Life couldn’t get much better for Beverly Stewart. During the past year, the business and education consultant has been inducted into the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women and earned a 2010 Better Business Bureau of Delaware Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics.
Last month Stewart was honored with the Small Business Administration Entrepreneurial Success Award. Stewart, who launched Back to Basics Learning Dynamics more than 25 years ago, says business is better than she ever could have imagined.
“I never envisioned this,” she says. “Most people who write a business plan don’t write a 25-year business plan.”
Stewart knew she wanted to be a teacher when she was 5. While neither of her parents went to college, her father was an avid reader and her mother was a school secretary. “We were surrounded by books and reading,” she says. “I was the bane of existence for the neighborhood kids. I would play school after school. I had a chalkboard and would try to teach the other kids.”
After six years in the classroom, Stewart wanted to educate one on one, so she started Back to Basics, which now boasts more than 90 employees, handles multiple school district and government accounts, and also tutors adults. Stewart started a private school that helps students with their self-esteem and learning skills.
“Kids thrive with this kind of care,” she says. “They walk in hunched over and, when they graduate, you literally see them standing up straight. It’s like the metamorphosis of a butterfly.” —D.O.