April Lord RuzickaOwner and former student
April received a Masters of Arts in Marketing from the University of Texas and a Bachelor’s degree in Media Communication from St. Edwards University. She has thrived throughout her career in managerial and leadership roles with Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center and West Houston Medical Center.
When April began to mentor and teach at risk children through volunteering for AmeriCorps, the direction of her life changed forever. From there she became a lead camp counselor for the YMCA, receiving many leadership and community service accolades. Whether hosting fundraisers with JOY International, acting as their spokesperson, or volunteering for Big Brothers and Big Sisters, April has always strived to learn more in order to positively impact as many lives as possible.
When April was a student at Summerfield Academy so many years ago, little did she know that the culture and philosophy she experienced there would have such a lasting impact. Her life has come full circle as she is now the proud owner of the school that meant so much! “Working with children is something I’ve always dreamed of doing.” She says.
“I still remember Mrs. Clark and the smells on spaghetti day. Being a student at Summerfield Academy changed my life forever!”
When asked to describe in her own words the school she now owns, April responds without hesitation, “Unique, Inspiring and Simply Amazing!”
Joyce Harlow Founder
Joyce holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Joyce founded Summerfield Academy in 1985 on an acre of land in Spring, Texas. She was the first president of the North Houston Area Association of the Education of Young Children. Joyce has been a validator and mentor for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC.) She conducted workshops for teachers on how to implement Thematic Literature Based Units of Study. These workshops were based on the curriculum “Story Play™” that she developed at Summerfield Academy. On September 29th, 2014 Joyce sold Summerfield Academy to one of her first students, April Lord Ruzicka. Joyce had all the confidence in the world that April would be the perfect replacement for her. She believed April would bring great energy and dedication to her new venture as head mistress of Summerfield. April has asked Joyce to stay on board for a year as a consultant and a mentor.
“Surrounded by students, Joyce clearly remembers standing in the middle of her newly purchased acre of land, when a smiling, curly, red-haired girl named Summer came running across the field towards her yelling, “Mrs. Harlow, Mrs. Harlow!” “In that moment I knew my preschool had to be named Summerfield Academy.”
When asked if Summerfield Academy is her legacy, Joyce responded “Yes, this program is timeless!”