Stepping Stones Academy was established from two women who wanted to pursue their dream together. Today it has also become a dream come true for owner Kim Harper. It took years to complete their plans, formalize the curriculum, and make all the decisions about the building and furnishings. The school started with three classrooms and thirty students. (There are 6 teachers and 88 students now!)
Stepping Stones Academy is a private dream come true and a true private enterprise, and personal investment of time, energy, funds and effort.
We have a loft library, a listening center for books on tape, primary colors everywhere to make it cheerful and inviting, a specially designed fenced playground and miniature everything!
Kim Harper (owner) grew up in Ashland, Kentucky. She received a B. A. in Elementary Education from Marshall University with a Pre-K Certification. She has a M. A. in Deaf Education from Western Maryland College. Her eighteen years of teaching experience include nine years of working with preschool children with hearing loss in collaborative Pre-K classrooms. These jobs were in Raleigh, Wood, and Putnam Counties in West Virginia. She has also worked fourteen years for the WV SKI*HI Program as a Parent Educator helping families with hearing impaired children from birth to age five. Kim is the mother of two boys, Austin and Andrew. Her love of children and commitment to teaching are what inspire her to help students perform to their fullest potential. This is her 9th year at Stepping Stones as a teacher and first year as owner and director as well.
Ann Gilmore (Co-Director/aide) grew up in Daily, West Virginia. She received a Paraprofessional Educator degree from West Virginia State University. She has many years of experience working with preschool age children. She spent time tutoring children in reading at various elementary schools. She also had a day care in her home in Pennsylvania. Her two boys, Daniel and Samuel, kept her busy for 23 years. This is her tenth year a Stepping Stones Academy and she is still excited about being here !
Nicole Bledsoe grew up in Big Chimney, WV and recieved her B.S in Elementary Education from West Virginia State University and is also a Nationally Board Certified Teacher. She spent 12 years in North Carolina after graduation teaching kindergraten, first and second grades. She recently moved back to WV with her daughter Kailyn and recently got married in January 2013. Nicole loves spending time with her family and her new job at Stepping Stones Academy. Working with preschoolers has been a fun change of pace and Nicole plans on pursuing a preschool certification soon.
Becky Cunningham grew up in Hurricane, WV. She attended Marshall University and Walden where she took child development classes. She is currently enrolled at Marshall University working toward a RBA degree. She is working on her certification in the ACDS program through the Department of Labor as well. Becky has provided childcare from her home for 11 years and spent the last 7 years as a substitute and teacher at Stepping Stones Academy. She stays busy with her family which includes her husband, Jimmy, who coaches for HMS, and her three children, Trevor, Carly and Joseph.
As required by Federal Law and Regulations, Steppings Stones Academy does not discriminate on the basis of gender, age, race, color, religion, socia-economic status, handicapping condition, national origin, marital status or membership in any employee organization in employment or in its educational programs and activities.