Heartspring Director of Educational Services Stephen Perry knew he wanted to be in education when he was a sophomore in high school. His English teacher showed his class “To Sir with Love” starring Sidney Poitier and that sparked an interest in teaching. Specifically, teaching the students others may label difficult, the ones who may need it the most.
Throughout his career in education Stephen has made connections with the students and the staff he worked with, whether it be as a teacher or an administrator. Stephen started his career at United Methodist Youthville in Dodge City, Kan. where he worked with teens who had been incarcerated. The work was difficult, but very rewarding. He then taught at Coleman Middle School as a teacher and part-time administrator and also at Hamilton Middle School as an administrator of special education. He was then offered a job as an administrator at Northwest High School.
While at Northwest High School, Stephen made some major changes. He began the Gap Program for children who were identified as at risk. The program used statistical data to provide interventions in core areas like math and reading to make sure students stay in school and graduate. He found teachers who had the same type of passion he had and made them part of the program so they could use that passion to help students grow. After his success there, he went to Wichita South High School where he made major changes to the special education department as the lead administrator.
In 2008, he moved to Heartspring to take the Director of Educational Services position. The thing he loves most about Heartspring is that every child has his or her own educational plan. Since he’s been here, Stephen has made decisions that have improved what Heartspring has to offer. He put together an educational staff who are experts in their fields. He began the structured activity based leisure program, the walk-through accountability process and IEP reviews. One of the biggest projects he’s been a part of is the revamping of the vocational program to prepare students for life after they leave Heartspring.
Stephen’s passion has been nationally recognized. He was awarded the National Model of Excellence in Education award and was featured in their magazine. When he’s not working he enjoys woodworking, planting trees and shrubs and spending time with his family.