A Beloved Founding Faculty Member, Ann Hayden | The Master's Academy

A Beloved Founding Faculty Member, Ann Hayden

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In light of Ann’s passion for helping students with learning differences succeed, the Hayden family has requested donations for the Ann Hayden G.O.L.D. Scholarship Fund. This annual scholarship is given to a student who has persevered through their learning struggles and is graduating from The Master’s Academy. Donations may be mailed to The Master’s Academy, 1500 Lukas Lane, Oviedo, FL 32765, ATTN: Ann Hayden Scholarship.

Many of you knew and loved Ann Hayden, the founder of TMA's G.O.L.D. program and a beloved founding faculty member of the school. We were saddened by her passing earlier in the week. Her funeral service will be held on Friday morning, November 16th, at 10 a.m. There will also be a time for visitation on Thursday night, November 15th, from 5 - 8 p.m. 

Woodlawn Memorial Park
400 Cemetery Road
Gotha, FL

From East Orlando
408 WEST to Good Homes Road exit (Look for the 200' cross!) 
LEFT onto Good Homes Road (going south) 
RIGHT onto Old Winter Garden Road 
LEFT onto Cemetery Road Woodlawn is on the Right.

For those who wanted to send a message to the family of our beloved Ann Hayden, here's a link for you to do so: http://www.legacy.com/guestbook/DignityMemorial/guestbook.aspx?n=annie-hayden&pid=161044163

I had the pleasure of interviewing Ann Hayden in 2009 for a feature on the school website. I would like to share that interview with you in memory of Ann.

Ann was born in the small town of Malone, FL and at age 12 moved to Apopka where she graduated from Apopka High School. Her favorite childhood memory was working alongside her mom hoeing on the farm – joyfully singing hymns together as they worked. Ann always loved to play teacher and help people with their homework. Even at the early age of four, she would line up corn cobs and “teach” them. Ann’s dad, who grew up working on the family farm, never learned to read. She watched how her dad’s inability to read affected his life, and in turn reading became a passion for Ann.

Ann met her husband, Tom, at the Orlando Coliseum, a beautiful downtown skating rink. After ten years of marriage, they adopted a son, Bill, and a daughter Patty. Ironically, their son couldn’t read. In 5th grade he was diagnosed as dyslexic and his public school principal told Ann her son would never be able to read and wouldn’t amount to anything. Ann jumped in and started helping her son learn in different ways. For instance, when Ann saw that Bill would be learning about the Boston Tea Party, she took the kids camping in Boston where they went to museums, ate lunch on the Boston Commons, toured the Tea Party ship, etc. Incidentally, her son now designs and manufactures programs as an engineer for Boeing, with Top Secret clearance at the Pentagon! Her daughter Patty is an elementary school teacher in Georgia. 

Ann herself didn’t go to college until she was in her late 40’s. She was teaching preschool students and couldn’t understand some of the Spanish words a child was using, so she signed up for Spanish classes at Valencia Community College. A college guidance counselor encouraged her to sign up for more classes, but Ann thought there would be no way to afford a higher education. This nice counselor had Ann sign some paperwork and off Ann went – taking special education and psychology classes, soaking in all the information she could on how to teach children to read. She graduated from UCF with a degree in Psychology, paying only for her books. To this day, she is not quite sure exactly who or what paid for all those years of college!

One day Ann received a call from Miami to study at the National Institute for Learning Disabilities. Ann took her two children in a pop up trailer with $50 in her pocket to a KOA campground and went to learn the N.I.L.D. program. Ann came back to Central Florida and implemented the program. In 1986, when TMA opened our doors, Ann began all our programs for students with learning disabilities, overseeing our N.I.L.D. therapists and testing all new students who seek to attend TMA.

A number of years ago, Ann helped TMA implement the McKay Scholarship Program to help students with learning disabilities. Ann also started CAFT (Central Association of Florida Therapists) so therapists could have a state-wide support group. Her model has been copied all across the country.

Ann says, “I have the heart of a mother and feel the pain of parents who have children that struggle. With a father who couldn’t read and a son with dyslexia, I have great sensitivity.”