Who We Are: Amanda and Paul Hennekes

Paul, Amanda, & Charlotte

We’re so happy to be back at Villa, and even more excited to introduce plenty of new faces around campus. We will do our best to encourage these new families to let us share a bit about themselves; be sure to say hello if you see them around! First up: the globe-trotting Hennekes family. Their oldest daughter Charlotte starts Primary this year. Read the interview below.


Amanda and Charlotte in Norway

Villa di Maria: Welcome! Tell us a bit about your family.

Amanda Hennekes: Paul and I met through a mutual friend in St Louis in 2005, when I had moved to the city to begin the physical therapy program at Washington University. We have moved around a bit, most notably to Cambridgeshire, England for Paul’s job from 2015-2017. We returned to St Louis in late May and moved back into our home in University City. Charlotte was born in December 2013, and we just added to our family with the birth of Eleanor (“Ellie”) at the end of July.

VdM: Can you tell us about your background and education?

AH: I grew up mostly in Mobile, Alabama. I attended Davidson College for my undergraduate degree, then obtained a doctorate in physical therapy from Wash U.  Paul grew up mostly in Edwardsville, IL and later Chesterfield, MO. He went to DeSmet, then received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Loyola University (Chicago).

VdM: What do you do career-wise?

AH: I have worked primarily as a PT in inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, but took the last couple of years to stay home with Charlotte while we were living in England. I have also enjoyed doing lab assisting for physical therapy students in the past. I am planning to start working again later this fall, once Ellie is a few months old. Paul works as an analyst for the Department of Defense.

Charlotte & Ellie

Charlotte with her new baby sister, Ellie

VdM: Do you have any hobbies? How do you and your family enjoy spending your spare time?

AH: We really embraced our love of travel while we were living in England. Once you get across the ocean, travel in Europe is very inexpensive compared to travel within the U.S., so we made it our mission to make the most of it despite having a toddler. Charlotte has actually been on 60 flights already – she is a pro at security and passport control lines! We enjoy discussing travel spots and planning trips. I actually kept a blog myself about our travels – it is not quite complete (still working on posts about our springtime travels), but if anyone is interested you can read about our travels in 2015-2017 at hennekesfamily.blogspot.com .

Otherwise, Paul and I both enjoy reading and board games, visiting with friends and family, and trying new restaurants.  Charlotte hasn’t met many playgrounds she doesn’t like, and loves to swim! Ellie seems to enjoy eating, cuddling, and sleeping so far 🙂
VdM: How were you introduced to Montessori?
AH: I attended two years of Montessori when I was 4-6 years old in Alabama. My mom just retired from her teaching career, which included AMI certification and 25 years as a co-directress of Children’s House classrooms and a brief stint with 6-9 year olds – so I am well acquainted with various aspects of Montessori. Entering the classrooms at Villa di Maria feels so comfortable and familiar – I can’t wait to watch Charlotte learn and grow with all the same educational materials that I did. Paul is new to Montessori but he shares in the excitement as well.
VdM: What are you looking forward to most this school year?
AH: We are looking forward to seeing Charlotte develop and make new friends, and getting to know other parents and families ourselves!
What a delight! Thank you, Amanda and Paul, for introducing yourselves and giving us a glimpse into your lives. We are so happy that you have joined our community!