Founder’s Bio

Our founder has a vision for the future of education,
and we are inviting you to join us. Here’s a little
about our founder you may not already know.

Our Founder: Courtney Huntington

My Outlook

I think our education system is inherently flawed and is therefore failing. This failure is a natural result of the flaws, which are inherent in the system. The system was designed to work this way by the system’s originators, and the stated purposes of the system do not match the design.

Despite its flaws, this system is nearly ubiquitous in the United States. There are some pockets—very small pockets—of educators who try another system. But many who operate free of the system’s overseers continue to utilize the same system with all its design features—or, rather, design flaws. Even many homeschoolers continue to use the same overall system, with its focus on graded levels (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) and number grades (scores and GPAs), despite the fact that they consider themselves outside the system.

My goal as an educator is to help change the design of the system itself, not merely to help students and teachers within the system navigate it better. I have significant plans for how to achieve my goal of a complete system redesign. I’m inclined to think the total redesign won’t happen in my lifetime, but I think it is possible.

So how do I help now, when the system isn’t redesigned yet? It is tricky, but the difficulty is not insurmountable. Students who work with me become new students, capable of learning more and faster than they thought they could—and all they have to do is complete the assignments I give them the way I tell them to do them when I tell them to do them. I help students learn how to navigate this difficult system better, and one of the reasons I am able to do this is that I see not merely weaknesses within the system but also the foundational flaws. When a student begins to see these for himself or herself, then it becomes possible to avoid the pitfalls more easily.

I help students come closer to maximizing their potential. Students who work with me can become self-actualizing learners. And isn’t that what we all want for ourselves—and for future generations?

My Story

I am an entrepreneur—a student, a teacher, an analyst, a thinker, a doer, a creator. For more than twenty years, I have worked to develop a new model of education, and I have applied my methods in teaching my students as well as in my own learning. I have learned languages and linguistics, insurance sales and restaurant management, ancient history and landscaping. I have written poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. I have composed ad copy, technical manuals, and corporate communications. I have edited books, magazines, and newsletters. I have designed page layouts, logos, and websites. I co-founded a school and a center for the arts. I sold insurance and vacuums, taught university English, managed a restaurant, opened an education consulting practice, and started a landscaping company. I have studied aesthetics, graphic design, and landscape design. I have trained with Photoshop, InDesign, and AutoCAD. I have learned research methods, statistics, and curriculum design.

My training and background is widely varied, partly out of design and partly out of necessity. My college and university background is in the humanities. My undergraduate degree was a B.A. in Liberal Arts and Culture. During college, I paid my own way by working 30-35 hours per week at a small publishing company. I started in the back room, answering phones and packing orders. As opportunities to take on additional roles presented themselves, I volunteered, and in a short time, I was the assistant editor, and my job description included editing manuscripts, designing page layouts, writing ad copy, maintaining the company website, and doing small graphic design projects. After graduating from college, I chose to pursue an M.A. in English, which I attained in 2002, focusing on medieval English literature.

While I was pursuing my M.A., in the fall of 2000, I was asked to help start a new school. It began as a high school for boys and—still in operation today—it has now expanded to include all grade levels for both boys and girls. I taught Ancient History, Medieval History, Latin, Ancient Literature, Medieval Literature, Logic, Rhetoric, Composition, and General Science over the course of three years. In the first year of the program, I taught six boys of differing ages, who had been previously homeschooled and whose parents all considered them to be 9th graders. My mission was to evaluate each one as members of the class and bring them up to grade level in any area they were deficient, and I succeeded in bringing them all up to grade within the first year, in each of the areas I taught. I continued teaching at this school for two more years, until the spring of 2003. In the fall of 2002, I began tutoring at a local school part-time, as well, tutoring a wide array of subjects, including ACT prep classes. Though I had never intended to become a classroom teacher, I was finding that I was good at it, and people continued asking me to do it.

After attaining my M.A. in 2002, however, I wanted to broaden my experience by pursuing business and sales opportunities. I worked in outside sales for a local printing company. Then I sold insurance for a year, starting in the summer of 2004. In the fall of 2004, my wife and I also expanded her piano teaching studio into a full center for the arts, providing instruction for piano, voice, violin, guitar, and creative writing. I provided the creative writing instruction, though the overwhelming majority of our students were music students, not writing students. Throughout this time, I also offered my services as a freelance writer and editor, continuing many of the skills I had used as assistant editor. I edited books, co-wrote books (ghostwriting), wrote ad copy, wrote technical manuals, designed company logos, completed other graphic design work, and maintained web pages. I created my own writing manual, which I used with private writing students, as well as with seminar students.

In the fall of 2005, I returned to the university classroom, this time as an instructor rather than a student. I served as a full-time English instructor at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, where I taught first-year writing for two years, before we decided to move to Charlotte to pursue both new teaching and degree opportunities. We closed the center for the arts in December of 2009, two-and-a-half years after we moved to Charlotte.

When we decided to move to Charlotte, I accepted a part-time teaching position at UNCC, but I needed additional work, so I walked into one of Charlotte’s fine dining establishments—Noble’s Restaurant—and the general manager that I had never worked in a restaurant but that I was willing to study and learn, and that if he would give me a chance, I thought he would be pleased with the quality of my work. Thankfully, he gave me a chance. I started at the front desk as a host. After six months, I was offered a management position as Maitre d’/Assistant Manager. My duties included floor management, scheduling, bookkeeping, hiring, training, writing an employee handbook, inventory, and more. I continued on until the spring of 2010, when I left to pursue other opportunities.

After moving to Charlotte, I continued tutoring students independently, and I established BellaTutor in the fall of 2010. BellaTutor began as a solo consulting practice, providing education consulting, curriculum design, and private tutoring—including full-test ACT, SAT, GMAT, GRE, and ISEE test preparation.

In the spring of 2011, I also started a landscaping company. Despite the fact that I had never worked in landscaping, I researched, studied, and worked hard to learn the business. I studied turf management and horticulture techniques, and I studied for the tests required to obtain my pesticide applicators license. The landscaping work grew year after year and became REDengine Lawn & Landscape. REDengine provides services for nearly any type of landscaping work you can imagine. We mow lawns. We trim shrubs. We spread mulch. We plant flowers. We even design landscapes.

My Team

Throughout this time, I have continued my long-term mission to complete my model of education. I have continued to work with students through BellaTutor—and now through Strategic Education Advisors. I have continued studying and researching. I have continued planning and preparing. 

Now I am ready to shift my focus back to my first love and to employ my skills and entrepreneurial spirit in support of a larger educational mission. Much of what I have learned has been self-taught, but I practice what I call *interdependent learning,* which requires wise use of the skills and knowledge of others mixed in with one’s own self-teaching efforts to maximize learning efficiency and long-term effectiveness.

Now I am excited to expand my vision and ask others to join with me as part of a larger mission, and I am actively adding people to my team who can contribute to your child’s educational success. I already have veterans of education and institutional effectiveness on board, and we will be adding their bios to our about page soon. I am thrilled about this opportunity that challenges me and allows me to challenge the other members of my team so that together we become the best we can be—and help your child become the best he or she can be.