For Dr. Kendyl Tarver, the academic path was a winding road with twists and turns that revealed her life’s true calling. Though it wasn’t the original plan, she and her husband are now kickstarting the educational journey for young children as the owners of Kreative Learning Academy.
When Tarver entered college, she set out to become a physician. But the course load turned out to be more than she imagined, so she pivoted and shifted her focus to becoming an educator.
With a new vision, Tarver began to accumulate a wealth of knowledge. She earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in early childhood and elementary education, and an education specialist degree and doctorate degree in curriculum and teaching.
She also built her resume working as a school bus driver, teaching elementary school, coaching cheer, running for the school board, and serving as the director of the early childhood care and education program at a technical college.
But the more time she spent in the school system, she realized there wasn’t always the capacity to give children the time and attention they needed.
“I wanted to help parents, but there are some things that you cannot say or do in the school system,” Tarver explained. “I wanted to be sincere, I wanted to be transparent, and I wanted to let them know of resources that could help them get their child the assistance they need.”
And that sparked the idea for Kreative Learning Academy, a daycare focused on early childhood education. But when Tarver and her husband embarked on the small business journey, they encountered some bumps in the road.
Getting a business loan proved to be a challenge. They first went to a local bank but were told that the loan amount was too low to receive financing. They were then referred to CRF.
In working with CRF, Tarver and her husband received an SBA 7a loan in July 2021 for financing the building acquisition, building improvements, and working capital.
“We were relieved,” Tarver said of receiving a loan with CRF. “I took a faith walk and actually left my job at the technical college.”
Equipped with the capital they needed, Tarver and her husband officially opened Kreative Learning Academy for business in October 2021. They currently have five employees, and all their classrooms are filled.
Tarver believes it’s her track record and experience that allow parents to feel comfortable sending their children to Kreative Learning Academy. It is much more than a daycare for the tight-knit, family-oriented community in Phenix City, AL. It’s a place where children can feel safe and build a foundation for academic success.
In reflecting on lessons learned along the small business journey, Tarver shared her wisdom with others who have similar aspirations.
“It’s important to be patient and to know that you might not get what you need immediately,” Tarver said. “And partnership is important as well. Because without the support of my husband, I don’t think I would have been able to do this.”