Horizon Academy
4901 Reinhardt Drive
Suite A
Roeland Park KS 66205
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (913) 7899443
Mission Statement
To provide a caring and respectful environment for students struggling with learning disabilities, where they are given the opportunity to achieve their highest potential, become lifelong learners, and develop into productive, responsible citizens of their community.
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Vicki Asher
Board Chair Mr. Mike Koeppen
Board Chair Company Affiliation Bartlett & Company
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1996
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Mission Statement To provide a caring and respectful environment for students struggling with learning disabilities, where they are given the opportunity to achieve their highest potential, become lifelong learners, and develop into productive, responsible citizens of their community.
Background Statement Horizon Academy is the result of the efforts of dedicated parents concerned about the progress of their children in traditional schools. Combining the advice received from national educational consultants, research from Midwest Research Institute, and input from local parents, educators and physicians, a vision and master plan for Horizon Academy emerged. In September 1999, Horizon Academy opened its doors to 12 Kansas City area students. Since that time, Horizon Academy can serve up to 90 students in grades one through 12.
Impact Statement

Horizon Academy's top accomplishments from 2015-2016 included:

  1. All full-time Horizon Academy teachers became certified Orton-Gillingham classroom educators during the 2015-2016 school year. Orton-Gillingham is an instructional approach to teaching students with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities how to read, write, and spell, focusing on the needs of each individual student in one-on-one and small group settings. Many teachers are in the process of pursuing advanced certification within the Academy of Orton-Gillingham through an assigned fellow.
  2. The measurable gains of our students included: reading-word attack skills (11.1 mo.), reading comprehension (10 mo.), spelling (9.5 mo.), math calculation (16.6 mo.) with an overall parent satisfaction of 8.5.
  3. Horizon Academy began a tutoring center for students struggling in traditional classroom settings to receive support during and after school in the following areas: reading, writing, math, and study skills.
  4. Horizon Academy hired a full-time physical education teacher trained in mindfulness meditation. Horizon Academy teachers and students participate in a daily walk and mindfulness meditation breaks throughout the week.

Horizon Academy's top goals for 2016-2017 are:

  1. Horizon Academy is in the process to become the only Orton-Gillingham accredited facility in the Greater Kansas City region.
  2. Horizon Academy began the year with 9 classrooms (82 students) with the goal to increase our student enrollment to full capacity at 90 students.
  3. Horizon Academy is working diligently to raise $260,000 for our annual fund in order to offer specialized programs and provide need-based scholarships for our students.
  4. Horizon Academy is currently in the process of developing a three-year strategic plan to best support the needs of students and staff.
Needs Statement

  1. We need to continue to develop the 3-year strategic plan for the school.
  2. We need to diversify the school’s fundraising activities in order to engage new donors and increase the school’s fundraising capacity from $260,000 to $350,000.
  3. We need to continue to spread awareness about learning disabilities and provide strategies to help those who work with students who struggle with learning disabilities in the Kansas City community reach their fullest potential.

Service Categories
Special Education
Remedial Reading & Encouragement
Elementary & Secondary Schools
Areas of Service
MO - Jackson County
MO - Clay County
MO - Platte County
KS - Wyandotte County
KS - Johnson County
KS - Leavenworth County
KS - Lawrence
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement

Vicki Asher, Head of School:

A "growth" mindset has become a core characteristic of Horizon Academy.  What do I mean by mindset?  Mindset is a simple idea discovered by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist, Carol Dweck. In a fixed mindset, people believe that they either are or are not good at something because it’s just the way we are.  We fall victim to comments like: “This is not how we did it before!” A fixed mindset is the most common and truthfully, the most harmful of mindsets. In a fixed mindset, failure defines the individual.
Conversely, people who develop a “growth” mindset believe one’s abilities are due entirely to one’s actions. We may not be good at a given skill “yet”. “Not yet” becomes the mantra of individuals who face difficulty and failure as if they are opportunities. Trouble, difficulty, or even failure is just important feedback in the learning process. In a growth mindset, failures are temporary setbacks. 

It is with a growth mindset, that I examine not only Horizon Academy’s strengths, but also the challenges we face. Success comes in many shapes and sizes: a student learning to read her first word; another making his first friend; a high school student applying for his first job while another student learns to manage the phones and office as part of a work-study program to develop transferable, vocational skills. Success and growth occurs among our staff as well as we take on new teaching initiatives to better meet the needs of our students while challenging how we once approached a teaching task. 

In addition to the daily successes of our students and staff, Horizon Academy is experiencing growth in enrollment. Our reputation is sound because of the culture we have established as a safe and positive learning environment where our students can succeed. This growth is perpetuated by growing community support due in large part to a strong and supportive Board of Directors and a solid development team, charged with communicating our mission beyond our current reach so that we might meet the needs of more students who struggle with learning differences in a traditional school setting.

Despite our success and our growth, it is still a challenge as we continue to wrestle with the cost of educating a student with a learning disability.  How can we reach more children using our approach? How can we work with the public school system to convince them to partner with us so that more students can feel the success as one our student so eloquently expressed, “I feel smart for the first time!”

So as we traverse this new terrain and carry out our mission, know that as an institution, Horizon Academy is committed to a “growth” mindset. It is our goal to inspire our students to do the same. We are a work in progress. Let’s see if we can all apply this thinking. 
Description Need-based scholarships are available to families of students with learning disabilities. Tuition assistance helps students benefit from the unique education at Horizon Academy designed specifically for students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities when the cost would otherwise be a substantial obstacle. With the strategies taught to our students, they acquire the skills to return to a traditional school setting and experience success academically and socially.
Program Budget $130,000.00
Category Education, General/Other Special Education
Population Served People/Families with of People with Disabilities, Children Only (5 - 14 years),
Short-Term Success

We want to give children diagnosed with learning disabilities in the Kansas City area an opportunity for the best education they can receive without the interference of a high tuition. We award more than $350,000 in scholarships each school year. Approximately 40% of our students receive an average scholarship of $10,000. The ultimate goal is to be able to provide consistent scholarship opportunities each year to maintain a student body of 80 to 90 students.

Long-Term Success

Horizon Academy’s vision is to create a community of life-long learners. In its 18th year, Horizon Academy has helped more than 750 students gain strategies in reading, writing, math, and social skills. The third edition of “The State of Learning Disabilities” published by the National Center for Learning Disabilities found that only 68% of students with learning disabilities graduated with a high school diploma, and only 15% of students with learning disabilities took an active leadership role in transition meetings. Alternatively, 100% of seniors at Horizon Academy graduated with a high school diploma and 100% took an active role in their transition planning meetings with surveyed parents and students giving Horizon Academy an average satisfaction score of 9.2 over the last 15 years. Our goal is to continue to empower students to become self-advocates for their educational needs and to continue to collect data from transitioned students who are now entering the workforce.  

Program Success Monitored By We monitor the program by self-reporting and keeping track of how many students receive scholarships and the amount they receive, until our goal of 40% of students is reached.
Examples of Program Success
  • Since our existence, Horizon Academy has raised and provided more than $1.5 million in scholarships to an average of 40% of our student population. 
  •  More than 200 students have received scholarships to attend Horizon Academy over this time period.  
  • "Horizon Academy has helped me be more independent.  I like it because it makes me feel safe and happy." - Horizon Academy Student (8th Grade)
  • "Horizon Academy has helped me to feel proud of myself." - Horizon Academy Student (6th Grade)
  • "He finally has a future.  Now nothing is off limits for my child." - Horizon Academy Parent
  • "It's changed the trajectory of her life." - Horizon Academy Parent 
Description Horizon Academy offers a variety of extracurricular opportunities after school including a tutoring center, fine & performing art opportunities, and physical fitness & sports classes.  Enrollment is open to any student with learning disabilities (1st-12th grade).
Program Budget $16,225.00
Category Education, General/Other Extracurricular Activities
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years), ,
Short-Term Success There are approximately 30 students signed up for after school programming each day with a teacher and teaching assistant working with students in a variety of after school options.  Past extracurricular activities have included private guitar lessons, garage band, science club, chess club, drama club, study lab, and cooking classes.  
Long-Term Success
  • Students with learning disabilities can feel isolation and a reluctance to interact, often due to their awareness of the disability. While using the arts to accommodate the academic areas for students with learning disabilities, exposure to visual and performing arts will give students with learning disabilities the opportunity to express thoughts and feelings that don't necessarily come easy, as well as the opportunity for self confidence and self worth.  
  • Extracurricular activities can also help students with learning disabilities improve academic skills. These programming opportunities affect a student's ability to reason, think how concepts relate and interact, and strengthen fine and gross motor skills, memory, and spatial awareness. 
  • We expect to see an improvement in both students’ self esteem and overall academic skills.
Program Success Monitored By Success for after school programming is monitored by teacher, student, and parent feedback.  An on-site after school coordinator is able to assess and change offerings on a quarter by quarter basis.
Examples of Program Success

In the past we have had a student's artwork selected as the cover for the Journal of Learning Disabilities. In addition, program success has been viewed by the self esteem demonstrated by students at the annual talent show, regular garage band performances, and the holiday program.

Description Orton-Gillingham is an instructional approach intended primarily for use with persons who have difficulty with reading, spelling, and writing associated with dyslexia. The Orton-Gillingham Approach is focused upon the learning needs of the individual student. Students with language-based learning disabilities at Horizon Academy receive Orton-Gillingham instruction 45-50 minutes daily in one-to-one or small group instruction. This approach to reading, spelling and writing is multi-sensory; the students and teachers use their visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile senses to infuse and receive the content. The lessons are directly taught and systematically, so that the students are building on the skills they acquire.
Category Education, General/Other Literacy
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years), ,
Short-Term Success

There are quite a few short term achievements that will result from this program. All teachers at Horizon Academy were trained in the Orton-Gillingham Approach, allowing for shared understanding. Many of our students currently being tutored with Orton-Gillingham methods are already seeing an improvement in their handwriting and reading levels. This gives these students a boost in self-esteem and better classroom attitudes toward reading and writing. Finally, Horizon Academy has seen more community recognition as others learn of our Orton-Gillingham training.

Long-Term Success

Of the 1 in 5 children diagnosed with learning disabilities, 80% have a primary deficit in the area of reading. Two-thirds of secondary students with learning disabilities are three grade levels behind in reading. One of the ultimate changes that will result from the Orton-Gillingham Approach are that students at Horizon Academy with a language-based learning disability will learn to read because of the prescriptive, diagnostic, and structured aspects of the Orton-Gillingham Approach. Along with finally learning to read, students will have better perceptions of themselves and better self-esteem. By training our staff in the Orton-Gillingham Approach, someday we hope to develop a center for training future tutors and teachers in the Orton-Gillingham Approach. This center could also serve as a community resource for other families who cannot fully afford our full-day program. Finally, enrollment will increase at Horizon Academy because we will be an Orton-Gillingham accredited school.

Program Success Monitored By

We assess our students’ reading abilities using a standardized test, the Wide Range Achievement Test, twice a year and three times a year with the Accelerated STAR Reading tests. The Gallistel-Ellis test is also used to determine reading levels of a student. In addition, teachers using the Orton-Gillingham Approach are constantly monitoring and assessing daily progress of students. Our teachers being trained in the Orton-Gillingham approach also receive evaluations from a certified Orton-Gillingham trainer.

Examples of Program Success

We have two examples of students with successful results from the Orton-Gillingham approach. A third grade student did not know all of his letters or sounds before attending Horizon Academy. Now, after a few months of teaching with the Orton-Gillingham Approach, he’s reading closed-syllable words and he’s blending sounds to put words together. An eighth grade student went from a third grade reading level to almost a fifth grade reading level in just a few short months!

Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Ms. Vicki Asher
Term Start July 2015
Experience Vicki Asher, a passionate educator, has been a part of the Horizon Academy family since 2000. She has a strong academic background with a BA in Communications Studies from the University of Kansas, a BA in Elementary Education from the University of Missouri Kansas City, an MSE in special education from the University of Kansas, and an MS in educational leadership from Pittsburgh State. In addition to her educational background in which she graduated with distinction as well as her dedication to working with students with learning disabilities, the Learning Disabilities Association of Kansas and the Kansas chapter of the Council of Exceptional Children have recognized Ms. Asher for her outstanding work in Special Education. Ms. Asher assumed the role of Horizon Academy’s Head of School in June 2015 and looks forward to carrying out the mission of the school for many years.
Co-CEO/Executive Director
Term Start
Compensation Last Year
Former CEOs
Mrs. Sharyl M. Kennedy July 1999 - June 2015
Senior Staff
Title Principal & Admissions Coordinator
Experience/Biography Julie Altman, a dedicated educator, has been in the field of education since 1980. Her education includes: a BS from the University of Kansas in Elementary Education, emphasis in Special Education, MSE from the University of Kansas in Learning Disabilities and a MS from Pittsburgh State University in Educational Leadership. Her experience includes working in a private school for students with learning disabilities (The Churchill Center and School) in St. Louis, MO, owning her own tutoring business for 30 years first in St. Louis and then in Kansas City, teaching at Horizon Academy ( a private school for students with learning disabilities) in Roeland Park, KS for 13 years, and becoming an administrator at Horizon Academy the last four years. Julie won the Special Educator of the Year in 2012 from the Kansas Council for Exceptional Children. She was the Lead Teacher of the Elementary Team for eight years and then moved to the Lead Teacher of the Middle Team for five years before moving into her Admissions and Assistant Principal Position. This school year (2015-2016), she became Principal and Admissions Director at Horizon Academy. Julie is proud of Horizon Academy’s commitment to giving students with learning disabilities tools and strategies to reach their highest potential and become lifelong learners.
Title Counseling Director
Experience/Biography Brad Epsten is the Counseling Director and serves on the Leadership Team at Horizon Academy, having worked their since 2002. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and received his MSW from UMKC. Currently, he is finishing a Fellowship through UC Davis in Infant Child Parent Mental Health. Brad is inspired to helping students gain personal insight and growth that will help direct them toward a purposeful life. Prior to his work in the helping profession, Brad worked in a family business and received his Business Degree in Marketing at American University.
Paid Full-Time Staff 18
Paid Part-Time Staff 16
Volunteers 150
Paid Contractors 2
Retention Rate 88%
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan Yes
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No

University of Kansas: Center for Research on Learning; Bishop Miege High School; Junior Master Gardners; St. Agnes Childcare; The Learning Disabilities Association of Kansas; The Learning Disabilities Association of Missouri-Kansas City Affiliate; Council of Exceptional Children-Division of Learning Disabilities; Kansas International Dyslexic Association of Kansas and Northern Missouri; ADHDkc; University of Missouri-Kansas City; The Academy of Orton-Gillingham

Art for their two teacher awards of the yearKansas Department of Education2007
Youth Leadership AwardT. Michael Lissis 2004
Kansas Yes I Can AwardCouncil of Exceptional Children2009
Kansas (Awarded Horizon Academy's start up staff)Council of Exceptional Children2004
Essay ContestDaughters of the Revolution2006
Outstanding Student of the Year, Teacher of the Year and Professional of the YearLearning Disabilities Association of Kansas2009
Outstanding Student of the Year, Teacher of the Year and Professional of the YearLearning Disabilities Association of Kansas2012
Outstanding Teacher, Volunteer and StudentCouncil of Exceptional Children - KS2013
Outstanding Teacher and StudentCouncil of Exceptional Children of KS2014
Yes I Can AwardCouncil of Exceptional Children of KS2015
Outstanding Kansas Reading Initiative ResultsLexia2014
Yes I Can AwardCouncil of Exceptional Children (KS)2016
Outstanding Student of the Year and Teacher of the YearLearning Disabilities Association of Kansas2016
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? Yes
CEO Comments \
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Mike Koeppen
Company Affiliation Bartlett & Company
Term July 2015 to July 2017
Email m.koeppen@ibartlett.com
Board Members
Ms. Liz Barnes Community Volunteer
Mr. Todd Bauer KPMG LLP
Mrs. Buckie Bell Community Volunteer
Mr. Fred Crouch White Goss Bowers March Schulte & Weisenfels
Mrs. Vanessa Ferguson Marketing/HR Consultant
Mr. Robert Gauer Morgan Stanley
Ms. Katherine Gregg Tria Health
Mr. John Griggs DST Systems, Inc.
Mr. Steve Heeney Community Volunteer
Mr. Mike Koeppen Bartlett & Company
Mrs. Lori Miller Community Volunteer
Ms. Robyn Schoonover Community Volunteer
Dr. Jean Schumaker Ph.D.University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning
Mrs. Kelly St. Clair Community Volunteer
Mr. Andrew Trucksess Grandbridge Real Estate Capital
Mr. John Tucker Western MO Mental Health Center
Ms. Arley Ward Community Tutor
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 16
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 8
Female 9
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 75%
Written Board Selection Criteria? No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? No
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 81%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 87%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 11
Standing Committees
Advisory Board / Advisory Council
Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Board Governance
Advisory Board Members
Dr. Michele Berg Ph. D.Family Services & Guidance Center
Mr. Grant Burcham Missouri Bank & Trust
Dr. Don Deshler Ph.D.University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning
Mr. Bob Dunn J.E. Dunn Construction Company
Mr. William H. Dunn Sr.J. E. Dunn Construction Co.
Mr. Kirk Gastinger Gastinger Walker Harden + BeeTriplett Buck
Mr. Irvine O. Hockaday Jr.Community Volunteer
Ms. Ellen Isch Commerce Bank
Dr. Michele Kilo M.D.Children's Mercy Hospital
Mr. Cappy Powell Community Volunteer
Mr. Buzz Willard Tower Properties
Dr. John Yeast M.D.St. Luke's Medical Center
Fiscal Year Start July 01, 2016
Fiscal Year End June 30, 2017
Projected Revenue $1,909,650
Projected Expenses $1,892,404
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FYE 6/30/2015: Financial data reported using the IRS Form 990.
  • FYE 6/30/2014, 2013: Financial data reported using the organization's audited financial statements. 
  • Foundation/corporate revenue line item may include contributions from individuals.
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions--$0$0
Investment Income, Net of Losses$36,372$89,159$66,036
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$125,320$142,926$146,313
Revenue In-Kind$0$0$0
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$1,669,126$1,514,655$1,392,497
Administration Expense$238,647$226,838$212,104
Fundraising Expense$165,122$142,519$92,251
Payments to Affiliates--$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.290.981.06
Program Expense/Total Expenses81%80%82%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue13%88%36%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$3,161,473$2,487,186$2,484,839
Current Assets$2,368,680$1,862,114$1,854,157
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$307,794$227,701$0
Total Net Assets$2,853,679$2,259,485$2,484,839
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities7.708.18--
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201520142013
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years No
Organization Name Horizon Academy
Address 4901 Reinhardt Drive
Suite A
Roeland Park, KS 66205
Primary Phone (913) 7899443
Contact Email info@horizon-academy.com
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Vicki Asher
Board Chair Mr. Mike Koeppen
Board Chair Company Affiliation Bartlett & Company
Year of Incorporation 1996