Stephanie Musser, June 24, 2013
Dear Readers, This site encourages principals to respond to reviews because "parents want to hear the inside scoop about your school from an official source." Normally, I don't read or pay attention to these sites, because the perspectives of a loud few can be limited and based on misinformation. I feel the only way to address this problem is to invite you to visit with me at the school. These postings are not a reliable resource for making the important decisions regarding your child's education. It matters to me that you know the truth. We are a state-approved K-8 school with ample space for our middle school grades on campus. We have chosen recently to purchase our building and the acreage next to us. We are under contract for both. Our new site plan adds 29,000 square feet to what we consider our "dream campus." These decisions take years to accomplish, critical negotiations, and multiple turns to finalize and execute. We work those through internally with management and governance. When decisions are set, we communicate to parents appropriately. Our middle school came about solely as a result of the high demand from our entire parent community. Our middle school rivals the rigor and challenge of competing preparatory schools, but includes our unrelenting attention to the whole child and the positive learning experience. We do, indeed, have specials and electives in middle school - Art, Music, PE, Drama/Performing arts, Winds Ensemble, and Choir. Our leadership team is top in the game - with a combined 50 years of experience in ELEMENTARY EDUCATION and advanced degrees (two of the three have doctorate degrees in Leadership and Innovation). Our team is stable, deliberate, and responsive. You see many comments on how teachers are great and leadership is poor. The success of a building can only be as good as its leadership good teachers require good leaders to be most effective. Also, we do not have high or even inappropriate turnover rates of teachers and staff. This is simply untrue. In the end, I care about your choice for education. I care that you know the truth. I care about your child's experience. We, as a school, are passionate about what we do - and we work tirelessly to do it well. Come see for yourself. Ask the questions you wish. Get the answers you need from an official source. You will see the difference. Thank you for listening. Yours truly in education, Dr. Stephanie Musser
Our daughter just moved to the Candeo system and we could not be happier. Her teacher has made her feel welcome and as though she had been there all year. We are also very impressed with the curriculum and the overall program. We are also excited to see the new facilities next year.
I am very disappointed! I was on the waiting list for years for this!!! The school is dirty, the playground is unsafe, the curriculum is lacking. The kids don't even face the board! They have beehive shaped desks and with crowded classrooms the kids don't face forward. I can see having these types of desks in kindergarten, but 2nd grade! There is an overwhelming sense that the Administration just does not care or lacks the experience needed to run a school. My one experience with the principal was horrible. She is very unprofessional and rude. I really wish I had done more research.
I am astonished at the things my children are learning and their excitement to do so. Candeo truly delivers a private school level of education for free. The teachers are amazing and I appreciate the environment that the school fosters. This couldn't be achieved without exceptional administration. They aren't going to make everyone happy and I'm ok with that. I would much rather have someone with a clear and unwavering vision than someone who is constantly trying to appease others. I love this school, my kids love this school. Well done Candeo!
Candeo School has been an answer to our prayers! We have attended Candeo for 4 years now. I have three boys who attend and as a result have had the pleasure of knowing and working with many wonderful teachers and staff. Our boys are thriving and excelling in ways I didn't know they could. I can't say enough about this school, its teachers and staff, the parent community and the superior education provided here. I have one son who struggles with a learning disability. As parents, it is heartbreaking to watch your child struggle and not know how to best help them. Under the care of many incredible teachers providing him, and us with learning tools tailored to his specific needs, our son is excelling!! Thank you Candeo for being absolutely hands down, the best school there is!!
We feel like our kids are getting a private education for free. Yes we pay for books, but our kids are worth it. Candeo makes learning fun. My kids are very happy and I am continually amazed at the excellent education they are getting. We have been at Candeo since the begining and our very proud that our kids go to one of the best schools in the area. Instead of reading disgrunteled comments on this anonymous site, just ask a Candeo family if they like their school. I'm confident the answer will be yes! I give Dr. Musser 5 stars because her vison of this school is now a reality and she hires the best teachers.
While I do agree wholeheartedly with the reviews which state that Angela (front desk) is rude and unaccommodating, she is very efficient in her role and is not the one teaching my children. I also have to agree with many points stated regarding Dr. Musser on her arrogance and "it's my way or the highway" approach. However, she has a talent in hiring amazing teachers and obviously has wonderful leadership skills because this school delivers on many levels which comes from the top down. Some of the complaints on backpacks, food, etc. on this site are petty, in my opinion. The celebrations that the school puts on are over-the-top amazing and actually mean something to the children. There are many teachers who have been here from the inception. They've had growing pains and sometimes it's just not the right fit for every teacher. Every single teacher I have ever encountered at Candeo (we have 3 children at the school and have been here for 5 years) has gone above and beyond. Dr. Hudak is simply amazing in her caring, knowledge and communication. My experience is that the caring, respect, leadership, communication, accommodations and, of course, curriculum are all unparalleled.
While the curriculum is accelerated and challenging due to this school's size there are trade offs that students miss out on. Education is a focus as it should be but the offerings that build a more rounded child such as physical activities, the arts, sports, etc are quite minimal and are not nearly offered at the level of other public schools. Hopefully this changes over time with the expansion of the school.
Candeo balances a nurturing environment with academic rigor. The rankings show they are 16th in AZ including all district, charter, and high schools. The teachers are passionate and child-centered. They are not top-heavy administratively, which is an advantage to creating quick progress and being a cutting edge institution, but possibly a disadvantage because things can slip through the cracks and maybe this is why some parents are angry. However, I personally don't care if the secretary in the front doesn't have 10 minutes to gab with me because I know that the kids are the top priority and Candeo receives less funding per child than public schools so everyone needs to be efficient. The administration is child-centered, brilliant, and thoughtful but they are not "yes" women who are politically driven. Rather, they are busy spending time in the classrooms and balancing the needs of each child with the environment. I am sorry to hear that some parents do not treasure the environment at Candeo. My child can learn breadth and depth in a mindful, rigorous cirriculum without being "worksheeted" to death and while having a great time loving learning.
Here's the deal: *Dr. Musser can come across intimidating & close minded. *Angela (front desk) makes people feel incompetent & is generally rude. *I don't see how logos on polo shirts help the learning environment, nor do I like being told where to buy them. *I don't see the advantage of plain colored backpacks (all look the same & so kids have come home with someone else's) So why the 5 stars? *Dr. Musser (& all of administration) KNOW each child by name, if they don't, they will. Even if they won't change their minds on certain things, they have welcomed my opinion. *Angela just needs some coaching on people skills. *I love uniforms and appreciate the compromise made by administration to allow bottoms to purchased where we choose (crossing fingers for backpacks:) There is good an bad in everything. This is our 6th year here. Our 3 unique children learn in different ways & we have had wonderful experiences with each teacher. Kids come home excited about what they are learning and that is a direct reflection of how they are being taught. When it comes down to it, my children are in a great learning environment where we know they are safe & cared for. That's what matters most.
Each of us parents choose to send our children to Candeo and continue to make that choice every day. They are academically rigorous and although my children are far from the top of their class, I appreciate the children being challenged and pushed academically. As a parent of a special needs child and a child without special needs, I can tell you without a doubt that this administration goes above and beyond to accommodate every student and their unique needs. I have personally seen Angela multitask better than a circus ringmaster. She knows the children by name, who needs medicine to ward off a migraine, who needs a hug and who needs to call home so a parent can come take over. I have had the privilege/necessity of one on one meetings with most of the administration and find them very accommodating and willing to learn new skills/information to accommodate every child. They have even gone as far as to hire outside training for their staff to meet the needs of a single child. I feel it is blessing that my children have the privilege of attending this school and plan on sending my additional child to Candeo. I will continue to recommend this school, staff and faculty to friends.
Candeo has some very good teachers and the Core Knowledge curriculum is great. In our experience, however, there has been a lack of communication and honesty on the part of the administration. Parents are kept in the dark about school plans and events until the last minute. Things that are promised never materialize. Grading turnaround is slow and lack of communication from teachers hurts student performance. Biases and favoritism cause inequalities in how students are disciplined and rewarded. The admin dismisses concerns raised by parents and parents are told they or their children are the problem. The admin claims there is no bullying among the students, but my children s playground experiences tell a different story. We ve even seen some admin and staff hold grudges against parents. All that said, many of the teachers genuinely care about the students. That makes it hard to write an honest, negative review.
I am the parent of a middle school student who has been at Candeo since year two. Anyone who knows anything about business (and yes, a school is a business), knows that an organization cannot SUSTAIN success without great leadership. This is a fact. I am appalled at those who anonymously hide behind social media and criticize Dr. Musser. She is a person who always demonstrates kindness, compassion, and concern for my child. Since we began our educational journey here, Candeo has held true to its mission. My child is a happy, polite, engaged learner who enjoys coming to school every day. I know this because he comes home and talks about what learns every day. When Dr. Musser first presented the direction for the middle school, we implored her to add elective courses and learning breaks during the day for OUR children. She listened to us rather than succumbing to what other competitive charter schools do. She is not a person who doesn't listen to her parent community. She is a person who considers viewpoints that are offered and makes decisions based on what is the best for the organization, not for one person with a personal agenda. Thank you, Candeo and Dr. Musser!
I am a parent of 3 children who attend Candeo, and I am quite shocked at the criticism of Stephanie Musser. I have observed many specific instances of her care and concern for each student. She knows my children by name, and they look forward to each interaction with her. She does have a singular vision for this school. I can't imagine working to fulfill her goals, while pleasing hundreds of parents. It is an impossible task It is evident how passionate and engaged she is in the success of Candeo. She is responsible for the amazing staff that most agree is top notch. She is responsible for the uplifting, and engaging learning environment. She is responsible for the wholesome environment that fosters confidence and creativity. I applaud her efforts, and have the upmost respect for all she has created at Candeo.
All these negative reviews about Stephanie Musser are unfair. While I agree that she is not the most warm and friendly person I've ever met, she is warm and loving to my children. She is passionate about the school she has created and truly wants what's best for all of our children. I don't need her to be my best friend, I need her to run a school that nurtures and teaches my children. My three children have never been happier. They come home from school excited about learning. They want to tell me about the great things they've learned that day. The teachers at Candeo are wonderful. They love children and are passionate about teaching. The front office girl, Angela, is incredibly rude, unaccomidating and unfriendly. It's unfortunate that she is the first person you must meet, because she is not an accurate representation of the teachers and the school as a whole. Overall, I love Candeo and feel incredibly blessed to have my children attend school there!
This school has done nothing but love, educate, and keep my babies safe for the last 4 years and we will continue to stay until it's time for highschool. The teachers are amazing and the Principle is driven with a love for children and education. She is easy to talk to and is always waiting at the gate in the morning to give the kids a hug! The no-junk food policy is great along with the uniforms! We love Candeo and can't say enough about it and love my 2 children receive everyday!
We currently have two children enrolled at Candeo. We have been extremely impressed with the teaching staff, leadership and the overall quality of the curriculum. Both of our children s teachers genuinely care about all of the students, as well as creating an environment that supports learning. The pickup situation is not great, but we think they have done an efficient job at organizing it with the current size of the campus. With the future growth plans, we think it will become quicker and easier to pick up the children. Driving by the other charter schools in the area, it appears the pickup situation is similar.
Candeo is a small and relatively new (6 years) charter school with an excellent curriculum, a dedicated and excellent staff of educators and administrators, a strong community, and a focus on the whole student. We have 2 children in this school and have been attending for the last 5 years. No school is perfect. There is movement from and into the school annually. For us it has been a good fit. Caring dedicated and visionary staff are working to make it a great place for our children to learn. It is evolving into its own identity and refining as it goes. The administrators and teachers strive to put the children first and the majority of our experiences have been positive. When there are issues from parking to classroom, we have seen them addressed quickly and decisively. It is a small community and people's voices are heard and even solicited, however, leadership does have to ultimately make decisions. It is rigorous, it is lively, it brings great experiences to my children and respects family life. We are quite happy with the commitment of the school to our children and enjoy the opportunity to be involved in our children's education.
My child started here this year. The beginning was quite an adjustment considering the rigor and all...but I have to say I love the curriculum and teachers. The curriculum is aligned to the common core, and they are getting our kids ready for a higher education. I find Dr. Musser pleasant! Mrs. Hudak on the other hand is probably the most arrogant school administrator I have EVER dealt with. I am so thankful my child does not have to deal with her day to day. I feel she needs professional development on parent and children communication. Often times she speaks down to the students and parents, and she comes across VERY ARROGANT! That being said, there is no school that is perfect! I truly believe this is an amazing school, and the students are receiving a great education. I wouldn't want my child at any other school. So the playground isn't the best, they care about what we feed our kids, no holidays are celebrated...I am sending my child to school for an education and that is what they are receiving- an excellent education!! ALL schools and leadership have room for improvement, and Candeo is no different. This is an A+ school!
My children have attended Candeo since they opened the doors. Like alot of people, I have had mixed feelings. I do agree about the administration and that they are not open to suggestions. Alot of their weekly emails remind of us the fact that this is a school of choice. Whenever they say that it basically says to me that thay are saying "feel free to move on"!! I have invested so much time volunteering over the years and this is the first year that I have been made to feel unwelcome and this is ONLY from the front office staff. I have been made to feel like I am intruding and wasting their time. The teachers are always grateful! I could continue to complain about the playground and the parking and the pick-up/drop-off but I knew these things were lacking when I made my decision. What keeps me here is the heart and soul in this school and that is the teachers. I have experienced them going above and beyond for my children. The individualized care and support is what outweighs all the petty things I hear parents gossiping about. I simply rate this school on the happiness of my children and the level of education they recieve.
We have been at Candeo since the first day it opened. Every teacher we've had has been caring and eager to teach my kids. Some people have complained about the rules at this school, but I think the rules provide structure and uniformity. We may not have "parties", but my kids always look forward to the "celebrations" that expand on the Core curriculum. I love how the teachers make learning fun. There is no such thing as a perfect school, but it has been perfect for my kids.
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