What’s the best thing about Poe-Co? Our teachers! In end-of-year surveys, our families consistently give our teachers the highest marks. They have vast experience and education, but they also possess the passion for educating young children that sets them apart from the rest.
Donna Wheeler, Director/Lead Apple Teacher
Donna Wheeler joined Poe-Co in 2009, bringing more than 23 years of early childhood experience. Impressed with Poe-Co’s child-focused environment and high level of parent participation, she knew this was the school for her. As director and lead Apple teacher, she shares her many talents, love of children’s literature and nature, and caring disposition with the children. Fascinated with child development, Donna also shares her vast knowledge with parents in parent information nights and conferences to help us to better understand why our kids do what they do.
She has a master’s degree in human development from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, California, and an undergraduate degree in social ecology with an emphasis in human development from the University of California at Irvine. She has also completed the Child Development Associate credential from Houston Community College. Donna previously worked as a preschool center director for six years, a nature educator at the Houston Arboretum, an instructor of child development for Houston Community College, a motor skills teacher, art teacher, and teacher of four-year-olds. She also serves on the board of Avance, a non-profit organization supporting at-risk children and families in Houston.
Donna’s family consists of her husband Doug, daughter Cara, son Andrew, and Simon, their Vizsla (who thinks he is human).
Ms. Maxine and Ms. Kim
Maxine Dickey, Lead Acorn Teacher
Maxine has been a teacher at Poe-Co since 1998. With a degree in early childhood, she also attends all the continuing education classes that she can find. With a keen understanding of how children learn and develop socially, physically, and cognitively, Maxine enriches the lives of her students. One of her many talents is teaching silly, fun songs to her students.
Maxine has many interests, including reading, camping, fishing, and relaxing at the beach. She also likes to travel, especially back to her native England, whenever she gets the opportunity. Maxine is married to Dan, and has two teenage children.
Kim Martinez, Co-Teacher Acorn Class
Kim has more than 20 years of experience teaching young children in public and private school settings. In 2005, she developed and now currently directs Conmigo, a “mommy & me” Spanish program for preschoolers at Helms Elementary, an HISD Dual-Language Magnet School. She has been a teacher at Poe-Co since 2007. She earned a B.A. in early childhood education from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She brings to Poe-Co creativity, enthusiasm, organization, and an amazing ability to multi-task.
Kim and her husband, Kenneth, live in the Historic Houston Heights with their three children. Her youngest, Mia, is a proud Poe-Co alumni. Kim and her family enjoy camping together and cheering the Houston Dynamos. Kim is actively involved in the Helms PTA where her children attend. She enjoys reading, knitting, and “Nia” classes. Kim and her kids spend summers in Central Mexico, immersing themselves in the rich Mexican culture, food, and language.