From September 2023
Karri Shojaei-Scott founded Marigold Learning Academy for several reasons—a community need and a passion for special education among them. Primarily, she was inspired by her son with learning differences. After working as a principal and teacher in Dallas, she opened Marigold, an accredited ABA learning center with an innovative approach where students with autism are emerged into a structured school program in mock classrooms for a variety of therapies.
Shojaei-Scott opened the first academy in Rockwall in 2012. Four other locations followed in areas where she felt children on the spectrum were underserved. The newest academy in east Dallas will open in October, and plans for Camp Marigold are underway. “We have created an inclusive setting where kids are set up to be successful,” she says. Each Marigold Learning Academy serves no more than 25 students ranging in age from 2 to pre-teens. The curriculum is designed for students to make a smooth transition into public or private school with their mainstream peers.
Marigold partners with local colleges and high schools to train and mentor teachers and interns so they can be part of this approach to learning. Shojaei-Scott’s passion for special education is as strong as it was two decades ago. “People tell me I’m special because of what I do; I believe it’s because I’m living my best life working with staff who share my passion,” she says.