Elite Educational Institute is very pleased to announce the upcoming opening of our newest branch in Plano, Texas! We spoke with Elite of Plano's Branch Director, Dr. Julea Douglass, to learn a little about her background and her plans for Elite's first branch in the Lone Star State.
Elite USA: Hello, Dr. Douglass! Tell us a little about yourself...
Julea Douglass: I am pleased to join the Elite staff. I've always had a passion for high school students and helping them reach their goals and unique potential. I've worked with students and teachers for nearly 20 years as an educator, mentor, and curriculum designer. I co-wrote School-Connect: Optimizing the High School Experience, a 40-lesson life skills curriculum that is used in high schools across the country and Canada. Elite's curriculum and education philosophy very much aligns with what I think students need to succeed in high school and college.
Elite USA: At last year's Elite Vision Expo you led the Psychology career panel, speaking with hundreds of students about your experience in that vocation, and your husband, Brooks Douglass, delivered the Vision Expo's keynote address, so you're both quite familiar with Elite. How did you get involved with Elite, and what attracted you to the idea of heading up your own branch office?
JD: Our family has known Elite Educational Institute's founder, JP Park, for many years. He is a noble man with an unwavering commitment to quality education. Mr. Park was visiting us in the Dallas area and recognized the need for Elite branches in Texas. I was grateful he suggested that I get involved. My background with School-Connect has helped prepare me to create a learning environment in which teachers and students can thrive. We are building the Elite of Plano office to be a home-away-from-home where students can come after school, on weekends, and during the summer to develop important skills they need for success in school and for the SAT/ACT. I have met many Elite students who were accepted to their "dream college" and said they couldn't have done it without Elite. I am looking forward to bringing that same opportunity to Dallas-area students.
Elite USA: You received your M.Ed from Harvard and a Ph.D in Education from the Curry School of Education at UVA. How do you feel your educational background will affect your overseeing Elite of Plano?
JD: When I was 17 years old and a senior in high school, I attended a two-weekend seminar called Youth-in-Transition that changed my life. The seminar was all about defining our goals, recognizing our strengths, overcoming weaknesses, getting to know our classmates better, and making the most of lives. I was so inspired by the seminar that I committed my life to developing life skills curriculum that would equally inspire other high school students. Most of my masters and doctorate work was about developing curriculum that takes the knowledge of psychology and applies it to fun, interactive and informational lessons that are used in general classrooms. School-Connect is basically an owner's manual for life that prepares students for important decision-making, study habits, social-emotional awareness, and leadership. I hope to integrate some of those same skill sets and teaching techniques into the Elite of Plano branch.
Elite USA: What are some of the challenges facing students in your area, and how do you feel Plano students will benefit from Elite's classes and programs?
JD: I think all students - nationwide and Internationally - are challenged by the intense competition to get into college. The odds of getting into your school of choice have changed significantly since I was applying to college. What I like and respect about Elite is that it is not just "teaching to the test" but it is about developing real, life-long study skills and abilities. Elite students learn and practice proven strategies for improving reading comprehension and math abilities. Elite education is not a shortcut, but a staircase. Students have to take one deliberate step at a time, but once they do, they will be in a much better place - academically and personally.
Elite USA: I understand the plan is to have the Elite of Plano in early 2014. Do you have a specific date in mind?
JD: We plan to finish construction in December and be open for classes in January.
Elite USA: What's the most important piece of advice you have for students?
JD: Best effort and proper planning. You may be good at one or the other but you will not achieve your education goals without a steady dose of both.
For more information about our upcoming opening and program availability, visit eliteprep.com/plano.