Marie Maillard grew up in public schools. As a teenager, she decided to enroll in a private Adventist school.

Maillard, principal of Killeen Adventist Junior Academy, said it’s important for children to have the opportunity to choose where and how they want to get their education.

“Adventist education is not just sitting in a classroom, taking a test and then going home,” Maillard said Thursday during an open house event at the school. “We feed them if needed. We talk to them. We invite them to church with us.”

Maillard’s school was the only one in Killeen registered to participate in “Texas School Choice Week,” which began Sunday, according to a news release from Gov.

Rick Perry. More than 460 events were planned statewide, with the final events wrapping up Saturday.

The movement aims to spotlight the different types of educational options for families, including traditional public schools, public magnet schools, charter schools, private schools, online learning and home-schooling, said Andrew Campanella, president of National School Choice Week.

“Texas families know that when parents have the freedom to choose the best schools for their children, great things happen,” he said. “Student achievement increases, graduation rates rise, and children are better prepared for real life.”

At the open house in Killeen, local mother Georgione Gaither said her friends kept raving about the Adventist school, so she decided to check it out.

Gaither hopes to enroll her 5-year-old Lincoln in the school next fall when he starts first grade.

“The most important part for me is that it’s a Christian school,” she said.

Contact Sarah Rafique at or (254) 501-7549. Follow her on Twitter at SarahRafique or "like" Sarah Rafique.

I'm the education reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald. Follow me on Twitter at

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