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2024 The Face of Private School Education

When Rebecca Barrilleaux’s children were born, she wanted them to receive an individualized Montessori education. As she began searching for a Montessori school that would be a good fit, Barrilleaux was disappointed with the schools she found. 

“A lot of schools would have some principles, or they claim to be play-based or child-led, but there wasn’t really the structure and the emphasis on the academic curriculum within Montessori,” says Barrilleaux. “The schools that we did find that met our standards had waitlists that were two to three years long.” 

Seeing the need in the community, Barrilleaux and her husband set out to start a Montessori school that met their and other children’s needs. In 2018, Barrilleaux became the Head of School for Midtown Montessori Academy, which provides an authentic Montessori education for children ages eight weeks to sixth grade. 

“Montessori is great for children who both struggle and are incredibly gifted because the instruction is so individualized to meet their needs,” Barrilleaux says. 

In addition to Midtown Montessori’s unique learning experience, which includes flexible seating, a child-led curriculum, self-paced learning, and a smaller student-to-teacher ratio compared to other schools, the academy also focuses on the personalized aspect for families so they are more involved in their child’s education. 

“I love thinking collaboratively about the needs of families and students. I love balancing those needs and ensuring the academic rigor is still there. But also understanding parents’ unique thoughts around their child’s education and giving them a voice because that is so important,” Barrilleaux says.

To create a community and give every parent a voice, Midtown Montessori will meet with families to discuss their goals and their child’s needs. Throughout the school year, each teacher has office hours, which lets the families schedule a meeting to discuss progress, concerns, and ideas to help the students be successful. 

“Education can be more than just memorization and standardized testing. It can be a partnership to help a child develop into the well-rounded adult we want them to be,” Barrilleaux says. 

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