columbiaAcademy_logo.png

Our Story

We have been educators for the past 21 years.  In addition to doctorate level degrees in education, we have years of on the job training and extensive academic research. We’ve seen it, we’ve done it. Now we are ready to do something different. To do it our way. 

After two decades of service in the public school system, we believe it is now time to approach our passion through a different lens.

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 around what is important to young learners. 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 MAP tests; rather, assessments will be used to drive learning plans and your child's next best step as part of a learning continuum.   

  • Flexibility to continuously adapt our schedules, approach to learning, and to 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 of 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 of a child. 

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

After 20 years, we believe this is how school should be for our own children.  

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

Cofounder/Director

20 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. She spent seven years as an educational consultant for schools across Missouri. During this time, she provided professional development for the components of reading, reading data and analysis, and reading interventions. She also assisted schools in implementing RTI/MTSS as a system, and facilitated the development of curriculum around state standards. She spent nine years in administration as a building principal and assistant superintendent.

Susan Deakins

Cofounder Director

21 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. 

Angie Cochran

Office Manager

20 Years Experience

Angie started her public school career at Cedar Ridge Elementary, where she was the secretary to the principal. She then went on to Oakland MS to become a nurse's aide, planning on going to nursing school in the future. Instead, she moved to SPED district-wide, with Columbia Public Schools. She went from Columbia Public Schools to Harrisburg Schools for a few years. She went on to work in Higher Education, at Stephens College for eight years and then back into public education at Hallsville School for two years.