March 3, 2015
The International Academy for Educational Entrepreneurship (IAEE) has named Patricia M. Roberts '73, M'75, founder and Executive Director of AIM Academy in Conshohocken, Pa., its 2014 Educational Entrepreneur of the Year. AIM Academy is her fifth major start-up.
Roberts had been a WCU adjunct education faculty member, and founded the College of Education's Institute for Educational Excellence and Entrepreneurship (3E Institute). 3E supported and mentored entrepreneurial educators who collaborated with colleagues, parents, businesses and the community to meet the educational needs of all students.
In an interview with IAEE, Roberts referred to her West Chester education as an "amazing opportunity at a time when funding for educational research was at its peak and lab schools were being developed on college campuses to attract top researchers and practitioners in the field for the sole purpose of school improvement. It developed in me and others the sense that education is not static. It taught me a true sense of entrepreneurship as I watched research initiatives become practice models through technology, curriculum and teacher training initiatives." Her biography on AIM Academy's website calls her "a passionate educator and successful businesswoman. … [whose] career began in the demonstration school at West Chester University where she taught both regular and special education settings. Through federally funded dissemination grants, Pat was able to further expand her educational outreach to include conducting teacher in-service workshops and seminars nationwide."
Roberts told IAEE that she tried to retire once, but "was a total failure at retirement. I am drawn to creative and innovative people and my need to give back by contributing to the educational landscape was difficult to resist. I have been personally rewarded in the experiences I have had to continue my learning and to meet many researchers and practitioners who believe that the field of education is at a tipping point. With the future of education in the hands of the most entrepreneurial minds and passionate educators today, I am happy to continue to be a part of growing and shaping the future of education."
WCU alumnus Don Leisey '59 is co-director of IAEE, along with Charles Lavaroni. IAEE encourages and supports educators who invest time, energy, and capital to create, develop, and market programs, products, services, or technologies designed to enhance and improve education while working with schools and colleges to insure the learning, practical application and appreciation of the skills and values of the entrepreneur by students they serve. Read more of Roberts' IAEE interview.