We recently connected with Dr. Barbara D Culp and have shared our conversation below.
Dr. Barbara D, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. Can you tell us a bit about who your hero is and the influence they’ve had on you?
My most incredible (s)heroes are the women who rose above humble beginnings to accomplish their dreams despite tremendous odds. Their faith, hard work, perseverance, and God’s favor allowed their imaginations to explode into something much more impactful than they could have ever imagined. Women such as Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784) took the lessons from learning to read and write to being the first Black woman to publish a book of Poetry. Gwendolyn Brooks (1917- 2000) was a poet, teacher, and author who was the first Black woman to receive a Pulitzer Prize. These two legends won a place in history and our hearts because they refused to give up on what may have seemed at that time an impossible dream. I think of them daily as I journey onward to pursue my dream of being recognized for my artistry.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
At Amyra, our goal is to assist students in grades K-12 with reading, language arts, and math skills. Some students need more assistance so they can keep up in the classroom. Others need the kind of support that will allow them to excel. Through Amyra, Dr. Barbara Culp blends traditional and initiative techniques to ensure each individual achieves their own version of success.
The tutoring programs focus primarily on reading, language arts, and mathematics. Upon request, Amyra offers assistance in science and social studies. Dr. Culp’s blended approach integrates best practices with current trends to reinforce what teachers offer in the classroom. The pace of instruction speeds students along their own pathways. Programs are tailored to students’ interests to capture their attention.
Too often, tutors are assigned only to low-performing students. Amyra’s tiered approach differentiates materials and methods to fit the needs of every learner. The process is able to serve special needs students, English language learners, and gifted students hungry for greater challenges. Informal quarterly benchmark testing keeps the students and the program on target. Pre-testing is followed by post-testing to measure how well participants meet and exceed, their own expectations.
We’d love to hear the story of how you turned a side-hustle into a something much bigger.
Amyra’s program began when Dr. Barbara Culp, an educational professional with over 40 years of experience, saw too many children fall behind academically. In addition to classroom issues, these students suffer long-term negative effects in life. Academic achievement is not limited to its impact on a child’s future; it also impacts their families as well as their communities. The “ah, ha!” moment happened when Dr. Culp visited a school to observe a student-teacher. The principal, with eight years of his own tenure, dearly wanted some words of wisdom from a veteran. They discussed the need to truly care for students and the need to lead by example. Long after the conversation ended, a flood of wisdom Dr. Culp wanted to share rushed through her mind.
Over the next eighteen months, she wrote five books packed with educational wisdom. She signed with a literary agent and sold her first manuscript to a respected educational publisher. As the second manuscript was being negotiated, the agent died. Rather than let that doom her wisdom to sit in a filing cabinet, she negotiated a ten-book deal with the publishing company herself.
All Dr. Culp’s efforts are driven by the improvements that occur when children are supported. Teachers benefit by having students who are more motivated to succeed academically. The program lifts all learners no matter where they start out.
What’s worked well for you in terms of a source for new clients?
Amyra’s number one source of new clients is referrals. Parents and educators are by nature generous and are always willing to share the names of people who are truly able to help. Dr. Culp’s decades of work as an educator and administrator in Georgia’s public schools provided a network that helped launch her business; that network has only grown. Her educational book series, published through Rowman & Littlefield, also introduces individuals to her wisdom and her warmth. Titles like Key Knowledge for Success, Choice Knowledge for Students, and Trusted Knowledge for Parents offer some of the best of her tips in accessible formats.