Athena Montessori Academy

End of Year Newsletter

"Within the child lies the fate of the future.’"

-- Dr. Maria Montessori

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Google Calendar for Parents

Check out the Athena Parent Calendar and stay tuned to important Summer and Back to School Events!


Dear Athena Community,

In the middle of writing this letter I was hit with the devastating news of the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas. As a parent and educator, I would be remiss if I didn’t now start by acknowledging the pain and fear that we are collectively feeling right now. We will say more about our own campus safety and security in the coming days, but for now we just want you to know that at Athena we are constantly reevaluating how to best keep our children and community safe and commit to keeping it top of mind. If you are wondering how to talk to your children about this tragedy, our advice is please don’t. They are too young developmentally to understand violence and death at this level. We are reaching out to our therapy community to get two or three sentences that you can say to your child if they hear about it, and we will put these, and other resources at the bottom of this newsletter. Our hearts are with the Uvalde families and with all of you at this unsettling time.

We will continue to show up every day to care for, love, and educate your children. And there is a buzz in the air this last week of school with Gates of Life Graduation Ceremonies and big feelings all over campus! It brings us joy to have our families back on campus during this Covid respite.

If you are new to Athena and not familiar with our Gates of Life Ceremony, it is a tradition started by our dear friend and mentor, Gail Allen, several decades ago at her school, and it honors a child’s (or teacher’s) transition from their classroom or from Athena to the next phase of their journey, in a tangible way. They walk through our purple gates, sent off by their teachers and received on the other side by their family as we recite a poem and song to celebrate them.

While we will continue to respect the waves of Covid, and meet them head on with heightened awareness and conservative safety precautions, we are grateful and hopeful that beginning this summer and into next school year we will be able to begin to restore some of our pre-Covid programs, including our After School Program! This Spring we have been busy recruiting and training a fabulous new Support Team to join our established team of gifted Lead and Assistant Guides. Our new team members have been shadowing our teachers, learning the ropes, and becoming inculcated into Athena culture. These Support Guides will provide extra support for the classrooms, and will run our After School program until 5:00 daily after school.

We are all so grateful for your continued support through another unique and challenging school year. And I am beyond proud of my team of teachers and administrators for their dedication, patience, perseverance, commitment to their craft, and unwavering commitment to our students and families.

Through the summer we will continue to send emails, school newsletters, and post any updated information to the News/Covid page of our website. We will keep you abreast of summer camp plans, 2022-2023 school year details, and anything else that affects our community. Please also stay tuned to our Instagram page for other relevant content, resources, and book recommendations.

To those of you returning next school year…Thank you for your continued faith in us and for continuing to entrust us with your most precious gifts. We look forward to being with you back at school in August!

For those of you graduating and leaving Athena…Thank you for being part of our school and congratulations on being an Athena graduate! Best wishes at your next school. Please keep us in your hearts and we will keep you in ours. We will look forward to seeing you at a community event on campus, in person, soon! You will always be part of our special community.

To ALL of you...THANK YOU for a wonderful school year and have a great summer!

Huge hugs and enormous gratitude,

Lisl and Your Athena Admin Team

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Congratulations to our Athena graduates!

Everyone is incredibly proud for all that you've accomplished this year.

We can't wait to see what new discoveries you find in your journey through life.


P1: Cleio C., Gautam W., Gavin E., Henley S., James F., Miles S., Sadie M., Sofia F., Sophie S., Dylan W., Jack M.

P2: Bain T., Caspian R., Colin C., Isabelle B., Julia S., Logan K., Oaklyn K., Sawyer B., Tate G., Leo K., Easton M.

P3: Graham G., Ian P., Isabella E., Jamos C., Julian G., Junior B., Kincaid P., Lola J., Oliver A., Otto S., Pedro M.T., Ruby R., Tanek N., Varenna W.

P4: Grace B., Knox B.-H., Rockwell B., Royal C., Sophia S., Tabitha N., Wren H.

P5: Adrian M., Anjali K., Davey B., Dilan G., Frances S., Harlow R., Islay B., Josephine M., Presley M., Truett B., Leo P., Reyan B.

P6: Brinkley H., Evie W., Billie D., Tobias C., Wren F.


T1: Paxton U., Diya G., Annie P., Isla F., Lucy C., Elliot C., Holland C., Nash E., Iles R., June S., Ella C.

T2: Jack M., Rhodes L., Adira B., Nela S., Judah B., Jude G.

T3: Cooper S., Mila S., Sedona A., Sylvie W., Elias B., Everhett H., Quest S., Camila M., Sienna T., Camille R., Josephine W.V., Payton M.

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Thank you to our 2021-2022 Professional Development Partners!

We wanted to send a big thank you to the three consultants we worked with this year; Sera Bonds, Mindy Gulati, and Jeffery Swan. As a school community that prides itself on creating a safe, fun, and engaging place for children to learn and grow, we think it is equally as important to have the adults learn and grow as well.

Sera Bonds, our public health consultant, has guided our school for the past two years as we have navigated the pandemic. Not only could we not have done this without her, we would not have wanted to. She was the deep breath we needed each time, as we were navigating new things and trying to sort through waves of information. We will be eternally grateful for her guidance and wisdom. Sera is also a self-care guru, social justice activist, and life coach. You can join her in community at Waking Giants.

Mindy Gulati helped us with our DEI initiatives this year. As an admin team she met with us often and guided us to what was important to focus on as a school community. She hosted staff and parent workshops that were loaded with helpful information and an invitation to grow that met each person exactly where they were. If your business is looking for equity guidance, we highly recommend Mindy’s company, Fundamental Advisory.

Jeffery Swan guided us through the Nurtured Heart Approach. He hosted four workshops this school year for our staff and we learned so much! We heard from several teachers how grateful they were to try something new and have another tool in their toolbox. Jeffery is so gifted at what he does and we are grateful to have him as a resource for us, as well as for our Athena families. If you are a pediatric therapist in the Austin area, Jeffery also leads Austin Child Therapy, supporting those that support children and families.


Each of you deserves a standing ovation for your contributions to our school community!

From the bottom of our hearts, we couldn't do it without you!

Krupa Bala (T2 & P2)

Carlye Buzi (T2)

Catalina Limongelli (P1)

Courtney Manougian (T3 & P2)

Dan Provost (P3)

Tracy Cohen (T1)

Jessica Fiveson (P1)

Katrina Bekessy (P3)

Kirby Schroeder (T2 & P6)

Lacey Morris (P6)

Leah Fuerst (T1 & T3)

Leah Parker (P2 & P6)

Melanie Mahaffey (P1)

Mindy Goddard (T2 & P5)

Patty Schatz (P4)

Taylor Field (T2 & P3)

Kelsey Hopping (P4)

Keryn Pasch (P4)

Sheridan Burman (P5)

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Wednesday, 1st: First Day of LGBTQ+ Pride Month

Saturday, 4th: Shavuot

Wednesday, 8th: First Day of Athena Summer Camp 2022 & Summer Solstice

Sunday, 19th: Father's Day

Sunday, 19th - Monday, 20th: Juneteenth (SCHOOL HOLIDAY)


Do you know the story of Juneteenth? It is especially important in Texas! It is a difficult part of Texas history to grapple with, but absolutely necessary to understand. If we are to build a better world, starting today, we must understand the mistakes of our past. Because we believe in listening to and learning from Black voices, we urge you to CLICK HERE to further your knowledge about this holiday celebrating the end of enslavement.

There is an amazing song on the page by Alphabet Rockers featuring Fyütch. We dare you to listen to it and not sing it all day after just one listen; it is a catchy one!

Our Primary classes will be learning about Juneteenth at age-appropriate levels. All Primary classes will read picture books about the holiday and discuss what enslavement was and why it is so wrong for one human being to force another to work without pay.


Student Birthdays:

2nd - Isabel K.

9th - Nico Q.

11th - Sadie M.

12th - Hannah A.

13th - Milam M.

15th - Elias B.

16th - Bear Z.

18th - Isabella E.

19th - Camila M.

21st - Roman R.

24th - Dilan G.

25th - Adeline B.

26th - Diya G. & Billie D.

27th - Gus C. & Jaxton E.

28th - Jude G.

Staff Birthdays:

20th - Sierra C. (T1)


A loyal member of our community, Armando Ruiz, has been helping us mow and blow our campus lawns for 16 years, and he is now available for home jobs: (512) 949-1973


We are pleased to welcome Christina Gallo as our new Office Manager! This is her first experience in a Montessori school but not her first experience educating children. She has worked with students of all ages, identities, and backgrounds as a public librarian and with Girl Scouts of Central Texas. "The best part about learning is its spontaneous nature. I love witnessing that spark of discovery and imagination in young people," Christina says. Some of her favorite activities include painting and reading. Please welcome her the next time you stop by the front office.


Stop by the office (bookshelf baskets) to look through our Lost and Found. Any items remaining June 17th will be donated.


We had another fun Field Day, full of pool marbles, water balloons, egg balancing, soaker sponges, and a watermelon roll! We then got to EAT the watermelons! We hope your children had as much fun as we did!


Tots enrollment for the 2022-2023 school year is complete. While we wish we could have offered every Tots-aged child a spot for this fall, we are hopeful to be able to welcome you all to Athena in the future!

We have limited spots still available in our Primary program for the 2022-2023 school year. If you would like your 3-5 year old child to be considered for admission this August, you may submit an application here.

As always, please direct admissions and enrollment questions to our Admissions Director, Joy Jacobson. You can email her directly at

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May 25, 2022

Dear Montessori community,

I grieve with you.

Yesterday, on May 24, 2022, I sat horrified as news reports came in of another mass shooting in the United States, this time at an elementary school in Uvalde, TX. This comes just 10 days after a mass shooting targeting and killing 10 Black Americans at a grocery store in Buffalo, NY.

I grieve not just as a former classroom teacher or uncle of elementary-aged boys, but as an American citizen who has seen this story play out dozens of times in our country’s recent history.

This year will mark the ten year anniversary of Sandy Hook in Newtown, CT, where a gunman murdered 20 children and 7 adults. It’s been four years since 14 children and 3 adults were similarly murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. According to a report from NPR, there have been 27 school shootings in 2022. Twenty-seven school shootings. In five months.

The impact of these tragedies extend beyond numbers and statistics. It is our responsibility to not become numb to these stories. It is our responsibility to honor and remember not just the victims, but also the survivors who will hold invisible wounds for the rest of their lives. It is on all of us to fight for legislation that makes this less likely to happen again.

We need to push legislators to stop the scourge of gun violence that allows our students to be murdered in their classrooms, two days before summer vacation is to begin. How many more children must lose their lives in this way? How many more communities must be left to grieve an unspeakable loss? How many more generations of children are we forcing to deal with collective trauma? How many more educators must spend their days worrying about who is walking into the school building and into the classroom?


Our hearts are with the Robb Elementary School and Uvalde community. We stand in solidarity with them and with all victims and survivors of gun violence.


Munir Shivji
AMS Executive Director

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