Gideon fostering community support through 25 years of education


Samantha Freeman

Owner of family-operated Gideon Math and Reading Center Wendy Coppedge records and files student booklets with daughter Stephanie and son Boston at family-operated Gideon Math and Reading Center on Oct. 26. Wendy became involved in the supplemental reading program after she enrolled her children in a program when they were younger.

Akansha Singh, Staff Writer

In the conversations between children and tutors, Wendy Coppedge guides a parent in a bright, flowing skirt with a smile. 

Coppedge is the founder and owner of Gideon Math and Reading, a supplementary education center. With 27 locations across six states, Gideon has grown extensively since its inception in 1994 in the very brick complex in Coppell where Coppedge works. 

“It’s taken a long time [to develop our curriculum], but it’s extremely rewarding, and I don’t regret ever getting involved in supplemental education,” Coppedge said. “Students often need more than what they get in the classroom.”

What began as a small family service has now grown into a franchise. Coppedge was working at Kumon, another supplementary education franchise, prior to creating Gideon, but felt the need for additional aspects in the curriculum and left 16 years ago to start a family organization. The program grew over the years, and now Coppedge’s children work with her as well.

“It’s rewarding to know so many people want to be a part of something my family built,” Coppedge said. “We’re very happy with how we’ve grown.”

A student can begin at Gideon with a free placement exam, testing their mastery of math and reading skills; this includes how accurately and efficiently they can work through problems. The exam reveals the math and reading skills that students have either mastered or need extra practice on, and then students come to Gideon weekly to practice their skills.

“The key to success in a program like this is daily work, much like piano practice,” Coppedge said. 

Coppedge credits Gideon’s success to two unique key elements: timing of math problems and the support system of teachers and employees.

Gideon employs Coppell High School students to help tutor and teach students, some of whom were previous Gideon students. These employees work closely with the students, sitting at a table of multiple students and checking their work. 

“I definitely see growth [in the kids’ abilities],” CHS senior and Gideon teacher Bikal Sharma said. “They’re there for enrichment and remedial training, and it greatly helps to talk over [the material] with someone who isn’t a school teacher.”

One of the defining features of Gideon’s program is the close interaction between high school employees and Gideon students. One worker sits with a maximum of two young students or four older students, monitoring their work and aiding them with their problems.

“I really like the way their workbooks are laid out,” Sharma said. “Everything is very self-directed and provides a good understanding of concepts.”

CHS senior Ronak Indurti, who attended Gideon from fifth through eighth grade, credits the curriculum for bolstering his math skills. It prepared him to test out of a grade level of math and begin taking courses one year early.

“Going through the problems with teachers was really helpful,” Indurti said. 

Coppedge’s attitude, combined with the culture of the Gideon classrooms, makes for a nurturing and supportive environment that students and employees alike find appealing. 

“In sixth grade, I got really sick and had to be in the hospital,” Indurti said. “The day I got back, Mrs. Coppedge made a really big deal. I remember how nice [she] was and how motivated [the employees] made me feel.”

When children complete their learning at Gideon, many of them come back to volunteer or work with the next batch of students, creating a cycle of giving back to the community.

“I never really thought about doing this. I got my kids involved [with supplementary education], and I saw the difference it made,” Coppedge said. “When you can make a difference in a child’s life, it is definitely worth pursuing.”

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