KINGMAN - For Kathy Roddy, it all began with a local student exchange program.
For three years, Roddy, who was nominated by John Roddy in the Education category, opened her home to students from Ecuador, South Korea and Spain so they could learn about America. Kathy Roddy was happy with the program, but she was trained to deal with learning difficulties and more area families began seeking her out for assistance.
So Kathy Roddy began a home school co-op in 2009 to help students with a variety of learning disabilities - and it prospered. But when the economy tanked soon after and other parents were forced to send their home schooled children to public schools so they could return to work, she saw a need for a school that would allow home schooling, combined with support, tutoring, education and safety for children when their parents were working.
Her research led to the Arizona Virtual Academy, and Kathy Roddy wrote a proposal to open a school in 2010 at Manzanita Baptist Church. The school outgrew the facilities during its first year and in 2011, moved into its new location on Beverly Avenue. It now educates 170 students, has 80 laptop computers, 24 desktops and six full-time teachers, as well as a variety of school clubs. Kathy Roddy, who stepped down as administrator, is now a high school teacher at the school.