parents.
Laura Elizalde, a practicing family lawyer, Ms. Elizalde is the parent of three children who all attended different schools - Carnegie Vanguard, St. Thomas High School, and the Booker T. Washington School for Engineering Professions.
Renita Miller, PhD, is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Texas A&M University. Her two older sons, ages 5 and 6, are in kindergarten and first grade at Birkes Elementary in Cy-Fair, and her youngest son, age 3, attends a Montessori Preschool in Cy-Fair. Dr. Miller has worked with Houston A+ Challenge and KIPP Academy Leadership on education policy research in the area of school leadership; she has also advocated for additional resources for children with advanced abilities in the public school system.
Robin Russell, Managing Partner of the Houston office of Andrews Kurth LLP, her son is a junior at Strake Jesuit, and her daughter is an eighth grader at Duchesne. Robin has conducted extensive research in selecting schools for her own children, served on the Advisory Board of Children at Risk, and advocated for accommodations for student's with learning differences.
Academy for Mathematics & Natural Sciences. New school enrolling 9th graders. www.academymns.org.
Chinquapin Preparatory School. Co-ed boarding school for grades 6-12. www.chinquapin.org.
Heritage Oaks School. New school serving grades 5, 6, & 7 in the Heights. www.heritageoaksschool.org.
Post Oak School. PreK-12 Montessori school in Bellaire & in the Museum District. www.postoakschool.org.
Presbyterian School. PreK-8 school in the Museum District. www.pshouston.org.
St. Stephen’s Episcopal School. PreK-12 Montessori & IB school in Montrose. www.ssesh.org.
Documents from the Symposium
A symposium to help families understand the great opportunities and choices that they have when selecting a school for their children.
When and Where
Thursday, November 15, 2012, 6:30 - 8:30pm