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About ThrivePoint

ThrivePoint OK

ThrivePoint is a dynamic and innovative tuition-free public charter school option that is coming to the State of Texas. With a rich history of over 25 years of experience in education, ThrivePoint has established a strong track record of success in Arizona, and we are thrilled to bring our expertise and dedication to academic excellence to the students of Texas.

At ThrivePoint, we are committed to providing a transformative educational experience that prepares students for a lifetime of learning and success. Our team of passionate educators believes in the power of personalized learning and recognizes the unique strengths and needs of each student. We strive to create an inclusive and supportive environment that nurtures the whole child, fostering intellectual, social, emotional, and physical growth.

Through our comprehensive and student-centered approach, we aim to inspire a love for learning and empower students to reach their full potential. We understand that education is not one-size-fits-all, which is why we offer a variety of pathways and programs tailored to meet the diverse learning styles and preferences of our students. Whether it’s through online learning, hybrid models, on-campus classes, independent study, or homeschool options, we provide the flexibility and support necessary for students to thrive academically.

One of our core principles is to empower students to achieve their dreams. We believe that education should not only equip students with academic knowledge but also instill essential life skills and foster a sense of purpose. At ThrivePoint, we prioritize career and college readiness, providing students with the tools and resources they need to succeed in their chosen paths. By fostering critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and adaptability, we prepare our students to confidently navigate the challenges of the ever-changing world and pursue their passions.

We also recognize the vital role parents play in their child’s educational journey. We value the partnership between parents, students, and educators, and we actively involve parents in their child’s education. We believe that by aligning with a program that emphasizes future achievement, parents can make informed choices and actively contribute to their child’s success. At ThrivePoint, we strive to create a supportive community where parents are valued, engaged, and provided with the necessary resources to actively support their child’s educational goals.

ThrivePoint takes pride in being Cognia Accredited. This prestigious accreditation demonstrates our commitment to maintaining the highest standards of educational quality and continuously improving our programs and services. It serves as a testament to our dedication to providing a well-rounded education that prepares students for a globally connected and rapidly evolving world.

Join us at ThrivePoint Texas, where we are dedicated to fostering a love for learning, empowering students to achieve their dreams, and creating a pathway to lifelong success. Together, we will build a thriving community of learners and leaders who will shape the future.

Our Leadership Team

Timothy Andrew Smith, EdD,

Co-Founder and CEO, Learning Matters Educational Group

Timothy is the president and CEO of Learning Matters Educational Group, a leading charter school organization in Arizona and California. Dr. Smith is the co-founder of ThrivePoint High School (Formerly E-Institute Charter Schools, Inc.) an online school with satellite campus locations in the west valley of Phoenix, Buckeye, Avondale, and Surprise, Arizona. Dr. Smith also the co-founder of Calibre Academy of Surprise, an “A” rated and high performing K-8 school in Surprise, Arizona. Dr. Smith also founded Taylion High Desert Academy, a charter school in San Bernardino County California serving students with independent study and blended learning.

Dr. Smith is an advocate for both the educational needs of traditional and nontraditional students and has been a leader in the Arizona charter school movement since 1996 and the California charter school movement since 2008.

Dr. Smith earned a Global Executive Doctorate of Education from the University of Southern California, a Global MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and bachelor of Arts degrees in both Korean Language and Asian Studies from Brigham Young University.

Shannon M. Smith,

Co-Founder and Vice President, Learning Matters Educational Group

Shannon Smith started as the co-founder of LMEG’s first charter school, International Studies Academy in 1996. Shannon sensed the need for the school to expand and researched effective elementary school philosophies in the country. It was at this point that she found out about the Carden Philosphy and Method originally developed by the educator, Mae Carden. Shannon cooperated with Timothy Smith to apply for the charter school Carden Traditional School in 2000.

Shannon Smith has an international educational background starting as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and a radio disc jockey for a peopular radio station in Korea. Shannon has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Ottawa University. Shannon also received specialized training in reading methodologies including the Carden Method, the LindaMood Bell Method, Open Court Reading and PhonoGraphix. Shannon is passionate about reading intervention and is a strong advocate for research-based reading instructional strategies and processes. Her work in developing the Response to Intervention and MTSS programs at Calibre Academy is a major reason that Calibre Academy has been a high performing school for many years.

Aaron Ritter

Chief Operating Officer, Learning Matters Educational Group

Aaron began his career as an educator in 2001, working as a special education teacher and then a high school English teacher and baseball coach. In 2006, transitioned to leadership roles within the district as a district grant coordinator and then an administrative intern. These leadership experiences led to opportunities to lead and serve students, staff, and the local community and quickly became a passion for Aaron. Aaron has worked in various leadership roles such as Vice Principal, Assistant Principal, Principal, Executive Director, Director of Schools, and most recently, the Chief Operating Officer for Learning Matters Educational Group. Aaron has had the privilege of leading and working alongside educational leaders in the Learning Matters Educational Group, as their schools experience significant year-over-year enrollment, attendance, and academic growth. Aaron has contributed nationally at various educational conferences hosted by organizations such as iNACOL and the National Charter School Association as a breakout speaker, sharing his experiences, challenges, and successes leading charter schools. Aaron holds a California Administrative Services Credential and Single Subject Teaching Credential in English. He earned his Bachelors of Arts from Texas Baptist University and his Masters of Education from California State University, Bakersfield.

Amy Schlessman, PhD

Chief Alternative Education Officer, ThrivePoint High Schools

Amy Schlessman, PhD, has dedicated her professional and much of her personal life to education and human services in both the public and private sectors. Dr. Schlessman’s research and professional interests include alternative school accountability, organizational development, and the development of creative and innovative intelligence in learners of all ages from diverse cultural backgrounds and socio-economic levels. Fortune 500 companies, as well as not-for-profit organizations including schools and community collaboratives, have benefitted from her contributions to their programs. Her publications and presentations illustrate a range of contributions from theory to practice.

Amy’s recent research, policy analysis, and advocacy focus on alternative education. She serves as Chief Alternative Education Officer for ThrivePoint High Schools, a network of alternative charter schools in partnership with Learning Matters Educational Group.

Dr. Schlessman’s peers have elected her to leadership positions internationally, nationally, and at the state level. She has served as President of an international education association, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL); Chair of Research and Evaluation with the American Educational Research Association; and founding President, Arizona Alternative Education Consortium. She is honored to now serve as the elected Secretary of the National Alternative Education Association. Amy Schlessman, PhD, has dedicated her professional and much of her personal life to education and human services in both the public and private sectors. Dr. Schlessman’s research and professional interests include alternative school accountability, organizational development, and the development of creative and innovative intelligence in learners of all ages from diverse cultural backgrounds and socio-economic levels. Fortune 500 companies, as well as not-for-profit organizations including schools and community collaboratives, have benefitted from her contributions to their programs. Her publications and presentations illustrate a range of contributions from theory to practice.

Eric Clapeck

Director of Schools, ThrivePoint High Schools

Eric Clapeck, Principal Mr. Clapeck began his educational career in 2012 teaching high school Civics, Economics, Logic and Law, where he was recognized as a Distinguished Educator by the Flinn Foundation and a Presidential Distinguished Teacher in 2018. While serving in various teacher-leader capacities, Mr. Clapeck realized that his true passion is leadership and he spent three years as an Academic Coach, College Counselor and Assistant Principal at a college prep high school in Surprise, Arizona. Throughout these leadership experiences, Mr. Clapeck has concentrated his efforts on building meaningful relationships with his students, teachers and community in an effort to encourage the pursuit of student achievement and excellence.

Mr. Clapeck joins ThrivePoint with a diverse educational and professional background that will prove valuable in pursuing our vision of fostering tomorrow’s innovators and leaders. Mr. Clapeck holds his Arizona State Principal certification and earned his Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of Arizona, a Juris Doctorate from Arizona Summit Law School and a Masters in Educational Leadership from Lamar University.

Jason Elliott

Director of Student Engagement, ThrivePoint High Schools

Jason Elliott is the Director of Student Engagement at ThrivePoint High School. This is his second year in this role and currently leads a team of twenty Student Success Coaches. Jason’s team thrive’s under his leadership and ability to support, equip, and motivate them as they support students holistically. Jason understands that all students have unique backgrounds, stories and challenges they are working through, but have big goals of what they want to do for their next big step of life.

Under his leadership, Jason’s team gets to walk alongside students as they grow and prepare for their next big step. With 14+ years experience in online education systems, Jason loves providing support to people in order to make them the best version of themselves.

Kelly Marble

Chief of Staff/Director of Human Resources, Learning Matters Educational Group

Mrs. Kelly Marble has worked with LMEG and their associated schools since 2013. Mrs. Marble first worked as HR Assistant and SAIS Coordinator for E-Institute Charter School. In this role Mrs. Marble process SAIS attendance submittals and assured that attendance was submitted to the Arizona attendance system without errors. Mrs. Marble also conducted employee background checks and verified employee fingerprint clearance cards.

In 2018 Mrs. Marble was promoted to her current position of submitting and supervising the payroll process for all five of the companies associated with LMEG.

Mrs. Marble also coordinates all HR budget components with CBO group, LMEG’s back office provider. Mrs. Marble works with the executive team in all aspects of hiring and onboarding new employees. Mrs. Marble also assists with coordinating all employee pay and benefit programs as well as coordinating employee separations. Additionally, Mrs. Marble coordinates the agendas for LMEG’s executive team meetings and for each school’s non-profit board meetings assuring compliance with open meeting law.

Donna Penberthy

Business Manager, Learning Matters Educational Group

Mrs. Donna Penberthy has been with LMEG since June of 2022. Donna works closely with CBO to process and manage employee and vendor requisitions and to monitor the budgets of each of the schools. Donna works with the executive team to get purchases procured and approved and is in charge of monitoring each campus to stay in compliance with school safety and other regulations. Donna also coordinates schoolwide events and meetings for the executive team and for each of the campuses.

Angela Garcia

Angela Garcia

Superintendent

Angela Garcia is a transformational leader with 21+ years of experience serving and leading Texas schools in a wide variety of educational settings: rural, suburban, urban, public PK-12, charter, traditional, and non-traditional campuses. Angela’s commitment and passion for providing equitable, inclusive, and innovative experiences for students contribute to the strength and leadership she provides the ThrivePoint Academy’s students and staff.

Having spent 8+ years working in and successfully leading and growing alternative school options in central Texas, Angela is well positioned to identify and address the needs of all students, particularly those that may be over-aged and under-credited. She uses all of her experiences to expertly train and equip staff to serve students while addressing their specific needs. Angela obtained her Superintendent Certification from Texas State University, earned both an M.A. in Educational Psychology and B.A. in Sociology from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

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