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Suzanne Woodburn Appointed Director of Academics & Instruction

We are thrilled to announce the appointment of Suzanne Woodburn as the Director of Academics & Instruction effective June 1st, 2024.

Suzanne, a dedicated 2nd grade Educator at The Compass School of Texas, brings nearly two decades of rich instructional and curriculum expertise to her role. Having served as an Instructional Coach, Curriculum Coordinator, and Teacher at Lucas Christian Academy, she played a key role in designing a comprehensive curriculum map for Kindergarten through 6th grade, ensuring alignment with state standards and enhancing school-wide academic achievement outcomes. Suzanne has also worked collaboratively with teachers and administrators in middle and high school grades in various capacities.

Suzanne brings a wealth of experience and a passion for education to her new role, and she will make an exceptional addition to our leadership team. She is excited to continue to serve the Compass community and expand on the robust curriculum and wholesome educational foundation we offer students and families.  We look forward to the positive impact Suzanne will undoubtedly have on The Compass School of Texas community.


The Compass School of Texas Names Director of Advancement

It is with great honor and excitement that we announce the newest member of The Compass School of Texas team, Katie Townend Doherty. As of June 1st, Katie will serve as Director of Advancement, leading Compass efforts in fundraising, strategic growth, and community outreach. Katie joins us from Hockaday where she has been the Upper School Admission Division Director for the past fifteen years.

During her tenure at Hockaday, Katie has worked tirelessly with prospective families seeking to enroll their children in a top tier independent school. With experience collaborating with divisions and departments across the organization, she has effectively helped craft inspiring communications growing the school's local and national footprint. Katie's innovation in launching programs, such as the Parent Ambassador program, have been instrumental in fostering a sense of community and partnership. She has a proven track record of significant contributions to the school as the Annual Fund Chair, a member of the Benefit Committee, and as part of the Steering Committee during the ISAS re-accreditation process. Among many other impressive accomplishments, Katie is fluent in Spanish and holds an MBA in Management and Leadership from Northwood University, DeVos Graduate School of Business. She is also a proud mother of three precious children. Please join us in welcoming Katie as she helps us continue to pave the path of positively impacting families for generations to come.

“I am humbled and honored to be a part of this vision. As a native Dallasite, I know how competitive the independent school market is. We are not only building a new school to meet the demands of our community, but we are building a legacy. I’m inspired by our team as we are all committed to partnering with our friends and community members to offer our children the education they deserve.” -Katie Townend Doherty

Read about the announcement in the Preston Hollow Advocate and People Newspapers

Founding Team Featured in Power Players Feature

People Newspapers

New Dallas Private School Celebrates Inauguration

October 16, 2023

The Compass School of Texas recently held a ribbon cutting with community members, stakeholders, families, and students to celebrate the official inauguration of Dallas’ newest independent schools.

The school’s academic environment focuses on intention and purpose with learning through hands-on, real world application and encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit.

Founders Francis Harrison, Caroline Loehr, Frances Mitchell, Shelly Sender, Arnold Holtberg, and Alicia Haddock started the school to provide another option for parents looking for private school instruction.

The Compass School opened this fall to 44 students in pre-K through second grade and will expand through eighth grade by 2029.

The Compass School offers a blend of the Reggio Emilia child-centered teaching philosophy and inquiry and project-based learning. The average class size is between 12 and 16 students with a focus on small groups and one-on-one attention. Academics include language arts using phonemic awareness, system phonics, vocabulary, reading fluency, and comprehension; math; science; history; geography; and Spanish.

The school is located in Dallas on Northwest Highway in a 1920s-era Tudor home with a landscape of trees, greenspace, and a creek bordering the property.

The school’s academic leadership team includes:

Shelly Sender, head of school. She’s the former early childhood education director at Temple Emanu-El Dallas.
Arnold Holtberg, strategic adviser. He’s the former headmaster at St. Mark’s School of Texas.
Alicia Haddock, education consultant. She was formerly with KIPP NYC and is the co-founder of MyEducationist.

For more information, visit

Private School Guide Spotlight in Modern Lux

Announcement of Head of School

The Compass School of Texas is pleased to announce Shelly Sender as Head of School.

Shelly Sender has been dedicated to the field of early childhood education for 40 years.  She graduated from the Southern Methodist University, where she received her degree in psychology followed by a master’s degree in education administration.

Shelly lives in Dallas, and has three amazing children, ages 35, 33, and 27.  She has pioneered the establishment and growth of several educational institutes by creating a thriving school community. Personal relationships and inquiry-based learning, in addition to a strong academic foundation, are truly relevant in her work with children. Shelly has served on several child advocacy boards and served as the VP of learning on the board of a national organization.

For the past 15 years, she served as the Early Childhood Education Director at Temple Emanu-El Dallas, where she has led 336 children and 100 staff members.  Shelly guided the school using the Reggio Emilia philosophy, oversaw the third cycle of accreditation through the National Association for the Education of Young Children; and brought back the kindergarten classes over the past seven years. 

Announcement of Location

August 16, 2022  

The Compass School of Texas is excited to announce the opening of its doors to students and families August 2023 at 5414 W. Northwest Highway, Dallas, Texas 75220. The Meadowbrook School will continue its program and commitment education through the 2022-2023 school year. 

The Compass School of Texas will serve PK-4 through 2nd grade and grow by one grade per year through 8th grade. Compass will provide an engaging and wholesome education that fosters analytical and independent thinking. The school values the partnership between families, educators, and students. The school's educational approach instills the joy of learning through intentionally curated classrooms and natural environments, while teaching classical literature, conceptual math and a hands-on science program. Compass students will have the opportunity to explore and discover through multi-disciplinary learning and authentic experiences.

The Compass School of Texas will be announcing more exciting updates in the coming weeks. Please visit for more information. 


Please stay tuned for more exciting updates!