Pat Roberts and Nancy Blair met when their daughters were in first grade. It was destiny. When they discovered that both of their daughters suffered with Dyslexia, they would go on to build a school that served bright students with language-based learning differences in grades 1-12.
To hear the full Women to Watch™ Media interview with Pat and Nancy, listen below.
For more information on Pat & Nancy, check out the links below!
Pat Roberts, Executive Director and Co-Founder of AIM Academy
Pat is uniquely qualified to serve as the head of AIM Academy. Pat is both a passionate educator and successful businesswoman. Her lifelong commitment to education began as a graduate of West Chester University where she received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in education. Her career began in the laboratory school at West Chester University where she taught children in research-based early childhood programs in 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.
This experience ultimately led to the incorporation of her first of three successful businesses, Primak Educational Foundation. Along with a business partner, Pat was able to continue the work of research-based curriculum development begun at West Chester University. A commitment to the power of technology as a unique learning tool led her to spearhead the development of cutting-edge educational software as part of her second business, Early Learning Associates. The software developed by this company was ultimately sold to Houghton Mifflin.
Pat then continued her commitment to ongoing education by launching PTS Learning Systems, Inc., providing corporate computer training and learning support software to both small and large businesses in the region. Pat and her partner, Mike Levinson, grew this multi-million dollar business to include 250 employees in the US and abroad. She sold her company to Global Knowledge Network, Inc. in 1999.
In the year 2000, Pat became an adjunct faculty member in the College of Education at West Chester University supervising student teachers in the field. She also launched the Institute for Educational Excellence and Entrepreneurship (3E Institute) with the belief that corporate and community partners needed to collaborate with schools to enrich the programs for students and engage students in the opportunities of the 21st century workforce. Identifying and rewarding entrepreneurial educators as part of the Educator 500 program became a cornerstone of the 3E Institute. It was through the Educator 500 program that Pat Roberts and Nancy Blair worked closely with Sally L. Smith from The Lab School of Washington when she was honored with the Educator 500 President’s Award in 2004. The bond and mutual respect that began as a part of that process continued throughout the launch of AIM Academy.
For those of you who knew Sally Smith, she let no moss grow when it came to establishing programs for children with learning disabilities. And so it was with Sally’s vision to expand the Lab School model to other cities across the country. Pat Roberts and Nancy Blair will forever cherish Sally’s belief in their passion, their skills and the need for such a program in Philadelphia. Sally’s commitment to the program and to our founding advisors and Board of Trustees allowed the growth of AIM to far exceed the expectations of all involved.
Pat Roberts is the Executive Director of AIM Academy and continues to promote and expand the vision to create the AIM Institute for Learning and Research. The AIM Institute presents workshops, seminars and its Experts Series to disseminate best practices for students with learning differences. Collaborations with area universities such as West Chester University, Temple University and St. Joseph’s University bring this learning to both undergraduate and graduate level educators and professionals in the field.
Nancy Blair, Associate Director and Co-Founder of AIM Academy
Nancy Blair started her career as an intensive care nurse. After completing graduate training in Nurse Anesthesia at the University of Pittsburgh, she became licensed as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). Nancy believes her training in medicine has prepared her to have a deeper understanding of the recent scientific studies where functional MRI’s have shown the importance and the critical need for explicit and systematic scientific-based instruction for children with learning disabilities.
Nancy has worked in conjunction with West Chester University’s 3E Institute and Educator 500 program. The Educator 500 identifies, rewards and supports entrepreneurial educators and teams who are proactively developing and implementing innovative programs that meet the unique needs of students by incorporating collaborative solutions, business partnerships, and parent and community involvement.
Nancy served as a volunteer and officer in several educational organizations committed to helping children with learning disabilities. As a volunteer, she collaborated with area professionals and parents to bring top experts to the Philadelphia region.
She holds her Level I and Level II Wilson certification and is honored to be a Wilson Level I Trainer. She has been trained in Lindamood-Bell, the RAVE-O Vocabulary and Fluency Program at Tufts University and in the Neuhaus Metacognition program to increase vocabulary and reading comprehension. She holds a private academic reading specialist license from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Nancy grew her tutoring practice quickly based on the success of students with whom she was working. Her tutoring practice included students in public, parochial and independent schools.
In June 2006, Nancy’s dream of helping many more students was realized when she collaborated with other passionate educators in the Philadelphia area to start AIM Academy, in conjunction with The Lab School of Washington. AIM began in September 2006 with 24 students and has grown to over 335 students. Nancy served as Director of Admissions at AIM during its first 7 years. She currently serves as the Associate Director overseeing Admissions, Wilson Training and Professional Outreach. AIM is proud to be a Wilson Partner School and has trained over 4500 teachers as part of the AIM Institute for Learning and Research over the past 11 years.
Nancy formerly sat on the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Branch of International Dyslexia Association (IDA), where she has served as Co-Chair for the 2009 PBIDA conference and Chair of the 2010 conference where AIM hosted Dr. Louisa Moats as the keynote speaker to a sold out crowd. She has been on the Program Committee for the 2011 and 2012 conference. She has recently been invited to join the National IDA Professional Development Committee and the IDA Standards Initiative.