• Mary Jo Dyre

School Pre-History "SHORT"

Over the course of the past few days, two people have asked a question as I was in the thick of sharing details about Project Blu Sky, the innovative Right the Future FOR Education initiative that The Learning Center! Charter School is moving forward. The question, "Why? Why, back in 1983, did you start The Learning Center?

In 1981 and 1982, leading up to the opening of The Learning Center, a private school that would in August of 1983 open its doors for the first time in Brasstown, North Carolina, as a PS-3rd grade offering, the education of my two young children was a top priority.

As an educator, I readily took in the amazing learning opportunity that my younger child participated in through a local Montessori preschool. No question, Maria Montessori had nailed the best method for a young child to grow and develop. There was real merit in the teacher being a facilitator within a setting where children were surrounded by appealing, self-correcting manipulatives designed to draw the young learner in time and time again until a lesson took root.

In short, I wanted my first born to always have the opportunity to learn in such a setting. Since the local Montessori preschool was closing, I also knew I needed to find a way for my first born to also start his formal education in such a learning environment. The vision for The Learning Center was born.

Authors Rebecca Shore, Maria Leahy and Joel Medley included my chapter "What If?" in their book, Changing To Charter: How and Why School Leaders Convert. I shared this. "If I had known more about starting a business and the challenges of running a private school in an economically deprived section of the Appalachian Mountains, I may never have opened the school. If I had thought through more carefully what I was trying to start with only a year and a half to bring the project from initial inspiration to the grand opening for a first day of school, I would have conceded defeat within the first couple of months. Instead, I focused on what I defined as the ideal approach to education."

"I ate, drank, and dreamed the vision. I began to gather like-minded people around my idea of providing a choice in education."

We built it. My two children along with many more entered our learning environment back in 1983. The we behind the vision and the numbers served have grown. The "why" has stayed steady and sure.









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