Friend Feature Friday – Christine Laurenzi

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Christine presenting at TEDx Tampa Bay

Hello!  After a summer hiatus and a hurricane break, I am happy to be back to blogging in order to introduce you to a wonderful woman I am proud to call a friend.  Although, I have to say it is still a challenge to call her by her first name, as “Ms. Laurenzi” just rolls off the tongue.  I met Christine when she was Grace’s 4th grade teacher a few years back.  There was always something different about her approach to teaching, her ability to connect with students and her passion for education.  From community service projects to thoughtful holiday gifts – this teacher was different.  She aimed to truly individualize and personalize the teacher/student relationship and the education process – so much so that she now runs her own school aptly called Indi-ED.  I am so impressed with her rigor and passion, and love seeing that instilled in Screen Shot 2017-09-22 at 1.19.59 PMher students – truly the next generation of great thinkers.   Grace was able to participate in a wonderful summer learning program after 4th grade with Ms. Laurenzi which encompassed choosing her own topic of study, researching, and presenting it in her chosen format.  She took a camping trip with my parents that summer and chose to learn more about some of the places they visited.  Grace wrote blog entries and painted pictures for her final presentation.  The methods utilized while teaching and learning in this individualized method are phenomenal, and Grace gained so much more than knowledge in her time spent with Christine.

In that spirit, I am honored to be able to be a small part of her wonderful school this year as a part time health and PE coach.  I have the pleasure of leading her charismatic group of students twice weekly, and bring to them my passion of pursuing a healthy lifestyle.

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Please read on to learn more about Christine, her life lessons, Indi-ED and plans for the future!

 

  1. Tell us about a time in your life when things were not easy for you.  How did this point in your life shape who you are today?

It’s interesting because I just taught a lesson to our students on grit where I outlined my life both personal and professional and the obstacles that I’ve faced so that they could see that with effort, you can overcome anything.

While I’ve always been very aware and obviously knew that there were many, it wasn’t until I outlined it for them that I realized how much all of the obstacles in my life have helped me become who I am today.

Since we don’t have 45mins. for the lesson, I’ll keep it short.

My mom left when I was 9. I pretty much had to raise myself. I worked to put myself through college…twice. Left a comfortable life to move across the country to follow my dream. And after struggling for 10 years to find any glimmer of hope in the profession that was supposed to be my calling, was able to not give up but rather come up with a solution to one of the biggest problems that we face today-our broken education system.

I started my own business (Indi-ED) and non-profit (The Indi-ED Foundation) that strives to keep what’s best for kids at the forefront so that they can become the best version of themselves with the support on all sides that I did not have.

Being able to act with integrity, empathy, honesty, and kindness coupled with the drive to do what’s right (even if it isn’t easy), I believe has led me to where I am today. Which not ironically, is the happiest and most fulfilled I’ve ever been.

 

  1. 19429726_949589378517074_8398122930299023908_n

    A silly moment with her students 

    What is one thing you would want others to know about why you persevered? What did you learn along the way?

I actually struggled to articulate why I persevered to my students but I think because of the amount of obstacles I’ve faced, it’s become almost natural.

I don’t settle.

I am always seeking to improve and so it’s always one foot in front of the other.

I’ve learned that my ability to balance realism with hopeful optimism has resulted in having a, “What’s next?” mentality and that means that nothing is off limits but that I know when to pivot.

Most importantly, what I’d want others to know is that I’m grateful for my life-challenges included.

Also that while Indi-ED is consistently improving, I can guarantee that we’re not done yet.

 

  1. What is one goal you have, either personal or business, for 2017?  What keeps you motivated to reach this goal?

I have many for both but I’ll share that my current business is to connect with inspired partners.

Changing the way we approach education is a hot button issue. People know it’s time.

I can prove how individualizing instruction, connecting to our kids’ interests and abilities, and helping them learn in the real world will help not only our students, their families, but also our community and our kids’ futures.

However, I’m not willing to align with people or businesses who compromise the integrity of what we stand for.

I am learning how supportive the St. Petersburg community is and will be spending this year (school & fiscal) seeking out those people and businesses who are ready to help improve the story of our city’s educational opportunities so that this type of education is accessible to all kids.

 

  1. What is your name and occupation?  Where can we find out more information about you? (Website, blog, social media)

Christine Laurenzi15232280_826491134160233_1078725885844488821_n

CEO & Founder of Indi-ED

Always a teacher at heart.

Check out our website: www.Indi-ED.com

Our Blog

Find us on Facebook

Or watch a TEDx talk that I gave that illustrates our philosophy.

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