Selwyn School: Independent Non-Sectarian, Experiential

Selwyn School: Independent Non-Sectarian, Experiential

by Steve Gamel

Deborah Hof is a self-professed Californian who isn’t afraid to try something new. That mindset was put to the test in 2016 when she interviewed for the Head of School position at the Selwyn School.

“It’s a funny story because when I got hired, it sort of went like this, ‘Hi, we’re looking for a Head of School that can turn things around, but, [as she was warned] there’s a 30 percent chance you’ll succeed and a 70 percent chance you will fail. Basically, we need to move an entire school and grow it,’” Hof said with a laugh as she recalled the interview. “My answer was, ‘I can do this job,’ because you could feel the passion in the room. Selwyn was a school that was loved and had a community with a can-do spirit.”

Hof admits that while she walked into a daunting challenge – the Selwyn School moved from the north side of Denton on March 20, 2017, to a 15,000 square-foot facility off Copper Canyon Road in Argyle over Spring Break – the experience was worth every minute. Oh, and by the way, she and the school defied the odds and succeeded.

“We’ve been driving this bus 100 miles an hour ever since,” Hof said. “I’ve been working with independent day schools for 40 years. I figured, if I can help this school make a move and it is successful, then I am doing my job.”

The Selwyn School, originally a boarding school, celebrates its 60th anniversary this month and continues to be a popular option for parents all over the Metroplex who are looking for a non-sectarian and balanced educational curriculum for their children. Hof didn’t mince words when she said the school is growing, and she’d love for Selwyn to be an option for Castle Hills residents. The Selwyn School is the only independent school north of Dallas, and their enrollment includes kids who live everywhere from Argyle and Flower Mound to Sanger, Denton, and Pilot Point. They are a member of the National Association of Independent Schools. They are also a non-profit institution run by a private board of trustees.

But the biggest difference with the Selwyn School is its commitment to building leaders of tomorrow. They value parental input and focus on quality teacher-to-student relationships that allow for more personal education. Each classroom is limited to 12 students, and their curriculum spans Pre-K through high school.

All students study art, drama, physical education, music, and Spanish, and because they are not tied to standardized tests, the school has flexibility with their studies. For example, the eighth graders are routinely asked to spend time reading to younger classes. The school has one junior student who has aspirations of being a meteorologist, so, when the time is appropriate, he is encouraged to be a teacher’s aid in the lower school science classroom when they are  studying the weather.

Through the Perspectives Program, all students have a chance to go off campus for independent studies locally, nationally, or overseas.

The smaller class setup has become a huge focal point for many parents whose children want individualized attention. A senior foreign exchange student from South Korea recently transferred to the Selwyn School after struggling at a much larger school where individualized attention was not an option. He is now flourishing. He has a stronger command of the English language, he’s making friends, and Hof said he would attend UNT in the fall to study business.

“There is a serious academic situation going on here; we have a 100 percent college acceptance rate. But if you read our mission statement, it doesn’t even mention the college admissions,” Hof said. “We are putting out kids who are going to change the world. They have heart, empathy, good sense. That’s the big picture for me – that these kids leave here and are going to make a difference. They learn what it means to be a member of the world community.”
Jessica Brown, the Director of Admissions for the school, agreed wholeheartedly.

“These kids are well-rounded when they leave here,” said Brown, whose own children attend Selwyn. “We are having our International Night on April 7, and it’s a chance for all the grade levels to research and get to know other countries. There are children here who come from many diverse backgrounds, and they are all growing up together. That’s very important in our eyes. We want to work with families who are looking for a
forever school.”

“If you were to spend a day in this building, I’m confident there wouldn’t be a reason to choose another school,” Hof said. “We just want to let people know we are here and that there is another option out there. Our hope is that when they meet us, and they see how these students are engaged in their learning, that they will be intrigued to learn more.”

Anyone interested in taking a tour of the campus or learning about how to enroll can do so by visiting or by calling (940) 382-6771
2270 Copper Canyon Rd. | Argyle, TX 76226

Photography by Guy T Photography

Related Articles

LEF Scholarship Applications

Lewisville Education Foundation scholarship applications are now open! All Lewisville ISD senior students are eligible to submit an application for

Holiday Bazaar

The Colony High School will be holding their 2nd Annual Holiday Bazaar on November 10th from 9:00am to 3:00pm. Come

Open Your Mind To The Idea Of Mentorship

by Steve Gamel Edit This 469.360.3611 As business owners, we have a lot going on, and sometimes it can

No comments

Write a comment
No Comments Yet! You can be first to comment this post!

Write a Comment