Agora Board Welcomes Stephanie W.

April 15, 2024 1:45 pm

The Agora Family Welcomes Stephanie Wasmanski:  Mom, Educator, Advocate & Wellspring of Positivity

 

This spring, Agora proudly expanded our family of leaders and lifelong learners by welcoming Stephanie Wasmanski, Ed.D. to our Board of Trustees and the Agora School Improvement Committee. A respected educator at Wilkes University’s College of Education for more than five years, Stephanie, who is Associate Professor of Education and Chair of Graduate Studies Committee, has taken a journey that connects her intrinsically to almost every Agora student and family.

 

Stephanie grew up in the Pennsylvania public school system, during which time she pursued opportunities—including teaching Sunday school classes and enrolling in psychology courses—to nurture what would become a career in education. However, she shares that, like many Agora students experience in their K-12 educational journey, her road to a teaching career was not paved. She got her MBA with an eye for life in the corporate world and for years worked in real estate, being a motorcycle safety instructor on the side. Around the time she had her daughter, Stephanie felt her career lacked fulfilment. The drive to teach began to call her again, so when an opportunity to be an adjunct professor at two trade schools opened, she took it.

 

“When I got into those classrooms, I found the work my soul was craving,” said Stephanie. “I went back to school, interviewed for a program at Wilkes, completed my degree, and was offered a position in 2018. By fall of that year I was working with incredible students at Wilkes. It has been so meaningful to give back to this student body. It’s incredibly fulfilling. I am very blessed.”

 

Several stars aligned for Stephanie at Wilkes—those stars lighting her way to Agora! For one, she taught next to Dr. Anne Butler, Agora’s Chief Academic Officer, who eventually invited her to join the Board of Trustees. In addition, working every day with Wilkes students in a cyber education structure cemented Stephanie’s appreciation for the flexibility and autonomy cyber charter schools offer students and families. Stephanie’s students also included many K-12 teachers, which inspired her to expand her own experience with students below the college level.

 

“I admit, at first, I thought cyber charters schools were for students who couldn’t handle public brick-and-mortar school and being social. What a wild misinterpretation that was! Later I experienced the success friends had when they removed their children from toxic environments in other schools and allowed them to build relationships and thrive in a cyber charter school. Then, when I got more involved with Agora, I really understood the difference.”

 

“All students have different levels of need. Agora meets these needs by focusing on teacher and student relationships, strong curriculum, and a willingness to listen to students. Agora gives students a sense of autonomy, and when we have this, we’re more intrinsically motivated. It’s not surprising that Agora graduates are thriving at the next level. Wherever their future takes them they have a sense of, ‘I can do this because I’ve taken ownership of my learning.’ This makes all the difference.”

 

A few minutes with Stephanie and you can see that advocating for school choice—for every student and family—is a major passion. As a Trustee and member of the Agora School Improvement Committee, Stephanie has already demonstrated her relentless drive for ensuring every family has the awareness, facts, and access to select the best option for their children.

 

“It’s humbling to be in these roles and exciting to experience all the forward momentum Agora has—how we affect change. I will continue to share my voice as much as I am able to bring awareness and advocate for cyber charter schools.”

 

While Stephanie works to amplify her own voice, she is fully dedicated to encouraging others to do the same and to listening to those voices. This mission comes into play in her activities with our School Improvement Committee—an effort through which Agora works to elevate academic proficiency, student and staff growth, graduation rates, and more. While Stephanie finds many of the committee’s dynamics inspirational, it is the active engagement and listening to all stakeholders that gets her most excited.

 

“I love how focused the Agora School Improvement Committee is when it comes to listening to other voices—we really tap into all stakeholders—students, parents, teachers, administration—to make our school better. As a parent I took all this in thinking, ‘Wow!’ Lots of places do surveys, but Agora looks at that information with others’ eyes, gets people together, and learns what is needed through community-building conversations.”

 

Stephanie is an endless source of positivity—about our students, our process, our uniqueness, and our capabilities—that inspires all of us to confidently move forward in our pursuit of raising the bar for educational excellence. She brings to the Agora table valuable and unique experiences as a parent, educator, advocate, and lifelong learner. Even though she’s only been in her two roles with Agora a relatively short time, she’s already made an impact on what we’re doing today and how we will move forward as a leader in cyber charter education. We look forward to continuing to grow under her leadership for many years to come.