Char has had a long career in education spanning from 1972 to the present. Actually she has had three careers! She taught special needs students for over 20 years. In 1984 (overlapping with her teaching career) she and her sister Gigi developed the Zoo-phonics® Multisensory Language Arts Program. In 1993 she retired from teaching to devote full time development and promotion of Zoo-phonics®. Zoo-phonics® has gone across the country and the world to become an international program.
Char always dreamed of opening a preschool/toddler learning center where Zoo-phonics® would be the highlighted curriculum. In 2007 this dream became a reality with the opening of the Safari Preschool and Day Care Center in Sonora, California.
Char holds five teaching credentials and four degrees including a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Instructional Leadership, a Master’s degree, an Administrative Credential, and a Child Development Program Director’s Certificate. She was a California Mentor Teacher for two years for the Tuolumne County Special Education Department, was awarded Woman of the Year for work with disabled, elderly and homeless, and Teacher of the Year for Tuolumne County Special Education Department. Recently she was voted Tuolumne County Chamber of Commerce’s “Entrepreneur of the Year.”
Char has been married to Bill for 42 years. She has three grown children and five grandchildren. Her hobbies are family, fitness, travel, reading and eating fun foods!
Katie was born and raised in Groveland, California. After graduating from Tioga High School she attended Columbia College to study Child Development. In 2007, Katie helped to open Safari Learning® Academy where she taught the toddler program for the first year. After that, Katie stopped teaching to take over the finances, human resources and, together with Char, does the overall management of the Academy.
Katie has literally grown up with Zoo-phonics® – traveling all over the U.S. and many parts of Asia to share Zoo-phonics® with the world. She has been able to teacher children in different countries Zoo-phonics® as well as mini workshops for teachers.
Katie was married to Kurt Edwards in May 2007 and they welcomed Marcus Edwards in December 2008. When not working with children or attending class Katie’s hobbies are playing with her husband and son, shopping, relaxing, cooking, traveling and working out.
Katie loves what she does and is grateful for the opportunities that she gets every day.