Our beginnings started with an ending–an ending to a long, successful, passionate career of a kindergarten teacher–due to three little letters: FTD. These stood for Frontal Temporal Dementia, a terrible disease that would eventually steal the passion, personality, and life of this kindergarten teacher at the young age of 58. This woman was my mother-in-law, and while I knew that this disease could not be blamed on her life as an educator, I also knew that the stress she lived with probably played a role in the sudden onset of the disease.
Fast forward a few years, and I recognized the stress in my own life as an educator. The pressures and stressors were intense, and I knew I needed to do something. I was introduced to the practice of mindfulness and began to see within this simple practice the power to reclaim space within my own being. I found the courage to take care of myself first as an avenue to better care for those around me.
During my time as an instructional coach and through collaborations with teachers across the state, I recognized that my mother-in-law's and my own experience are not unique. Conversation after conversation with educators has focused on the fact that they love what they do but are feeling emotionally and mentally exhausted, unsure if they can continue to fulfill their calling to educate and inspire the next generation.
A deep burning within me, the partnership of wonderful educators, and the encouragement from family led me to launch Opportunity Thrive in July 2017. My desire is to use the latest pedagogical, coaching, and mindfulness techniques to grow resilient, emotionally strong, and high capacity educators. I hope that you will join us in this journey to transform education by transforming one educator at a time.
~ Rebekah Schipper, Executive Director