Debbie Elder was interviewed on the Tonya Hofmann’s Fabulous TV Show about speaking, the business of speaking, how to utilize props when you are speaking, how to engage with your audience and about children and their families. What a diverse show!
Richmond’s Shady Oak Primary Grows Under New Owner
( Debbie Elder, owner of the Shady Oak Primary School, dances with student Chase Higgins, 7, during music class.Debbie Elder, owner of the Shady Oak Primary School, dances with student Chase Higgins, 7, during music class. (Photo By Diana L. Porter/Freelance))
Debbie Elder knows what it takes to get children motivated in learning and is taking her experience to the Shady Oak Primary School in Richmond.Elder, a former preschool teacher, experienced speaker and owner of the tutoring company, Set Them Up for Success, recently was named director and owner of the school.
Shady Oak Primary School offers classes for children in grades 1-5.
Joyce Trigger, Elder’s mentor, is the director of the Shady Oak Christian School that offers preschool, bridge and kindergarten classes,
She said Elder’s experience is an “asset to their program.”
For 12 years, Elder taught homeschooling out of her home using a philosophy and cultural approach similar to Shady Oak and later expanded into 14 middle and high schools throughout the nation.
When Elder heard Trigger was selling the Shady Oak Primary School, which at that time only went through the third grade, Elder, who believed in the Shady Oaks philosophy, thought it would be a good investment to purchase the school.
“We are so pleased to offer the families of Fort Bend County an opportunity for their children to enjoy the Shady Oak experience now through fifth grade,” said Elder. “We foster an incredible culture where learning is fun. Everybody is treated with respect and love. Teachers truly care about the level of education a child receives. ”
Elder’s approach includes instilling a love of learning and solid foundational skills in reading, writing and arithmetic. She feels this combination is the ticket to helping students excel as lifelong learners and successful citizens.
“We believe in the whole child and in the empowerment of each and every student. When they’re inspired, they learn so quickly. We want to capture their enthusiasm. Kids are on fire to learn, and we want to provide opportunities to lead them to next levels and stimulate their curiosity. Kids love coming to school,” Elder explained.
Elder, who grew up in Ottawa, Canada, was influenced in her career choice by her mother who also was a teacher. As the oldest child of three, Elder said her mother allowed her children to be empowered and put systems in place for them to succeed.
She went on to graduate from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario with a degree in criminology. Elder has worked as a police officer, therapeutic foster parent, paid professional speaker with Toastmasters and with the Applebaum Training Institute training teachers before becoming a preschool teacher.
Working with children is a blessing for Elder, who considers it a privilege encouraging them to learn.
“I absolutely love kids,” she said. “My first objective is to instill a love of learning in the classroom. It’s important they learn foundational skills. I’m really good at motivating kids. It’s my gift.”
The Shady Oak Christian School is slated to undergo the National Association for the Education of Young Children re-accreditation process during 2014-15 involving all classes and staff members.
(Debbie Elder, owner of the Shady Oak Primary School, works with fourth-grader Brayden Millon, 9, on an essay during writing class.Debbie Elder, owner of the Shady Oak Primary School, works with fourth-grader Brayden Millon, 9, on an essay during writing class. ( Photo By Diana L. Porter/Freelance))
News Source: Houston Chronicle
For this issue, we have Debbie Elder, a gifted educator, business woman and passionate advocate for learning and children.
Q: Please give us a bit of your story?
Debbie: I have had a deep desire to help children feel empowered and successful since I was a teenager.
I coached little league in my early teens and babysat. As I grew older I studied criminology at University and became a police officer. From there I went into the criminal justice field and worked at a young offender center, taught criminal law at both the high school and college level, worked in probation and as a therapeutic foster parent.
After giving birth to my two daughters I entered into the field of education. I taught Pre-school for 2 years and then spent several years touring the country training teachers in behavior management for their classrooms. I substitute taught at the local elementary school and this experience lead me to pull my daughters from the school and home-school them.
During my first year of home-schooling I realized that I had a deep desire to service the children of our community. I opened my home to local school children who came each day after school to complete their homework and receive the academic support they desperately needed. Within two years this after school program had grown into a full time school servicing middle and high school students. After the first year of teaching students in my home the program expanded and within four years we had 15 schools nationwide.
During our first year of school my students raised 94 thousand dollars for Down syndrome research. Community service has always been a core value for our schools and my students felt a strong connection to the DS community. They raised the money by selling little white mice that resembled beany babies. The pro- gram was called ‘Adopt a Mouse’ and the students presented a 30 minute informative presentation to various local clubs; Rotary, Lions, Exchange, etc. In addition to live presentations they sold mice
online and learned about product fulfillment in the process. It was an amazing experience for every- one involved!
After my daughters started college I moved into college planning. In this position, I was able to help parents pay for college and help students acquire the necessary tools and systems to be successful in college, and finish on time! Since serving in that role I have published two best-selling books, and reestablished my after-school program as a franchise and opened an elementary school.
Q: What are you working on right now?
Read the rest of the interview here: Debbie Kruger October 2014