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Lora Smothers, Director & Lead Mentor

Lora became director of the Freedom to Grow Unschool in May 2012. She was first drawn to FTGU as an intern while exploring alternative education as part of her graduate study at the University of Georgia.  The following year, rather than taking the next socially prescribed step towards an even fancier degree or lucrative career, she decided to unschool herself and came to FTGU as  a full-time teacher. She has loved living the unschool life ever since. Her master's degree is in educational psychology with a focus on gifted education, and she received a bachelor's degree in neuroscience from Emory University in Atlanta (where she also played basketball for four years). Lora has worked with children all over the country in a variety of roles--as a tutor, a nanny, a basketball coach, a debate coach, a summer camp counselor, a youth minister, and in gifted ed classrooms here in Clarke County.  She is passionate about respecting children as dynamic and thoughtful human beings and spends her days sharing "the big secret" with her students--that their ideas matter! :) Lora credits Teri Cole-Smith and the Freedom to Grow Unschool with opening her eyes to a better way of learning, one that allows children to be who they are and learn in their own way.

Teri Cole-Smith, Founder

Teri created the Freedom to Grow Unschool after teaching in various capacities in general, special, and environmental education for over twenty years. Her experiences unschooling her oldest son (who is now a successful UGA student) inspired her to afford other children the same opportunity to have more autonomy in their learning.  Teri's uncanny ability to inspire, and challenge any child, diagnosis or not, has made FTGU the dynamic learning environment that it is.