Our Story

We are long-time educators.  We have spent time as teachers, literacy coaches, curriculum directors, principals, executive directors, and assistant superintendents.  We are published authors and we hold doctorate degrees in education.  We are experts in our field and we have spent many years studying and applying what works best for kids.  Now, we are taking what we know and creating a space where kids can be kids while learning and achieving at very high levels.  We believe that families should have access to a nurturing, loving, academically engaging, safe environment for their children.  This is what we have built CALE to be.  A place where all kids thrive with intentional learning and meaningful play.  

What makes us different?  


  • Highly experienced educators. 

  • Strong academics that support state standards, with a different measure of success.  Our approach to instruction is based on what is best for young learners.  We use research-based instruction and materials to ensure we are giving our students the very best education.  We have the freedom to make decisions that are best for kids - not based on policy or testing standards. Academic success is not determined by state tests; rather, assessments will be used to drive learning plans and your child's next best step as part of a learning progression.   

  • Flexibility to continuously adapt our schedules, approach to learning, and support the needs of children and their curiosity.

  • To take learning deeper in a more relaxed setting and do it organically in a free-flow environment.

  • Longer lunches and lots of outdoor exploration.

  • A relaxed environment that allows your child to be cared for as the unique and individual person they are. Smaller class sizes and more 1:1 attention. 

  • A unique approach to learning with lots of hands-on learning and body movement. Students will not be at desks all day but will still be learning. 

  • Emphasis on social-emotional learning. We believe in a holistic approach to caring for the mind and body. The body as a whole system has to be working well and aligned in order to get the best from a child. 

  • Part-time option for kindergarteners and a Junior Kindergatern option for those children turning 5 during the academic year.

Our Team

CALE Teaching Team

Columbia Academy for Learning and Enrichment believes that high levels of learning and achievement occur when teacher capacity is high.  It is for this reason that our leadership team intentionally recruits the very best in teacher candidates. An essential attribute of all CALE teachers is the ability to build strong relationships with students.  


We believe strong relationships are the foundation for creating a life-long love of learning and the self-confidence to take academic risks within the classroom.  Additionally, CALE teachers must be experts in the instruction of reading, writing, and math.  Using various research-based instructional strategies to ensure that we are meeting the needs of all learners is essential.  The following are non-negotiable attributes that all CALE teachers possess.  

  • Certification

  • Relationship builders

  • Passionate about students, teaching, and learning

  • Thoughtful in their instructional approach

  • Reflective in their approach to teaching

Our Leadership Team


Dr. Jill Brown


22 Years Experience

BA in Elementary Education, MEd in Curriculum and Instruction, EdS in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, and PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.

Jill began her career as a 2nd and 3rd-grade teacher and later spent time as a literacy coach. Additionally, Jill spent nine years in administration at both the building and district levels. She has spent many years as an educational consultant for schools across Missouri. She provides professional development for the components of reading, reading data and analysis, and reading interventions. She also assists schools in implementing RTI/MTSS and facilitates the development of curriculum around state standards. She is the author of the book, Matching Reading Data to Interventions:  A simple tool for elementary educators. 

Dr. Susan Deakins


23 Years Experience

BS in Elementary Education, MEd in Education, EdS In Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis

Spanish Certification K-12

Susan began her career as a high school Spanish teacher, moving to an exploratory languages teacher at the middle school level. She also taught middle school English and reading intervention.  Susan began her work in educational leadership at a prominent charter school in Urban Kansas City working with students K-12.  During her tenure, Susan also served as coordinator for curriculum, instruction, and professional development.  Susan transitioned into elementary leadership as a principal in Raytown, prior to returning to her hometown, Columbia, where she has served as a CPS building principal and K-12 Executive Director for the past eleven years.