Today we’d like to introduce you to Staci and Melinda Younger. Them and their team share their story with us below:
The Educator’s Place was founded shortly after Melinda retired from a thirty-plus year career teaching for School District 12. Though she was ready to retire, she still had a passion for teaching, and she was not ready to leave being an educator behind. Earlier on in her career, in addition to working as a full-time educator, Melinda had dabbled in teaching professional development courses; so post-retirement, while contemplating how to stay involved in education, a lightbulb quickly went on as she realized that she should start her own professional development company. She was aware of the lack of good, applicable professional development courses for teachers, and with her background, she knew she would be able to provide the courses and the educational experience that teachers sorely needed.
Melinda realized that in order to reach the highest level of success with her new business venture, she needed a smart, professional, and knowledgeable educator to partner with. It took less than a minute for her to realize that that person was her daughter-in-law, Staci Araiza! Staci was, at the time, working for the Jefferson County School District, and was twelve years into her own career as an educator. The smart, professional, and knowledgeable educator that Staci is, she agreed to partner with Melinda, and The Educator’s Place was born!
Staci and Melinda established The Educator’s Place with three goals in mind: (1) make the courses affordable, (2) ensure the lessons were applicable to today’s classrooms, and (3) provide a realistic timeline by which teachers would be able to complete the necessary coursework. They knew how critical accomplishing these three goals would be, both to the success of The Educator’s Place, as well as to the teachers to whom they were offering these professional development courses. As The Educator’s Place grew, Staci and Melinda brought on additional educators to teach specialty courses and share their respective passion areas in education. To date, they have had seven professional, passionate educators join them as instructors with The Educator’s Place.
As they grew their new venture, they were very cognizant of the numerous, well-established professional development companies that already had national-level name recognition, so their primary focus became getting their own company’s name out there. The beginning was slow and involved a great deal of legwork and networking. They reached out to long-time contacts in the education industry, and visited numerous schools in various local school districts, distributing fliers advertising their offerings. They also presented at as many educator’s meetings as they could fit into their increasingly busy schedules.
They partnered with Colorado State University Pueblo for the credits that are necessary for teacher recertification and salary increasement within districts. Partnering with CSU-Pueblo definitely sent them in the right direction! A very reputable university, CSU Pueblo was also instrumental in setting up The Educator’s Place to run smoothly. Staci has a real knack for business management and was able to take over that part of the business with ease. Everything fell into place over a rather short period of time.
Melinda had a friend that is an administrative director in a large charter school that was in search of good professional development for their teachers. They crossed paths on one fortunate day which ended in both finding their needs being met with little effort! For The Educator’s Place this meeting was a crucial step toward expanding their business. Since then, they have brought on educators from additional charter schools that expressed the same need for professional development courses for their teachers. They found that tailoring classes to a specific school’s demographics, as well as to the academic needs of students, was a niche they were set up to excel at.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Starting a business is never a smooth road, but overall, The Educator’s Place experienced far less potholes than expected! It did take plenty of hard work, and both Staci and Melinda had to keep their noses to the grindstone for the first few years, but they fully expected that to be the case, were prepared to work hard, and have enjoyed the journey thus far!
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
The Educator’s Place is a Colorado company that meets teachers’ needs for recertification, professional development, and salary advancement credits nationally. We are teachers who know what teachers need! We know what teachers want with regard to their ever-changing curricula and their overfilling plates. We also know that a teacher’s time is very limited, so we offer quality online classes and training with information that can be used immediately in your own classroom. All of our Colorado-based instructors are either teachers that are presently in the classroom or teachers who have recently retired from careers in education. The collective background experience is vast!
At The Educator’s Place, our goal is to assist teachers in obtaining professional development credits needed to further their knowledge, as well as career, in a relaxed atmosphere, without too much stress. We accomplish that by offering over fifty courses, including: Classroom Management; Working Smarter, Not Harder; Cultural Diversity; Early Childhood; Special Needs; Gifted Classes; and Instructional Strategies and Techniques, to name just a few.
Having instructors that are in the trenches keeps The Educators Place’s courses relevant to the needs of the modern classroom, and a majority of the class assignments are immediately applicable and useful. Perhaps most importantly, our courses include NO busy work! Overall, we are proud to offer affordable, quality courses, AND to allow our students an entire year to complete each online course – because we understand that life happens. We believe that all of these things really set us apart from other professional development companies!
We also offer a Colorado Department of Education-approved CLD Endorsement Certification. Additionally, our courses can be applied to the achievement of a Master’s of Education degree through CSU Pueblo.
We are definitely the most proud of helping the teachers who take our courses obtain knowledge that they use to help their students become successful learners! Hearing “thank you” never gets old! We are also proud that, nine years later, we continue to hold true to our initial three goals of affordability, relevancy, and ensuring a relaxed timeline.
By keeping our overhead low, we are able to offer competitive pricing – we charge just $389 for each three-credit, graduate-level course. Additionally, we have special discounts available for groups, and we regularly extend exclusive offers and discounts to our mailing list subscribers!
Can you talk to us about how you think about risk?
Investing the time and money it took to establish The Educator’s Place was definitely a risk! The investment of time was the bigger risk, as by running the business primarily online, the overhead was kept to a minimum. Both Staci and Melinda had the positive mindsets and support systems necessary to keep their business moving forward, even when they did hit the occasional pothole along the way!
- $389 per graduate course (3 credits)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://www.theeducatorsplace.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theeducatorsplace/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/TheEducatorsPlace/