I am the proud mother of one incredible daughter and two amazing sons. They are loving, smart, curious, honest, trustworthy, generous, caring, and, kind. I couldn’t ask for more.
It’s because of them that after 12 years teaching in public schools, I resigned to educate them full time. My sons were then 6 and 13. My daughter had already graduated high school. I still remember – mainly with happiness and excitement, and frankly, a little nervousness -- the day my partner, their dad, said, “Let’s do this!” My sacrifice in walking away from a high-paying job was possible because he had our backs. He still does.
What we gave up in income --yes, we loved our dual incomes --we gained in the joy of knowing exactly what our sons' schooling would be: safe, engaging, rigorous, individualized and learner-centered, culturally relevant, and inspiring. Simply high-quality preparation for our sons to lead fulfilling and successful lives in the real world as good people. We had to learn how to deliver.
Interesting is that I didn’t set out to be a teacher. I certainly didn’t set out to be the founder of a school. My undergraduate degree, after all, was in Communications. I thought that I would go into the world of publishing. Eager to land the perfect job, I became a substitute teacher to give me flexibility as I interviewed. Then the unexpected happened: I fell in love with the students! And, I have never looked back. I immediately began coursework to achieve teacher certification through an alternative route and in time, enrolled and completed graduate school.
I founded Ubuntu Village in 2015, the year I left teaching in public schools. My original home school consisted of just my sons and I in our basement. The eldest of which has since graduated and is pursuing entrepreneurial acquisitions in real estate and business. Ubuntu started with two. Almost immediately, a neighbor asked me to teach her son, who was having issues in school. I said yes. Next, the principal of an African-centric school (now my history teacher at Ubuntu Village) sent a student. Later, while on a trip to Cuba, I recruited another student through a barter system of class offerings. This would be the first student from out of state.
Through an opportunity with an educational colleague, I began to teach online. When my ability to perform as an instructor as well as lead my own school was stretched, I made the decision to focus on creating and designing educational experiences for students and families that had already begun to gel as my Ubuntu community. Every student since then has been a parent referral. Once enrolled, the vast majority stay. I now have 16 students at Ubuntu Village, from five states, in grade levels from 3rd through 8th. My staff logs in from nine states domestically and two countries internationally.
In addition to core subjects (math, reading, writing, science, history) our curriculum includes web design coding, illustration, culturally sensitive literature groups and student groups, meditation & wellness, physical education, band, and Mandarin Chinese. Our guest speakers have included a NASA astronaut, civil rights activists, college professors, scientists, mathematicians, and entrepreneurs just to name a few. The students are educated and inspired by them. In turn, they, too, are inspired by the curiosity, character, capacity, and charm of our Ubuntu scholars!
We have grown humbly, organically, and consistently. With the advent of Covid-19, parallel to their normal jobs, many parents have, in effect, had to learn to be teachers, motivators, resource-finders, educational innovators, i.e., what public and private teachers have done forever. Many students have had to transition to online classes. Ubuntu Village has had a head start. All of our instruction is online and includes all of the requisites that defined the mission of homeschooling with my two sons: safe, engaging, rigorous, individualized and learner-centered, culturally relevant, and inspiring. Live, virtual learning, and educational excellence at its finest!