Ironwood Academy
As iron sharpens iron, so does one person sharpen another. Proverbs 27:17
Ironwood Academy is a hybrid program for parents who want more control over their child's educational experience. We combine the best of a homeschool tutorial and a flexible traditional school, offering college-preparatory courses in a Christian environment taught by the most qualified and engaging teachers.

Supplementing our strong academic course foundation in English, Math, Science, and History, we have embedded a uniquely curated emotional intelligence component into all aspects of Ironwood Academy.  In addition to the core academic subjects, all students will receive instruction in EQ designed to build self-esteem, improve communication skills, and increase empathy for others.  Our goal is to create and sustain an emotionally safe environment in which students can learn and thrive.

EQ Curriculum Concepts

Debb Hayes returns to Ironwood Academy as EQ (Emotional Intelligence) Instructor for 2021-2022. Deborah has 30+ years of professional educational experience as a classroom teacher (public and private). She is a published author, curriculum developer, teacher trainer, and national speaker at educational conferences. She also homeschooled her three sons for several years. She has a strong passion for helping equip young people in the area of emotional intelligence.

She completed both her undergraduate degree and graduate teacher credentialing work at California State University, Sacramento, majoring in Liberal Arts/Education with a concentration in Communications Studies. She taught public school for several years in central California and the inner-city of Los Angeles. Debb was named “Best New Educator” her second year in the classroom. In addition to her tenure as a classroom teacher, she has significant experience in writing and developing curriculum and training materials for educational institutions and publishers. She has authored multiple best-selling teacher resource books and over one hundred curriculum guides and materials for publishers such as Scholastic, The Learning Company, LeapFrog, Houghton-Mifflin, Pearson Education, and Dorling Kindersley in London. One of her earlier books was adopted as a textbook for the teaching program at New York State University. Debb has also worked with the states of Texas and Michigan as a consultant for the correlation of K-12 curriculum to state assessment standards and benchmarks for Language Arts. She continues to write and create content for online educational resources. For many years, Debb’s national speaking engagements include educational conferences such as the International Reading Association, the National Educational Computing Conference, and the American Library Association. She also conducted multiple national teacher training workshops and seminars on a variety of topics for school districts around the country. During her previous tenure at Ironwood, she taught Composition, Literature, and Public Speaking/Communication Skills.

Most recently, Debb’s deep passion and dedication to the power of encouragement and building emotional intelligence has led to her passion project – a social-enterprise organization called I Can Do Stuff. Connecting with brain researchers, psychologists, and thought leaders in the EQ space, her dream is to provide tangible tools, support, community connections, and fun “stuff” to help people of all ages and stages engage the power of encouragement as they activate their callings and big dreams.

Deborah is equally passionate about learning and using life tools that promote positive mental, emotional and physical health. She is a board member of the Advisory Council at Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital. She is also a state-wide presenter of the End the Silence program. End the Silence is a program designed for middle and high school students (as well as school staff and families) to help educate, empower and increase knowledge in discussing mental health.

Debb and her husband, Steve, have lived in the Franklin area for over two decades. They will celebrate their 31st wedding anniversary this year. They have three grown sons (Conner, Tate, and Jack) and a good ole black lab named Ozzy. She loves reading, writing, travel, kayaking, and paddleboarding. And cookies.