The Classroom has always been a second home to Beckie Ballard. Growing up in Winnabow, NC, her mother worked as an administrative assistant in the Brunswick County School System. Her mother instilled something in her that continues to influence her work even today: the notion that anything is possible.
At Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, NC, she thrived in the atmosphere of personal contact with teachers and small classes and was not only eligible for inclusion in Phi Theta Kappa, but the club's sponsor, the Dean of the school Jim Stonesifer, convinced her to run for the nationwide presidency of PTK at the club's convention in San Francisco. Although she didn't take home the top prize that evening, she did gain valuable experience.
Initially after graduating Magna Cum Laude with an English teaching degree with middle school and high school certifications, Beckie chose to visit high schools across the southeast in a different capacity: as an admissions Counselor for Lees-McRae. Her main focus was the promising yet competitive Florida market. Looking forward to another year of recruiting college students, she got a late-summer call from the school system in Ashe Co., NC. They were looking for a teacher for the state funded Project Turnaround, a program that targeted 7th and 8th grade "at-risk" students. She decided to accept and two weeks later she had her own classroom.
Part of the funding included payment for her to take classes that offered alternative ways of assisting the learning process with challenged students, namely Brain Gym. She enrolled in the class, and walked in not knowing the first thing about what it would ultimately do: Change the course of her life and the lives of her students.
Test scores for her middle school students, identified as those at risk of dropping out, showed significant improvement, especially in writing. And behavior in the room, which was at first challenging to say the least, improved markedly.
After several years of teaching Beckie gave birth to a son, Camden, and began rethinking her return to the classroom during her year-long sabbatical. She went first to Bolivia Elementary, just outside of Wilmington, NC, to share her new experiences and training. The students there thrived and the school received the "exemplary" designation. The Principal went to the state capital (Raleigh) and presented her program himself to a regional meeting of principals. In the interim, she also found time to log over 1,000 hours of training in basic, intermediate and higher level Brain Gym courses and Brain-Based Learning.
After forming the Whole Brain Learning Center in 1996, she decided that her best course would be to bring the concept Whole Brain Learning and learning through movement to a wider audience that the small cluster of students in Project Turnaround.
In her further training she has studied with renowned brain studies researcher Eric Jensen and the creator and founder of Brain Gym Dr. Paul Dennison. She has combined and assimilated an easily applicable method for transforming classrooms and in effect, transforming lives.
Although she primarily works in school systems across the southeast and has worked with thousands of students in 200 schools as an educational consultant, she also works with a wide variety individual clients in North and South Carolina and Virginia. she has been a featured presenter at Eric Jensen's Learning Brain Expo in Chicago and has studied with the creator and founder of Brain Gym, Dr. Paul Dennison several times over the past 11 years.
She has created two master's level classes for the Teacher Education Institute (http://www.teachereducation.com). The first course they wrote is entitled Whole Brain Learning and the second course, Accelerated Learning debuted in 2007. The classes are taught to teachers across the United States both face to face and online.