Paula Watkins: First African-American virtual school founder
Dr. Paula Watkins, CEO/ founder of The Cyber Education Center in Redford, Mich.
Submitted by Gwen Thomas
REDFORD, MI – For more than 30 years, Dr. Paula Watkins has spent her professional career focusing on improving the student achievement gap in the core academic areas of mathematics, writing, reading and languages for school districts in the State of Michigan. Realizing that every facet of the education process from recalibrating the learning environment to staffing, administration, managing governance, updating curriculum, instruction and analyzing testing metrics, Watkins has found all of these elements crucial and a fundamental frame-work for academic excellence. Watkins previously worked as CEO of Vision Education Center, an Education Management Organization for several charter schools in the Michigan areas. Watkins received her PhD from Oakland University.
So, when Watkins learned several years ago, the State of Michigan had expanded the Charter School legislation to include virtual education, she knew that finally after researching and studying methods for distance learning, coupled with core strategies for academic success at brick and mortal institutions, it was a perfect time for her company to put their knowledge in place to create a technological infrastructure. Virtual Schools are full time online schools of choice options that deliver all curriculum and instruction via the internet. Online charter enrollment has more than quadrupled since the Michigan law went into effect, demonstrating the allure of cyber schools for some Michigan students. According to the National Education Policy Center, in 2011 there were approximately 320 virtual schools in the United States.
Today, Dr. Watkins is CEO of The Cyber Education Aca-demy located in Redford, Mich., making her the first African American female and founder of a Virtual Education institution in the United States. “Our goals are to improve the graduation rates of urban, suburban and rural children and we have re-cognized that in order for us to improve these statistics educators have to look at intervention strategies. The Cyber Education Center provides an option for students. We are graduating students.”
The Cyber Education Center is a K-12 school that reaches a segment of students who need solutions to their unique education challenges. Whether they are disabled, gifted, or nor-mal students, Cyber Education is committed to providing sup-port services and maintaining high levels of achievement among their students. In 2016, CEC will expand and serve domestic and international students seeking a postsecondary education.
For more details about the Cyber Education Center, visit www.cyberedcenter.org