Stephen McCrocklin is co-founder and executive director of Langsford Learning Acceleration Centers in Louisville. He and his wife Claudia, co-founder and education director, are celebrating 30 years of teaching reading, spelling, writing, and comprehension and have helped over 4000 children and adults become better readers.
How has your model changed?
We switched our instruction to online totally during the pandemic. Now we continue to offer one-on-one personalized instruction at our center in the Highlands and online. We are able to help clients all over the country, including outside the continental U.S. There is no reason why a child sitting in a rural area should not have access to reading guidance. We have seen that the outcomes are the same with those we see in person and those we work with online.
Learned about yourself?
I need to slow down and not be quick to overgeneralize or assume anything. I need to really understand a situation so I can be helpful in working with the child and family. I can’t make assumptions and still be of value.
Learned from the kids?
Kids do well if they can. If they are not progressing, it’s our job as an adult to figure out what’s in their way. We hear, ‘They could do better if they just worked harder,’ as if it is a child’s choice not to do well. That’s blaming them for difficulties that are not their fault.
Challenges you’ve overcome as director?
The hardest part and the most important is building and maintaining a high-quality team. It is also the most rewarding. This is a team sport. Currently we have a staff of 35 who come together to build a successful result for our clients.
What is a trait you dislike about yourself?
I interrupt people. I’m working on that.
Exercise — both aerobic and weight training. I also meditate. That is powerful for me — sitting in silence for 20 minutes a day.
How do you keep your spirits up?
Through the great relationship I have with Claudia and connection with others and our staff. If I haven’t been engaged in my life and the lives of others I start to feel disconnected.
Someone might not know…
I played cello up until I graduated from college.
Favorite writing instrument?
Although most of my work is done on a computer, when I do write by hand, I have a favorite Montblanc pen that I use.
How do you break the rules?
I eat too many sweets, and I sometimes drive too fast.
Dove dark chocolate.
I’m looking to scale up how to meet the needs of kids who were left behind due to the pandemic.
Can’t quite get the knack of…
Dancing. I have no rhythm.
Like about Louisville?
The fun little shops, restaurants, and independent businesses that add to the whimsical culture of our city. We do get the concert and music scene right as well. I hope our downtown comes back. Before the pandemic, we were on the right track with people working downtown everyday and little businesses were thriving.
Work in general after the pandemic?
So many things have changed around work now. People are questioning why work? Why be there at all? Being in the company of other people doing some sort of service is to be engaged in the world. There are so many avenues to work independently, but it takes a team to really thrive and help an individual grow professionally and personally.
By Lucy M. Pritchett | Illustration by Dan Kisner
Today’s Transitions has partnered with A. Dale Josey and his Aging With Grace 55+ podcast series. Listen to Stephen’s story here.
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