Literacy and Mathematics Academy began as a dream based on a community need. Having conversations with students and families about their challenges and journeys highlighted the lack of fundamentals in education. This became the foundation of that dream. To place customizability at the heart of curriculum planning and place the student’s needs before all else. To create an environment that focuses on engaging students and helping them connect with the material they are learning. To create an inviting atmosphere that encourages students to associate positive memories with classroom learning: to fulfill a niche … No procedure. No red tape. No barriers. Just adaptive, customized curriculums that places the fundamentals of literacy and mathematics at the forefront of learning!
Fuelling this dream, is one woman’s passion…
Nicole M. Guerriero
Nicole’s career has always been focused on education, her family would often joke she was going to be a professional student. So it came as no surprise when she declared that she needed to open an academy! During her Undergraduate degree, where Nicole completed a Double Major Honours at Brock University, a 6-year program in 4, she became focused on getting her PhD, so she could make a difference. Graduate Studies was just the natural progression of the dream. Nicole pursued her first Master’s degree at McMaster University, on full scholarship, with a 2-year TA position. During her time at McMaster, Nicole connected with the Student Accessibility Services, which provides academic accommodation assistance and support to students with disabilities at McMaster, volunteering to be a notetaker and helping students integrate into the University environment. In addition, she published a number of papers, gave presentations and actively participated in conferences throughout Europe and North America. Nicole always made time for her community, supporting charities like Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Go-Girls; a literacy and mentorship program for young women. After her time at McMaster, Nicole pursued a second Master’s degree at SUNY University at Buffalo in 2013, completing it in 1 year. While there, she continued to actively publish her work and present it at conferences around the world. Her greatest accomplishment, during her time at the University at Buffalo, was being chosen as 1 of only 10 scholars from around the world, invited to participate in the Levinas Summer Seminar in Vilnius, Lithuania. Nicole was the only participating scholar who did not have her PhD and gave a talk on The Feminine Presence in Levinas. Despite being driven by a passion for learning, the further into her studies she went, the further away from her community she found herself. Theoretical is important, but working in a bubble did not allow her to address the practical concerns she kept seeing in her community. At the same time, Nicole started working for a tutoring company as an Educational Consultant. This part-time position, quickly became a full time job, and she was promoted to Director of Education. This is where she started to make a difference!
She was consistently being asked: Are you a teacher? No? Why don’t you become a teacher? Why aren’t you teaching in a High School, College or a University? Nicole did not want to limit her teaching style and wants to be able to connect with her students according to their needs, free from the confines of the mainstream curriculums. She wants to ensure that ALL students have the opportunity to learn in a customized environment that does not create gaps in their learning. She dreamed of a school modelled after the agoras of Ancient Greece; where learning happens through conversation. She was searching for a way to be able to make immediate changes to her students programming, so they can flourish and reach their potential.
Literacy and Mathematics Academy is this aspiration brought to life.
Nicole prides herself on remaining part of the educational community. This ensures she is always in the know when it comes to the latest trends and newest research in the space, which allows her to help her families to the best of her abilities. Most recently, she was invited to join the Emergent Literacy Coalition (ELC) and continues to build partnerships with various organizations, which allows her to collaborate on different projects that promote literacy among children in her community and beyond.
In addition to running Literacy and Mathematics Academy, Nicole founded the Reading Buddies program at the Grimsby Public Library. A free program that helps little learners in Grades 1-6 who struggle with reading. The response this program received, solidified her belief that her community is struggling with literacy and that students need help now. The Academy is more than her magnum opus, it allows her to pursue her passions and help her community at the same time.