In 1992 while studying early childhood education at Texas A&M University, Lisa Shed decided to make the bold move of starting her own dance studio, Lisa's Dance Connection, 90 miles away in her hometown of Temple, Texas. Three days a week she would make the commute to teach her eight young students, then wake up the next morning at 6 am to make it to her 8 am class at school. Each year the studio would double or triple in size, and by the time she graduated college, she had more than 100 students. At that point she moved back to Temple and invested all of her time and energy into developing her studio. Since then, they've outgrown multiple building locations, and today she has an impressive 500 students and counting.
As the business has grown and Shed's staff has expanded, she's been able to focus her energy on her role as owner, director and administrator—something she says she loves just as much as teaching. "It's important to me that I don't just passively own this business, but that I'm actually invested in it," Shed says.
Even with all she has going on as owner, Shed still finds time to teach each week. "I teach both the youngest and the oldest students at our studio," she says. "I teach the babies and the senior citizens. I love this age range because you have to make things basic and really know how to get your message across and have it make sense. It's an exciting challenge."
SHE NEVER LEAVES HOME WITHOUT "My lip gloss and my pocket calendar."
GO-TO TEACHING ATTIRE "I think it's important for the teacher to set the tone for class. When I'm teaching littles, I wear traditional leotards from Capezio, with a ballet wrap-skirt from Gilda Marx. For hip-hop or adult classes I like to wear a tank with black dance pants."
MOST-LOVED TEACHING PROP "I find props are really helpful for preschool classes. The kids don't even realize they are learning when they're involved. My favorite prop is a parachute—the possibilities are endless when we pull it out."