Angels Christian Academy

Retired and longtime educators offer children a nurturing learning environment

Founders Beatrice Kathy Long-Richardson, left, and Regina Hill-Hutchinson in front of Angels Christian Academy, which they opened in 2010 to be a blessing by providing care for children in the community.

SARAH KIEWEL/Special to the Guardian
Published: Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 2:47 p.m.

Regina Hill-Hutchinson and Pastor Beatrice Kathy Long-Richardson are going on two years as business partners after being sisters in Christ for nearly 20 years.

They are the owners of Angels Christian Academy at 1907 SE Hawthorne Road, a day care center that serves children from birth to 12 years of age. Both women have more than 20 years of experience in education.

Long-Richardson, pastor of Greater Love and Faith Ministries Inc. in Gainesville, retired as a dean from Lincoln Middle School in March 2010 after 35 years as an educator, and Hill-Hutchinson resigned from Alachua County Public Schools in 2010 after 20 years of service working in several positions, including school liaison and Head Start teacher.

"We prayed about it and made the decision to start this business," Long-Richardson said. "Our intention was for this academy to be a blessing to the community, parents, kids and ourselves."

Hill-Hutchinson handles the daily operation of the academy, which is open from 5:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday.

"We have created a loving, nurturing, Christian and caring environment here," she said. "There is an open-door policy for parents to come in any time they want to."

Hill-Hutchinson also said the staff members at the academy do their best to get to know all of the parents on a personal level.

She also said the academy uses the High Reach Learning curriculum, which focuses on teaching children by using hands-on activities, and the A Beka curriculum, which is Christian-based. The academy has an after-school program and transportation is provided at an additional cost.

Both women said they like where the academy is located and they have been well received by the community in the short time they have been open that they had to expand from one to two suites in the plaza, which is located across the street from the Alachua County school bus depot on SE Hawthorne Road.

"This academy serves the community, and we both grew up in this neighborhood," Long-Richardson said. "I know a lot of the parents and grandparents of our students. We have established a relationship with them and they know we are trustworthy and they trust us with their children."

The academy has nearly 60 students enrolled now, with room for more. Long-Richardson said Hill-Hutchinson is great about helping parents get the information they need to get vouchers from the Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County. She also is good about letting parents know about the resources available to them.

Hill-Hutchinson said one of the goals of the academy is to find sponsors for children placed in the care of the Department of Children and Families, which, in turn, provides vouchers for the children through the Learning Coalition. She said when a child's case is closed with DCF, the voucher from the coalition is no longer valid.

"We would like people to provide scholarships to allow the children to keep coming here so they can continue to learn and grow educationally and spiritually," Hill-Hutchinson said.

For more information, call 352-374-8521.

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