We had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Brandi Hunter, the Head of School at Guidepost Montessori at Flower Mound.
Q: Tell us about yourself. What are your passions, your interests, your hobbies?
I’ve been an ‘explorer’ for as long as I can remember. As a child I was intensely curious about the world around me and the people in it. I saved up for a few years and was able to back pack around Europe for 3 months one summer during University. After that, I sailed on Semester at Sea and sailed around the world. Every year I make it my goal to visit one new country. I’m passionate about travelling and meeting others!
My home growing up was always the hub of friends of all ages. It still is on most days! I’ve always been a ‘connector’ and have a passion for people. In South Africa, my husband and I owned and operated a boutique Guest House in the winelands outside of Cape Town. It really was a magical experience, to live in such a beautiful location and to meet travelers from around the globe and all walks of life. We were able to host many dinner parties, bbq’s (in SA we say braai) and connect with lovely people.
Q: How did you discover Montessori?
My journey into Montessori started as a parent. I wish I could say I was a Montessori child! It was while I was (very) pregnant with my son, knowing that my daughter was about to turn 2 and would need more than I was able to provide that I would a Montessori Preschool. At the time we were living in a small town in the winelands of South Africa. I wondered if there was a Montessori preschool in the town not too far from us and there was! I did some research, took a tour, and the rest changed my life!
Q: What do you most enjoy about working with families?
Building relationships and going the extra mile to support them. It’s especially gratifying to be a part of the many phases of a child’s development. Most teachers see a child develop for a year, we have the opportunity in our multiage environments to see children truly grow and develop over the course of many years.
Q: How did you discover Guidepost?
When my husband and I decided it was time to return to the States, I went online to find a teaching position. Indeed.com was an obvious place to look at the time. I found the advert for Guidepost and realized it was almost identical to the role I already had, that combined with my love of Montessori made it an instant decision to ‘go for it!’
Q: What about Guidepost made you want to take a leap?
At first it was Guidepost’s approach to Montessori, elevating the level of professionalism and quality in classrooms. Then it was the passionate people I was meeting during my Skype interviews. Then it was the opportunities to grow and keep learning. It just seemed to get better and better!
Q: How do you use Montessori in your daily life?
Living a life with Grace and Courtesy without a doubt. Montessori put a name on how I operated in the day to day and my approach to working with children.
Q: What have you learned from Montessori?
To keep questioning. You never have all the answers, and that’s okay. Life really seems to be about the process, not the result. At no age, no we have all the answers, and life will continue to bring unique challenges organically to each of us, so we can grow. Question, proceed with caution and wisdom from lessons learned, and treat people with grace and courtesy. Montessori really is about education for life!
Q: What inspires you about the children?
I love how young children express themselves whole heartedly, they say it like it is. They live radically candid every day. Children are generally able to live in the moment as well, and are fun filled, positive beings. Adults can learn a lot from children!
Q: What are your hopes for Flower Mound?
A welcoming school where everyone loves being a part of the community, and are proud to be here. Organically the word is spread because our families love being with us! When we say we work at Guidepost, others will ask us how they can join our team.
Q: What’s your biggest challenge in Montessori?
Shifting the mindset that we are not all hippy, moon dancers that don’t have limits/boundaries for children. Educating parents that Montessori Preschool is not daycare, but a school setting. Educating other educators that we a proven method for educating children and should be trusted.
Q: Can you talk about your passion for literacy?
I believe reading more than any other tool provides the possibility to open doors and change lives. In a world filled with tech, apps, and games, reading seems to become more and more a thing of the past. It has been proven that passionate readers are more emphatic, creative, and possess more grit. The world needs more readers! As a teacher and a parent, one of the best gifts we can give our children is a love of literacy!
Q: Your children were Montessori students – what was your experience like as a parent?
As a parent, I really wanted my children to be educated in a manner that would fit their needs. In a mainstream sense, I didn’t feel my daughter wasn’t made for the box they wanted to put her in. She loves to question, explore, move, and is able to complete ‘work’ on her own but on her own time. These are wonderful skills for a free thinking, entrepreneur, and terrible for a child in a factory driven educational environment. Montessori provided both my children the foundation for concentration, questioning, speaking with confidence and helping others. They were able to complete many years in Montessori and are compassionate with younger children and able to be leaders with children their age. As a parent, Montessori was the best decision I made for them in terms of education!
Q: How do you enjoy living in Texas?
Flower Mound is beautiful and the people are wonderful! I have not seen much of Texas, but know there is plenty of time to do so! So far so good!