Kimberly Townsend knows a lot about education, having been involved in classrooms in both public and private schools.
But her idea of what the perfect school looks like changed when she became a mom herself.
“I did not believe that our local public school was going to be the right fit for our daughter,” she said. “That was a big deal. We live in North County and from talking to family members, and going to the school she was assigned to, I was just worried that their outcomes were not strong enough. I knew she would be fine, but I was worried that the school wouldn’t be the best fit.”
So Kimberly decided to build a school that would meet the needs of her daughter and other children in their community. A school that prepares students to be in the driver’s seat of their own learning. The new school, The Leadership School (www.theleadershipschoolstl.org), will be the first charter school in St. Louis County and will serve students in the Normandy region when it opens in the fall of 2021.
“I want more than fine for my own child and more than fine for everyone else’s kids,” said Kimberly, adding that parent voices and input will be critically important in the new school.
“Parents know their children,” she said. “Parents live with their children for their entire lives and for us as educators to believe that we know more about the needs of children than their parents is really foolish.”
“Whatever profession you work in,” she said. “Whatever your actual job is, you need to be really leaning into your other role to be an advocate for your child. You know your child and you know your child’s needs and schools need you to advocate for your children.”