Following her passion: Local private school proprietor talks taking on new career, not looking back
A little over 15 years ago, Angela Magers found herself at a crossroads. Someone approached her with an offer to purchase the network security software company she owned, and she recalls what she felt was a calling to open a private school.
That was 2004.
Now, Angela Magers runs that school, Montessori Academy of North Texas, along with a staff of 20 and an enrollment of 105 students who range from 18 months in age to 6th grade level.
Along the way, she has juggled being the wife of local politician Grayson County Judge Bill Magers and raising their four children with running the school and engaging in community activities.
The experience she had with her own children through Montessori Education pushed her to open that particular type of school.
Entrepreneurship was evident in her career well before then as she had already had several successful ventures before the school. Education was also already a passion as she had returned to school at Austin College in 1996 to get her Masters of Arts in Teaching. She then taught accounting and business management at Sherman High School for several years before she and her husband moved back to Dallas in 2000.
Then, she returned to the business world.
While they were in Dallas starting their family, they gave Montessori Education a try.
"I knew just enough about Montessori to be dangerous," Angela Magers said in an email interview. "I knew it was an individualized and unique learning environment and I was looking for a program for our oldest child. Through navigating a couple of schools, I learned Montessori is not trademarked and a parent needs to be well informed of the pedagogy and philosophies of Montessori to make a good decision. After one poor experience, we found a good match. I was instantly intrigued because my child was quickly becoming a different person and I wanted to know WHAT they were doing! I met two teachers along the way that were great influencers in my Montessori journey (and both have worked for me at Montessori Academy). I began learning more about Montessori because I wanted to be a better parent. That interest began growing into a passion."
When someone offered to buy her software company, she knew it was time to turn that passion to her next business.
"It took one year to locate the facility, remodel, get licensed, and open the doors to the Montessori Academy of North Texas," she said.
Angela Magers spent that year working with friend Monika Wainwright, a Montessori teacher who had influenced her love of the program, to train for and obtain her formal Montessori certification. All while Wainwright homeschooled the Magers three boys in a Montessori classroom set up in their house.
"We opened the doors in June 2005 with 35 students. By August, we had doubled the enrollment. The program was initially 18 mo – 3rd grade and as those students aged up, we expanded the program through 6th grade," her email said.
Though she is the administrator of the school, she has not left education behind to be a business woman entirely.
"As teaching continues to be my passion, I have been fortunate to train and certify over 30 teachers in Montessori," she said. "I work weekly with a group of teachers in training for a specific age level. We spend approximately 2 hours a week in training. It is very rewarding to coach staff, watch them grow and develop, learn new strategies, & build confidence. I always enjoy seeing how the the students and the environment benefit from their personal development and knowledge."
As much as she loves working with the teachers, Magers said it is impact on the lives of the children in the school that keeps her captivated by Montessori education.
"I am in awe every day of how the Montessori method empowers children," the email said. "The method truly follows the child. They are empowered every step of their educational journey. The method is so very child friendly and respectful of their developmental stages. Students in our environment love to learn. They are disappointed when school is closed. They ask for more work and create their own projects. They are learning to love to learn, are not afraid of making mistakes but embrace them as learning experiences, and create solutions to problems and challenges. They are self-directed and know how to manage time and projects."
That management skill is something that Magers practices herself as she combines running the school with raising her family and staying involved in the local community.
She is contracted by Texoma Workforce Solutions as the Texas Rising Star Mentor for the tri-county area.
"I work with local childcare providers and programs seeking Texas Rising Star Accreditation and mentor them through the process. I also work with staff of current Texas Rising Star programs on continuous improvement plans and providing technical assistance training."
In addition, she is a representative on the Texoma Workforce Childcare Committee for childcare programs, and is on the Grayson College Child Development Advisory Board.
"Dr. (Jennifer) Quong and Dr.(Keri) Harvey invited me to participate on this committee when Grayson was attempting to get their NAEYC certification. Montessori Academy of North Texas is the only NAEYC accredited early childhood program in the tri-county area. (We were already an accredited facility when I was asked to serve on this board). I am the representative on the board for local childcare programs."
She is also on the Austin College Teacher Program Advisory Board where she has served for a number of years as a graduate in the school's ATP program and an individual in the private educational sector.
The proud mother of several graduates of Gunter Independent School District, Magers also serves on the Gunter ISD Strategic Planning Committee as a parent member.
Additionally, the Arkansas native has been a member of the Grayson County Republican Women since 2015. The same year, she served as vice president of that organization.
She is also the oldest of four children born to Ken and Barbara Bell. She graduated from Greenwood High School in 1988. She graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in business administration from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.