More About Epiphany Montessori School

What Distinguishes Montessori Schools

Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. In Montessori classrooms children make creative choices in their learning, while the classroom and the teacher offer age-appropriate activities to guide the process. Children work in groups and individually to discover and explore knowledge of the world and to develop their maximum potential.

Montessori classrooms are beautifully crafted environments designed to meet the needs of children in a specific age range. Dr. Maria Montessori discovered that experiential learning in this type of classroom led to a deeper understanding of language, mathematics, science, music, social interactions and much more. Most Montessori classrooms are secular in nature, although the Montessori educational method can be integrated successfully into a faith-based program.

Every material in a Montessori classroom supports an aspect of child development, creating a match between the child’s natural interests and the available activities. Children can learn through their own experience and at their own pace. They can respond at any moment to the natural curiosities that exist in all humans and build a solid foundation for life-long learning.

The Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) was established by Maria Montessori in 1929 to protect the integrity of her work and to support high standards for both teacher training and schools. Today, AMI continues to uphold Maria Montessori’s vision while collaborating with contemporary research in neuroscience and child development.

In This Section

Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide a complete Montessori program which considers the emotional, intellectual, physical, and social development of the total child by addressing the uniqueness of each in a nurturing, emotionally secure and academically excellent environment.

We believe:

  • The spirit of the child in all its aspects is our first priority.
  • All children need affirmation to have a positive self-image so they may know of themselves, "I am lovable and OK."
  • Children learn best in an environment of love, security, understanding, and consistency.
  • Children should be treated with respect.
  • Children need to be listened to in an atmosphere in which they feel safe in expressing dissenting view points.
  • Success builds confidence.
  • A spirit of cooperation rather than competition is the best atmosphere for learning.
  • Children need to learn how to think for themselves and how to solve problems in original and creative ways.
  • Children should be taught to respect the rights of others and to appreciate the contributions of all life.
  • Teachers should encourage and inspire children to do not only the minimum, but also their best.
  • Learning should be a happy, joyous experience!

History of the School

Epiphany Epiphany School was established in 1950. Illa Clement and Mary Lewis Kleberg were instrumental in this endeavor. The first kindergarten class began that September with one teacher and thirteen children. A second kindergarten soon after and was followed by a pre-kindergarten class of four year olds. A first grade class was offered for the first time in 1960 with six children enrolled. Additional grades were added through the years as the demand developed.

EMS became a complete elementary system in 1974 with classes from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Epiphany’s first Head of School was Mrs. Cassie Clark. Cassie turned Illa Clement and Mary Lewis Kleberg’s desire to give the children of South Texas an exemplary education based on Christian values and beliefs into a reality. Cassie created a unique school that provided the strong academic foundation that has produced world-class leaders.

In 1981, the Epiphany School Education Foundation was formed as a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, with the goal of creating an endowment. This has served to fund costs associated with the purchase of buildings and equipment and to provide scholarships.

In 1989, Epiphany Episcopal began the process of becoming an accredited school. The Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools (S.A.E.S.) accredited Epiphany School in 1990.

In 1995, Epiphany Episcopal began a collaborative relationship with the King Ranch Family Trust Early Education Center at Texas A&M-Kingsville. Through this program Pre-service teachers are able to implement their curricula via master teachers at Epiphany. Our students and school have an opportunity to take part in university learning programs and are eligible to apply for scholarships available for graduate students specializing in early childhood education. Each year Epiphany plays host to three to five pre-service teachers in the fall and spring semesters.

Over the course of over 65 years, the school has been an educational outreach of the church. Its goal and purpose has been to offer a quality education in an environment of faith and family. This is the rock upon which this school was built and it continues to be so today.

In 2017 Epiphany Episcopal School become Epiphany Montessori School embodying the same quality and attention to both the mind and spirit of the child.


The Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools (SAES) accredits EMS. Our accreditation is fully recognized by the Texas Education Association (TEA) through its recognition of the Texas Private School Accreditation Commission (TEPSAC). The process of accreditation is rigorous and thorough. In addition to regular on-site visits by a team of fellow educators, interim written reports required by the Standards Committee of SAES seek to make the accreditation process continuous.

The Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools (SAES) is a regional organization of Episcopal schools representing Texas, Arkansas, Arizona, Louisiana and Oklahoma. SAES is the only faith-based accreditation organization in the United States recognized by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). NAIS reviews an organization's accreditation materials, processes and requirements in addition to observing teams actually performing on-site visitation, to verify that when accreditation is conferred it is comprehensive and warranted. SAES has written the following summary of the value of accreditation:

  • Accreditation attests to a school's quality in terms everyone understands. To say that a school is accredited is to say that it has met proven and respected standards of quality.
  • Accreditation is a standard that affirms the status of students with other institutions and employers.
  • Accreditation is an essential credential for fund raising.
  • Accreditation strengthens the voice of all schools through SAES in speaking collectively for the interests of Episcopal and independent schools.
  • Accreditation employs a process of evaluation that combines self-scrutiny with an external review by a committee of peers. Both the internal and external reviews bring helpful and accurate observations, comments and suggestions for the purposes of validation and improvement.
  • Accreditation assists the school in better realizing its objectives, supporting rather than inspecting, in order to enhance the school's unique character rather than to impose a common design

Board of TrustEMS

The EMS Board is a group of dedicated parishioners, parents, and community members who aid the Head of School in meeting the standards of the Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools (SAES). The Board of TrustEMS, acting with acknowledgement from the Vestry of the Church is the governing body of the School. The Board formulates policies that enable the School to fulfill its stated purpose. The Board meets on a monthly basis with the exception of December and June.

Voting Members

  • Marco Iniguez, President
  • Leigh Coufal, Vice President
  • Tamera Brennam, Treasurer
  • James Clement, Foundation
  • Sue Bradley
  • Pastor Dan Dantone
  • Mary Chiuminatto
  • Michelle Vela
  • Rev. James Miller/li>

Ex Officio Members
Peggy DeRouen, Head of School

Epiphany Montessori Church

EMS incorporates the core values of the Church of the Epiphany and the Diocese of West Texas: We pattern our lives on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. We are grounded in Scripture, prayer, and worship. We proclaim, by word and example, God’s saving love revealed in Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit. We reach beyond ourselves to serve all people in our communities and throughout the world. And, we are a community committed to living in reconciled relationship with God and all people.

As a parish day school that is not separately incorporated, the vestry has ultimate responsibility to see that the school is managed wisely and soundly as indicated in the guidelines of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas. The rector, head of school, vestry, and school board all work to ensure a healthy, harmonious school/church relationship. The rector supports the delegation of authority by the vestry to the school board for the oversight of the school and, through the board, to the head for administration and operations. The board, through the head of school, ensures appropriate reporting procedures including regular reports from the school at vestry meetings to keep them informed.

Epiphany Montessori School enjoys a supportive and connected relationship with Epiphany Montessori Church. The Rector and Head of School share the same vision of "One Body" when it comes to the church and school relationship, which allows the church and school to present them as one community. The Rector, as the spiritual leader of the church/school community, is actively engaged in the lives of the children, faculty and staff.

Supporting Epiphany Montessori School

For those of us who’s fond memories and have the means to give back in other ways beyond volunteer time, Epiphany Montessori School needs your financial support to ensure that our current and future students have the same or better educational and spiritual opportunities that we afforded to you. We have multiple means to receive your contributions:

  • Annual Giving
    Contributions to the Annual Giving provide the school with essential, generally unrestricted funds that can be directed toward the greatest need. The Annual Giving plays a financial role and is also a way of showing loyalty to the school. Strong parent and community support is vital to our success.
  • Epiphany School Foundation
    The Epiphany School Foundation raises funds and forms partnerships to advance education, empower our students, and create opportunities for them to reach their fullest potential
  • Spring Auction
    EMS' annual Spring Auction helps to meet specific capital improvements to our campus that benefit our students. These improvements may include classroom refurbishments, curriculum upgrades, and technology enhancements.

You can make a monetary gift of any amount online by clicking here.

Alumni Information

Our alums have fond memories attending school at Epiphany Montessori School. Now in life you wish to give back to a school that made a deep deposit in your life. As an alum, your involvement is prized. You are kept afresh of the changes and direction EMS continues to go. We want to hear from you including photos and stories. And if you want to stop for a visit, just let us know so we can make your visit as pleasant as possible.