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Dr. Shelta J. Richardson, CEO of The Academy of Early Learning, has worked in the field of education for over 25 years in various settings, from corporate childcare to faith-based settings. Her college career also made an impact on her work with the Academy. She went to college to be a Band director and came out as a childcare director. “This is important because my love of the arts transferred into the very mission of the Academy. Towards my senior year in college, I fell in love with the business side of childcare. I watched directors fail miserably with their schools and so desperately want ed to help them,” explains Shelta. “My boss at the time allowed me to write a labor thesis for my MBA program that allowed me to test-drive different strategies to make schools successful. It was during this time that I developed a business model that simply succeeds. It is the very business model I used for the academy.”