In fall 2019, young girls and their families in Spring Branch and surrounding areas were offered a new educational option with the opening of Magnolia School, a liberal arts school for grades 2-8.

Magnolia School, one of several prized private schools in the Spring Branch Management District, is housed in the building on Long Point Road where the Margo Marshall School of Ballet was located for decades. Many young Spring Branch ballerinas will remember the acclaimed school and Margo Marshall from her years of teaching dance.

Annamarie Omanga, head of school for Magnolia School, describes the campus as “where every girl is taught her intrinsic value, is guided to grow in virtue, is challenged to think and reflect; she finds joy in serving others and is inspired to lead using her specific gifts.”

“The Greek philosopher Plutarch posited that ‘the mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled’,” she added. “Each piece of the education we offer at Magnolia School is thoughtfully coordinated to kindle our students’ interests, foster their gifts and talents, and encourage growth in areas which are not yet burning brightly.”

Currently Magnolia School serves 92 female students. The school offers rolling admissions, so it is still accepting applications for the 2021-2022 school year. Families interested in applying should visit the website for information on the admissions process.

The school gives interested families the opportunity to tour the facility. Interested students are invited for a “Shadow Day,” during which the student gets to interact with other students on a school day and react to the environment.

Financial aid is available for qualifying families.

Why a liberal arts curriculum?

“The word liberal comes from the Latin word freedom. Freedom is one of our most important guiding principles here at Magnolia School,” according to Margaret Cronin, dean of academics. “We believe that the liberal arts are those things that we can study that will ultimately make us more free as human persons, which include math and language, science, Latin, music, arts, and more. We prepare girls for a life marked with goodness, excellence and joy.”

The school values its partnership with parents and encourages communication with students’ families. There is also a program in which each girl is paired with a faculty member who serves as their mentor. Mentors meet with students regularly and discuss academics, extracurriculars interest and personal growth. They work as an advocate for the student in support of success.

The school is excited for the summer as it has expanded its summer camps programs. The camps, except the Summer Skills Sharpener, are open to the public for girls entering 2-8 grade this upcoming school year. The weekly camps begin June 7 and run through July 16.

Summer camps 2021 have a wide variety of courses. There is The Beauty of Science Camp (grades 4-8), which explores how science can be made to make beautiful art, and The Marvelous Myths and Legends (grades 4-5), where campers let their imaginations take them through the magical worlds of dragons, unicorns, fairies, and other mythical beasts. Games Galore Camp (grades 2-4) is a week of non-stop game fun from classics to new games.

In addition, there are traditional camps like volleyball, baking and arts and crafts. Summer camps are taught by faculty members. Registration and tuition cost information is available at the school website under the link for “Summer Camps.” Again, you do not have to be a Magnolia School student to attend the all-girls summer camps.

Magnolia School produces a weekly electronic newsletter, The Monarch, which anyone can sign up to receive.

“I want the public to know that our school is a place of hope,” Cronin explained. “Hope for our local community, hope for the future, and that what we are doing here and what we are investing in our students and in the community is going to make such a difference.”

— By Jessika Leal