The ability to teach other people, especially children, is hugely underappreciated in today’s society. Without proper and competent teachers, children will not be able to learn the necessary lessons important for their development and further education. Aside from teachers, educational systems such as curricula play a crucial role as well.
Lisa Collum, founder and CEO of two educational companies, is well versed and seasoned when it comes to the importance of proper tools and systems for children to receive the right education.
Sixteen years ago, Lisa graduated from college with the excitement of finally being able to become a teacher. Lisa had always wanted to pursue a teaching career ever since she held “classes” with stuffed animals in her room every Saturday morning.
While Lisa has a passion for teaching, she was not aware of how underdeveloped some curricula were in many schools.
Her first teaching position was as a fourth-grade writing teacher at one of the lowest-performing Title I schools in Palm Beach County. Though ecstatic, Lisa realized a problem right away: there was no specific writing curriculum available anywhere for her to use. Thinking outside the box and wanting to see her students pass the state writing exam, she devised a plan to be able to teach them the necessary lessons.
From a proficiency rate of less than 50 percent in the school where she was teaching, Lisa was able to raise it to 95 percent. After a few years, Lisa reached 100 percent proficiency for two years in a row.
After seven years in the classroom, Lisa started Top Score Writing, a company that specializes in writing curriculum for grades 2 to 12. Lisa is not only the owner of the business but is also the author of each curriculum of each level. The company also offers different programs such as professional development and training for teachers across the nation, consulting with schools, and tutoring students.
They are the only company specifically designed to prepare students for the state writing assessment. Lisa is proud of building her company from the ground up on her own and successfully scaling it within a few years. Lisa’s goal is to take the program nationwide.
Along the way of Lisa’s Top Score Writing expedition, she discovered a small private school named Coastal Middle and High School around her area. The school had students of different circumstances enrolled ranging from those struggling in school to those having dropped out to those needing something different.
With Lisa’s desire to be able to provide an alternative education settings for these students, she knew she had to own the school. Lisa purchased the school in 2015 and officially started classes in 2016. A fully accredited private school in Lake Park, Florida, the school does not follow the traditional system: they offer lots of flexibility, frequent breaks, various curriculum choices, various small groups and clubs, and one-on-one teaching.
Lisa does not agree with a “one size fits all” approach to education, and within her school, she can provide alternative ways of learning, tailor-fit for each student.
The journey for Lisa was not easy, as many doubted her abilities. Through her dedication and love for teaching, Lisa was able to push through and will continue improving students’ experience and learning in school.