Maria Schell was raised and educated in the Duncanville, Texas public school system. She then earned a full-scholarship to Iowa State University where she earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Education degree. Her teaching experience began in Ames, Iowa as an Elementary School 6thgrade teacher. She then went on to teach English Language Arts and coach at Permenter Middle School in Cedar Hill, Texas, Sunset High School in Dallas, Texas, and South Grand Prairie Ninth Grade Center and High School in Grand Prairie, Texas. While teaching freshman English and coaching the SGPHS Varsity Softball Team, she earned her Master of Educational Administration at North Texas University. She then went on to be an Assistant Principal at South Grand Prairie Ninth Grade Center and Dubiski Career High School. Ms. Schell was also a Dean of Instruction at Dubiski Career High School in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Ms. Schell was involved in every aspect of opening GPISD’s first school of choice, Dubiski Career High School. That experience gave Ms. Schell the knowledge and background needed for opening yet another school of choice, Grand Prairie Fine Arts Academy. Ms. Schell is committed to giving every Academy student the opportunity to passionately hone their craft as a performing or visual artist while excelling at advanced academics.
Grand Prairie Fine Arts Academy is in its third year, and the growth over 3 years is nothing short of amazing. GPFAA holds the best state assessment scores in the district and some of the best in the state. GPFAA's fine art strands are bringing home state championships as well as national awards. Strands have traveled to numerous states to perform and compete such as: New York, Tennessee, Washington DC, New Mexico, Colorado, California, Nebraska and more. The goals for the Academy continue to soar as well. Students have auditioned for out-of-the-country events as well. GPFAA students have art work exhibited in the State of Texas Capitol and the nations’ capitol in Washington DC. In the past three years, GPFAA directors have had over 200 guest artists work with students. Overall enrollment has grown from 300+ in year one to the projection of 900 in 2016-2017.
Ms. Schell has a 9 year old daughter, Ally, who is a 4th grader at Garner Fine Arts Academy in Grand Prairie ISD. Ally is in Orchestra and Showstoppers at Garner and is part of ADX competitive dance studio. "Being a mom is the greatest challenge of my life and the most rewarding," says Schell. "Being a principal is a calling and a ministry that I am extremely passionate about and I could not imagine myself doing anything else. I am a servant leader who wants more than anything to see every GPFAA student succeed not only while they are at GPFAA but far beyond. GPFAA is a unique school with dedicated loving teachers, supportive parents, and just crazy amazing students. It is a wonderful place to be!"