Athena’s Ten Year Anniversary Reflection

    by Dr. Kirsten L. Stein, Athena’s Founder

    January 2020 marks a milestone at Athena’s. Although Athena’s began before 2010, our first official Athena’s Advanced Academy online classes commenced in January of 2010. One of the reasons I started Athena’s was to help parents of gifted children educate their children.

    Dr. Kirsten Stein at Athena's Advanced Academy

    Like many parents of gifted children, I found myself floundering when it came to educating my children–despite my educator training. I had taken time away from teaching to raise my children when they were young, and I had planned on them entering the United States school system when they reached school age. But those plans were changed when it became obvious that the traditional school model would not work for them.

    When my children reached preschool and kindergarten ages, I enrolled them in school. Although years apart, my son and daughter made it only to Kindergarten before it was clear they were not being challenged. I had gone to great lengths to locate schools that could work with their gifts. However, none of my hand-picked schools fully challenged either of them. Through a series of events centered around these school experiences, I decided to homeschool.

    Although homeschooling is not a prerequisite to attend Athena’s classes, it was through homeschooling my children that I discovered online learning. Thanks to the Internet, I was able to gather information and piece together curricula for them. At the time, I had not yet gotten my doctorate, but I did have my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, so I used that knowledge and experience to educate my children at home.

    This worked very well—both children were learning and were enjoying the process. My family was able to tap into the local homeschooling community to find classes, co-ops, and companions. However, I found that this was not enough. They were missing a connection with like-minded peers who shared their passions and curiosities. So, I reached out to other parents of gifted children online.

    As I connected with more parents in the gifted community, I became aware of the struggle that many of these parents were experiencing in educating and challenging their gifted children. I also realized that many families were also seeking a broader gifted community. Athena’s was my solution to both issues—educating students and connecting gifted students with each other.

    The first order of business was to properly educate and challenge my students at Athena’s. As the only instructor at the time, I started with a handful of courses. As Athena’s grew, I watched our Athena’s community take shape in the Social Forums and during webinars.
    Before long, Athena’s began attracting educators and parents who were interested in teaching through our program. This allowed us to expand to more subject areas, challenge more students, and strengthen our community.

    10th Anniversary Seal at Athena's Advanced Academy

    I’m so proud of how far Athena’s has come in the last decade and I am looking forward to watching how our community grows and improves—both in the next decade and in decades to come.

    Whether you’ve been here from the beginning or are just now becoming a part of our community,
    thank you all for joining us on this journey!


    1. Congratulations on ten years, Dr. K! Your work is impressive, both what you do in the classroom and the mentoring that you provide to the teachers who work through Athena’s. (I especially love how you have inspired the Junior Instructors to share their passions with others.) As our kids try different classes we find ourselves more and more appreciative of the quality of gifted instruction that Athena’s provides, how unique and valuable that is, and how much work and effort you put into making the classes interesting, informative, and fun.

      1. Thank you so much, Therese, Katherine, & Gabriana!

        Thank you for taking the time to say that. I love that you love the Junior Instructor series! 🙂 I am especially thankful to know that our commitment to quality is something you think of when trying out different classes. I am grateful to be working with such amazing educators.

        I would be remiss if I didn’t add how much I have enjoyed working with your family. Every course is better when phenomenal students like you are there. It has been my pleasure to work with you all.

        Thanks again!
        Dr. Kirsten 🙂

    2. Thank you so much for sharing your thought! I was touched by how your experience and enthusiasm inspired you to accomplish this wonderful academy. I can’t thank you enough for what all you have offered to the gifted learning community. For our family, the Athena’s Advanced Academy has been the place that my child was understood, appreciated and challenged. I don’t have any doubt that this community would continue to grow and flourish for the better. Congratulations to the Athena’s 10th anniversary!

      1. Thank you very much, Jinie!

        I really appreciate your kind words. It means a lot to me to know that you feel that way. I have so enjoyed having your child in my classes—simply delightful! I also appreciate your vote of confidence as we move into our next decade. Thank you so very much for your continued and constant support!


    3. What a great story, and a great journey! I’m very glad Athena’s came into being, and happy to share the next phase with you, too.

      1. Thank you so very much, Becky! I can’t believe how long we’ve been working together. I am really looking forward to seeing what we’ll accomplish together in the years to come.


    4. We are so happy to be a part of the Athena’s community and are thankful that you had the foresight to not only create a place for learning, but also for social interactions. Grant LOVES his classes and has such fun in the social forums. Congratulations on 10 years!!

      1. Thank you, Lindsey and Grant! We are so lucky to have you in our community–I especially appreciate your continued support. I love that Grant loves his classes and the social forums. I love seeing him so engaged.

        Thanks again & Smiles,
        Kirsten / Dr. Kirsten 🙂

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