One of the ways that Horizon earns its five-star Step Up to Quality rating is through the highly educated teachers we have. Many of these teachers have ambitions to continue their education so they can learn even more to help children develop their social, emotional, critical thinking, and physical skills.

At Horizon, we want to help support our teachers on this path of continued education. That’s why we offer them financial assistance in the form of upfront tuition coverage or course reimbursement for any degree up through the graduate level.

We’d like you to meet Cara King, a South Elyria teacher who recently earned her master’s degree with the financial support of Horizon. Here’s her story, in her own words.

Hear From One Teacher Who Just Earned Her Master’s Degree

My name is Cara King, and I celebrated 10 years at Horizon Education Centers in December 2022. 

One of the benefits of working for Horizon is the tuition plan to cover education costs — an opportunity that I found out about during one of our employer-sponsored professional development days. With a representative from Grand Canyon University on-site to share information, Horizon announced they would either pay for the cost of tuition with an agreement to continue working for the center for a certain amount of time after degree completion or reimburse students after course completion, should they choose to pay themselves. When I heard this coverage went up to the master’s degree level, I started to think things over.

In November, I was contacted by the GCU representative and narrowed down my program choice. I met with Cathy Heck, Horizon’s Chief Operating Officer, who sent me a contract form. From there, I emailed the representative and he handled the registration process. All I had to do was sign one form and, the next thing I knew, it was January and classes had started.

Over the next 18 months, I studied intensely and was able to practice the skills I was learning in my own classroom. I completed field experience by visiting other Horizon Education Centers and spent time working on related projects for my own center. It was a pleasure to visit the other Horizon centers and learn about their operations. Everyone I met opened their doors and classrooms with kindness and respect. The individuals that I met were knowledgeable, passionate, and enthusiastic about helping me along my journey. I received valuable feedback, which helped me further grow professionally. 

I just completed my master's degree. I remember being so nervous, and all the times I felt like I couldn’t make it to the finish line. I had so much encouragement and support from my fellow educators, which helped me every step of the way. Horizon was generous enough to financially support my master’s degree, and I have a guaranteed job for the next few years. What’s also exciting is that Horizon is helping me grow and strengthen my skills as a leader. My education services coordinator has ideas for how I can use my new skills in the organization and is helping me to open a door that I didn’t even know existed!

At the end of the day, I earned a master’s degree for myself; but it was also for my students too. I am from the South Elyria Center, where we “Do it For a Purpose!” I think my students deserve the best teacher, and by gaining these new skills and talents, I can better serve my students and their families. I am grateful for the continued opportunities to apply my skills and remain with my group.   

The financial support for continued education is not just for those of us who have been with Horizon for a long time. It is open to all employees. Something that I think is wonderful and unique about our organization is that education begins at birth and doesn’t stop. They hold to the philosophy that we are lifelong learners. I am proud to be a part of the Horizon family and am thankful that I was given this opportunity.

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