25 Years Anniversity

The Growing Stick Learning Center was founded in 1987. It started as a shared dream with my best friend, Carie Watson. Carie and I were public school teachers when we realized one day that we were blessed with a God’s gift with young children. After six months of intense preparation we opened The Growing Stick Learning Center in the Fall of 1987 with 12 students. Carie was responsible for curriculum and I was responsible for the business management. We cooked, taught a class, and managed the business. Our dream was to build a preschool with a family atmosphere and lots of playful learning opportunities. Our families worked many weekends and after hours building playgrounds and maintained. There was so much excitement in our dream that we rapidly grew from 12 students to 55 students. After 3 years, Carie’s husband and family were transferred to Kansas City. This is when God’s journey for me began. Thru “His” guidance we began to add on to the school and with students and employees. In 1999 we were “ busting at the seams” so we added the gym. Along the path of growth, I was blessed with many wonderful employees. Many of whom are still with me today. Charlotte Ruyle, of 20 years, has worked almost every position, from afternoon supervisor, to Pre-K teacher, to Office Manager, to our present Director. LaTrina Stewart, of 15 years, has worked as teacher aide, to after school supervisor, to our present Assistant Director. Samantha Muller, of 5 years, has worked as a preschool teacher, to our present Office Manager. Susan Soward has worked many hours “behind the scene” as a family member, also as summertime teacher, and is presently our fulltime Curriculum Director and Instructional Teacher Coach.
Several employees have moved on but had a tremendous influence on the growth and success of The Growing Stick. Melody Hughes was a part time Curriculum Director. She would come to the school and spread her excitement and love for teaching children to the teachers. She was also responsible for directing The Growing Stick Learning Center into NAEYC accreditation. At that time, we were the first and only NAEYC accredited preschool in the East Texas Area. Jill Roberts, director for 17 years, was also a huge part of the NAEYC accreditation process. Her love for children overflowed into the entire school. Her creativity, excitement, and leadership made an impact in our community regarding children. There were many other employees that have come with little or no experience but have left with confidence and knowledge and a better understanding of children. We take pride in the fact that many of our loyal employees are still dedicating their lives to the children of our future.

I have been so blessed to have so many friends and employees to influence the direction of the growth of a preschool that loves and cares for children. We have grown from 12 students to around 100 students over the period of 25 years. And we grew from every teacher having many responsibilities to having a full time curriculum director, to a full time office manager, and several extracurricular activities available. I am so thankful to have a team of teachers that love our family environment and love caring and teaching our children.  To see the love for learning in children’s eyes everyday is the most rewarding thing in the world.

The Growing Stick was a dream built on a foundation of faith and love for children. May God continue to spread His blessings on my journey with The Growing Stick.


Cynthia Nance / Owner

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2700 Willard Dr. | Tyler, Texas 75707
Telephone: (903) 534-0601