Even with a Gardiner Scholarship in hand, Karen Vega grew increasingly worried as she was unable to find a school for her three young boys who have high functioning autism in Ocala, Fla., a small city in North Central Florida.
Although she looked, no school provided a good fit. One even refused to enroll students with the state scholarship for students with special needs. (Step Up For Students, the publisher of this blog, helps administer that scholarship.)
“We were trying to find a school that did not exist,” said Vega.
But when she couldn’t find the right school, Vega teamed up with another mom, AnnMarie Sossong, to create one.
Vega serves as the executive director of the Outreach Autism Services Network, a nonprofit providing support services to parents and students with autism. She had long dreamed of starting a school. Sossong, a 27-year education veteran and mom of an autistic child herself, shared the same dream.
The two moms’ vision for a school aligned, and in August 2016, they founded Ocala Preparatory Academy.