As the grey cloud of the COVID-19 pandemic descended during the spring of 2020, Ferrum College alumna Aundrea Burton Smiley ’07 found a silver lining.
In March 2020, Smiley began offering virtual tutoring to elementary school students in response to schools’ shutdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. When it became clear that schools would remain closed, Smiley added consulting services for parents who were trying to navigate the new virtual learning climate. Then she gave her business a name: Valor and Grace Literacy Cove.
Now, Smiley works with seven students two to three times a week. She focuses on reading and math, along with language arts.
“In addition to learning sessions, I communicate weekly with the parents and teacher of the students I work with to ensure we are all on the same page when it comes to the student’s academic success,” explained Smiley. “I also serve as an advocate for parents and students when they need it.”
Smiley has recently been able to start meeting students for one-on-one sessions. She has seen so much success in her work that she is planning to open a brick and mortar facility for her education consulting business in March of 2021.
“The service will remain the same but will also include facility use for kids in grades K-8 to come in and have access to WiFi, as well as games, crafts, and other special programming,” said Smiley. “We are also expanding our team to provide more virtual learning opportunities.”
In addition to Valor and Grace Literacy Cove, Smiley is a doctoral candidate at Liberty University and is preparing to defend her proposal at the end of February. She is a writer at Yoshika Green Consulting, LLC and an executive brand partner for Young Living Essential Oils. On February 23, 2021 at 7 p.m., she will serve as a panelist for Ferrum College’s “Support for Parents of School-Age Children” virtual town hall meeting. (Find more information about the town hall meeting here.)
Smiley lives in Clarksville, VA with her husband Matt, their three-year-old son, and two dogs.