Welcome from Shara

Shara Bumgarner, Head of School

Thank you for your interest in The Joy School.

The Joy School was founded in 1997 by a team of educators, related professionals, and parents who recognized an underserved need in Houston: children with learning differences and disabilities who frequently fell through the cracks because of a lack of services and understanding in the public sector.

The Joy School is a nonsectarian, independent, non-profit day school focused on meeting the unique needs of students who, although intellectually capable, have difficulty finding success in a traditional school environment.

The Joy School prepares students with learning differences to return to traditional classroom settings by enabling them to reach their academic and social potential in a safe, supportive environment. Simply put, we fix what we can fix, give them strategies for the rest and send them on their way.


We fix what we can fix, and give them strategies for the rest.


The name of The Joy School stems from the hope that all students will find the joy in learning once again. Most children naturally start school eager and excited about learning. It is only when they begin to struggle and are unable to overcome challenges that the joy begins to fade.

Many children come to The Joy School saying “I’m stupid” or “I’ll never be good at school”. Within the first few months of attending The Joy School (sometimes after the very first visit!), students’ attitudes about themselves and towards school change dramatically, both at school and at home. A frequent refrain from new parents is “I feel like I have my child back!”

If you are a parent seeking an alternative school setting for your child who has learning differences, we know that this can be a difficult, but hopeful time. We welcome the opportunity to help you along this journey. Please join us for an in-depth parent tour.

I look forward to meeting you, showing you our school, and restoring your faith in the phrase “Where there is learning, there is joy."

Best Regards,

Shara Bumgarner
Head of School

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Head of School Surrounded by Staff for Group Shot