Guide Feature: Alexandra Gantley, February 2020

Headwaters School
A big welcome to Alexandra Gantley, our new Learning Specialist on the Creek Campus who will work with our Elementary program.
Alex comes to us with fifteen years of educational experience in a variety of environments ranging from public and private schools and learners of all ages. 

Hailing from the Northeast, Alex grew up in a small town in New Hampshire and went to University of Massachusetts Amherst for her bachelors. She started her career in Boston as a special education teacher. A few years later, Alex completed her Masters in Education from Boston College. Her career then led her to Texas in 2010. Here she started work as an Inclusion Teacher at a public middle school for two years before moving to Rawson and Saunders for the next four years. Her work as a Language Arts teacher at Rawson and Saunders taught her so much about students with dyslexia and ADHD, twice-exceptional students, and many other non-traditional learners. And most recently, Alex worked with Austin ISD at a charter high school, as well as privately tutoring and Individualized Education Program (IEP) consultant. 

Alex’s passion is working with students who think and learn differently than their peers. At Headwaters, she says, “ I’m so excited to begin my next chapter at Headwaters, working with teachers, families, and students to help all learners maximize their potential and discover what works best for their learning style and interests. In addition to education, Alex shared her interests include reading, gardening, movies, cooking, visiting new restaurants, and exploring the Hill Country with her husband and their energetic dog, Lily. 

What Brought Alex to Headwaters:
“A few years ago, I read an article about different parenting styles--carpenters and gardeners. Carpenters work hard to mold their children in ways that will allow them to be successful as adults, while gardeners assess the type of child they have and ‘tend’ their child accordingly, by providing the environment and resources that fit their child best. Although the article was about parenting, I couldn’t help but think about the implications for teaching, and how most educational environments fall into those categories as well. At the time, I was working at a school that was grounded in the carpenter mindset. While it worked for many students, an equal number of students were not well served because they couldn’t or wouldn’t be molded in these specific ways. I found myself desiring an environment that was much more on the gardening spectrum of education, a place where student strengths, needs, and personality quirks would be honored and honed, instead of dismissed as irrelevant on a narrow path to success. 

Headwaters attracted me as an educator because I could see that this school, founded on the principle of creating peacemakers, recognizes that a peaceful world is one where we accept many different types of thinkers and doers, and encourage them to contribute in the ways that they can really shine. The gentle guidance of a Montessori classroom is the perfect foundation for tending a student as they grow and find their own light in the world. I feel lucky to have found an environment where the spirit and strength of each child is so deeply honored. And, as a beautiful bonus, I share an office with the fabulous gardening teacher Lucille, and my office window looks out onto the lush, lovingly tended garden of the Creek Campus. I asked the universe to lead me to the gardeners, and it definitely delivered.“

Fun Facts About Alex:
  1. I love baseball (go Red Sox!) and one of my bucket list goals is to visit all the MLB stadiums. So far, I’m up to five—-only 25 to go.
  2. This is my tenth year in Austin. On my fifth year, my husband threw me a “Texas Citizenship” party, complete with a custom “Texas Forever” t-shirt, an all-Texas soundtrack, and a lot of Texas shaped party foods. Can’t wait to see what the 10th year party will involve!
  3. I own an orange cat named Omar who emits a soft meow after I sneeze. I still don’t know if that’s his version of “bless you” or if he’s just disgusted by this weird explosion coming out of our faces, probably a combo of the two.
  4. As much as I love a gardening metaphor, I kind of have a black thumb? I’m hoping to learn a thing or two from the gardening greats here at Headwaters so I can level up to at least brown thumb status soon. 

Springs Campus

18 months to Pre-K
6305 Menchaca Rd.
Austin, TX 78745
Phone: 512-443-8843

Creek Campus

Elementary School
9607 Brodie Ln.
Austin, TX 78748
Phone: 512-804-2708
Fax: 512-628-4810

River Campus

Middle & High School
807 Rio Grande St.
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-480-8142
Fax: 512-480-0278