• Tarryn Anderson
      Founder + Facilitator

      Tarryn Anderson

      Founder + Facilitator
      “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein
      • Things I want to learn:
        Horse-back riding, Spanish & French, Sewing, Horticulture
      • Things I want to Master:
        Retaining information, Self-healing, Time-management

    A passion for fashion and graphic design led me into founding a local women’s fashion publication. I served as Creative Director for several years and then launched the publication nationally. After seven years of putting my career first, I decided to focus on my family. At that point I realized that I was very unhappy with traditional education and decided to homeschool my then eight year old. We started out with a curriculum, but after continued research I realized that I was only recreating school at home.

    This took us on a journey of deschooling, to interest based learning, and now self-directed learning. I was a self-directed learner as well. After all, anything and everything I was ever passionate about, or motivated by, I taught myself how to do. It became clear to me that this was the best way for my children to learn. Now, I have two wonderful boys and they are both self-directed learners.

    During this journey, we have met so many others with the same values – living this same lifestyle. But I started to crave not only creating a place where we could learn, explore, and find joy together on a regular basis, but also create a village-like environment to make this type of learning more accessible. Here we are!

    So at 18, we are taught that we should know what we want to do with the rest of our lives, right? Well I didn’t, but the natural direction would be to follow the footsteps of others and go to college. I attended the University of Cincinnati and then the University of Houston.

    During my 2nd year in college, my father passed away which allowed me some time to reflect and take some time off. I then took several courses at Houston Community College in fashion design. This tapped into my creative side and helped me to remember my passion for graphic design. I decided to pursue my Associates of Arts at The Art Institute of Houston.

    Music concerts, date nights with my husband, extended family get togethers, lazy Sundays, picnics at the park, reading aloud to my kids, chardonnay and patio conversation, authentic friendships, personal leadership books and videos, juicing, and when I get the time, yoga.

    • Carisa Socco
      Co-Founder + Facilitator

      Carisa Socco

      Co-Founder + Facilitator
      “We live on this speck called Earth – think about what you might do, today or tomorrow – and make the most of it.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson
      • Things I want to learn:
        How to sew, knit, and crochet, play the banjo, grow my own food
      • Things I want to Master:
        Gourmet cooking, Spanish, A DSLR camera

    I am a native Houstonian and have had several meaningful positions throughout my career including working in various corporate environments from oil and gas to healthcare, working as a technician in a veterinary clinic, and a development associate at an art museum. I realized that what really called to me was being of service to people and so I began working at a learning center for children on the autism spectrum with a goal of graduate school in Occupational Therapy. After working as an ABA therapist at the center and moving into the role of Director, I took leave to have my daughter. Two years later I had my son. Having two amazing kids changed my world. I decided to put my career plans on hold and focus on the important work of raising tiny humans.
    I attended public school growing up and didn’t know much about other learning styles or communities. I began researching self-directed education after the birth of my daughter and the more I learned, the more I felt drawn to the approach and what a natural fit it was for our lives.

    Fast forward a few years and I am thrilled to be on this new adventure. I am ever grateful for the relationships I’ve made and the many wonderful, encouraging, and generous people who have connected with us along our journey. There are so many amazing people that inspire and move us and we are beyond excited to be a part of this community!

    I completed a B.A. in English from the University of Houston and continued with post-baccalaureate studies while investigating graduate programs. I was a non-traditional college student and admired the hard work and dedication of my peers that balanced busy lives to achieve their goals.

    I love literature, poetry, and listening to live music. I enjoy stand-up comedy and good movies. I love mountain air and listening to the wind shake a tree. Social, environmental, and human rights causes fill my heart. More than anything, I love seeing my children grow and spread their wings.


    Aly Eaton

    Aly completed her Bachelor of Arts degree from Fairfield University and her Master in Education from the University of Virginia. Her time as an AmeriCorps inner city teacher, along with travels around the globe, ignited a passion for people and finding common ground. She carried this enthusiasm to a boutique wealth management firm and “leaned in” on an ascent up the ladder of a male dominated industry. After more than a decade of corporate success, she threw her energy into helping friends in the not-for-profit sector tackle challenges through a multi-industry lens.

    Living in Houston’s Heights neighborhood for more than a decade, she has watched social enterprise at its finest sprout up all around her and walked alongside friends and strangers as they’ve turned their dreams into reality. As a strategy and development professional with a heart for educational equality, she’s delighted to join the leaders of Thought Quotient as an Advisor to create a welcoming place for every child to learn and grow. Besides her work in education, Aly’s latest passion project involves missional entrepreneurship and ending human trafficking. (All in a day’s work!) You can currently find her in that (non-profit) coffee shop, dreaming with its founder, every chance she gets.

    The mom to three fabulous daughters, Aly and her husband love this wondrously messy, grace-filled journey.

    Sharon Washington

    Dr. Sharon Washington is a cultural anthropologist and performs research and program development in education, race, poverty, and the media. Sharon has worked in South Africa, Mexico, and Cuba. In the United States, she has lectured at New School University and University of Houston; and taught students in grades 6-12. She has worked as a journalist with her writings appearing in the Dallas Times Herald, the Akron Beacon Journal, and New York Newsday.

    Dr. Washington earned her master’s degree and PhD in anthropology from The New School for Social Research in New York City; and her undergraduate degree from Columbia University in New York City. Dr. Washington expanded her program work in the launch of the research firm, TWO (The Washington Organization). After many years of designing programs, she began to understand that we don’t change the world through programs. Transformation occurs through actionable and applied research. More than $46 billion is spent worldwide each year by social impact industries on social inclusion related products and projects designed to disrupt poverty, injustice, inequality, and/or premature mortality rates. The missing link to solving these problems is meaningful applied research.

    Tory Gattis

    As a founder of Coached Schooling, Tory is working to create a high-tech network of affordable private schools (<$10/day) combining the best elements of eLearning, home and traditional schooling to reinvent the one-room schoolhouse for the 21st century. Tory is passionate about education reform, improving cities, and innovative new approaches to organization, including winning the Gary Hamel Management Innovation Prize for his Bossless Organization concept and founding OpenTeams, a web-based collaborative software company that emphasized openness and transparency inside large organizations.

    He is a native Houstonian, 6th-generation Texan, Rice University graduate with a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MBA, former consultant with the prestigious global consulting firm McKinsey, and speaker at TEDx Houston. In his spare time, he writes his long-running Houston Strategies and Opportunity Urbanist blogs for the Houston Chronicle, and writes and speaks as a Founding Senior Fellow with the Center for Opportunity Urbanism.

    Tory Gattis

    I graduated in 1994 from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geophysics and then again in 1997 with a Master of Science degree in Geophysics from Boston College. My research dealt with measuring ambient earth noise using seismometers to determine earthquake risk in populated areas surrounding Boston. In the years since then I have worked mostly as a geophysicist for major and independent oil and gas producers as well as 1.5 years as an engineering product manager for a mathematical software company.

    However, corporate America is not always kind to working mothers and we often must choose between family and the path we have worked so hard to forge. When my first child began complaining nightly about his expensive Montessori school in first grade I wondered why a child could possibly have problems with school at such a young age. If this particular school gave him issues, what would public school do to him? I started to pay attention to how children were treated, the options they were given, and assumptions that were being made in education of all styles. Over two years I read avidly and questioned everything I had ever held as truth. I finally decided that the best education is one chosen by the child — the one where there are no obstacles, no “musts” and no path written in stone. I took the plunge and started homeschooling him in fourth grade. Simultaneously my third child was born and my middle child was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Needless to say, we did plenty of de-schooling then. I had no time or energy to figure out a curriculum and lots of healing had to take place in the beginning. My middle child left her school the next year (2012), and we have been happily educating ourselves ever since.

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