Our Story


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A young dynamic girl named Wendy Soderman grew up on welfare but found a nurturing safe haven within the walls of her school. Teachers saw that Wendy had a relentless passion for learning, and a mature visionary spirit. Her school teachers arranged for Wendy to receive a government grant to ensure that she went to university to reach her potential and have the opportunity to use her talents to accomplish her goals. This heartfelt action by the school put Wendy on a path for success that changed her life forever.

Wendy Soderman left for college at 17 years of age and became an exemplary university student and a compassionate inspiring member of her community. Wendy was on The Dean’s List every year, and received her education degree from the University of Western Ontario in Canada. Against all odds, she became the authentic accomplished person she aspired to be! Wendy knew that if it wasn’t for her teachers and school she would not have thrived emotionally and intellectually. Wendy was a living testimony of how influential and empowering a school can be for a child. She was an example of how schools influence lives, and truly shape the world’s future.

"She was an example of how schools influence lives, and truly shape the world’s future."

As a new professional teacher, Wendy vowed to use her passion for children and teaching to “Pay It Forward” by creating enchanting learning experiences for her students and their families. Wendy became a teacher role model in Australia and Canada, for her knowledge, creativity, and ability to engage every student in her class. Wendy had a natural gift for making learning relevant, fun, and for achieving high academic standards with true understanding.
After five years of excelling as a teacher, Wendy and her husband, Dr. Kris Soderman, became parents to identical twin boys, Korey and Kyle. What began as a dream come true for a young loving couple, soon became a testament of their unconditional love for their new born sons. The Soderman babies were born prematurely and had an extremely difficult entry into the world. Korey Soderman was born weighing only one pound and as a result was afflicted with severe cerebral palsy.
Wendy left her beloved teaching profession to care for her new babies and to establish therapy and medical schedules for her differently-abled son. Wendy Soderman used her resilient, optimistic approach to life to embrace her new journey with a disabled child.
The young Soderman family moved from Canada to Wellington, Florida to establish a new beginning and raise their family in a sunny warm climate. Throughout the years that followed, Wendy spent every waking moment teaching and intellectually stimulating her young sons. At three years old, even though he was afflicted with severe cerebral palsy, Korey tested cognitively “above normal” and the Sodermans were advised that he should go to a challenging academic preschool with his twin brother Kyle. Wendy was beyond excited and went on a search for the ideal preschool for her young sons. As an exceptional educator and mom, Wendy’s high expectations for academics and character development could not be met in any of the countless schools she toured in her community. Wendy soon realized that the ideal school that she desired for her sons did not exist.
Wendy was relentless…she wanted “the best” school for her sons because she understood that extraordinary intellectual and character transformation can only take place in an ideal school learning environment. After weeks of researching and observing many schools,what started as wanting an engaging, and meaningful educational experience for her sons became a strong passionate realization of the need of an ideal school for all children.

"What started as wanting an engaging, and meaningful educational experience for her sons became a strong passionate realization of the need of an ideal school for all children."

In September 1993, Dr.Kris and Wendy Soderman financed their IDEAL dream by maxing out all of their credit cards and putting a second mortgage on their small family home. Kris was a professional engineer and had secure employment in his trade at that time. The Sodermans leased a small bay in an enclosed retail mall owned by former County Commissioner, Mr. Jess Santamaria and creatively decorated, and wrote brain-based curriculum to become known as ”The Disney World of schools”.
Proud parents shared the IDEAL experience and vision with everyone in the community. News media, politicians, educational experts, and prominent community members promoted IDEAL to friends, groups and the nation. The school was featured in a Hollywood documentary narrated by Robert Downey Jr. Soon the preschool was full, with an exceptional reputation as “the best preschool anywhere”. The public school kindergarten gifted programs contained mostly IDEAL students. The IDEAL school students were receiving 130 and above (“gifted”) on IQ tests.
It was evident that IDEAL students were all critical thinkers who were passionate about learning. The parents of IDEAL students encouraged Wendy to add elementary and middle school grades so their children could continue this engaging, innovative educational experience.

"The IDEAL school students were receiving 130 and above (“gifted”) on IQ tests."

In 1999, the IDEAL School moved to its current location and over the next 8 years expanded to two beautiful buildings totaling 27,000 square feet including preschool through grade 8. IDEAL graduates achieve their dreams and excel at the top high schools and universities in the nation.
Wendy Soderman had intuitively been creating and presenting curriculum using the principles of a brain-based multiple intelligence theory by Harvard cognition Professor Howard Gardner. Wendy Soderman’s brilliant pairing of neuroscience knowledge with education led to optimal learning results beyond what was traditionally conceivable for education.
In 2008 Dr. Howard Gardner was flown to IDEAL School as a gift from philanthropists Daniel and Ewa Abraham to honor Wendy’s vision to create a brain based learning environment to ensure the emotional and cognitive development of our worlds future leaders and innovators.
Wendy’s life vision is for her dynamic alumni to excel and think out of the box by expressing their knowledge and mindfulness doing extraordinary things in the world. Wendy believes that IDEAL alumni will find the cures for diseases, be entrepreneurs, lead others with inspiration and joy, and live an authentic passionate life that allows them to look in the mirror each day to always see what proud looks like!
Wendy Soderman dedicates her days as a “hands on, heart on” visionary leader and motivational speaker inspiring students, teachers, parents and community members to be mindful, passionate dreamers.
Wendy believes that the 21st century economy requires, and all children deserve a transformational learning culture based on brain knowledge and authenticity. Wendy’s conviction of the heart is that one day all children will experience the enchantment of the Innovative, Diverse, Enriched, Active, Learning School and the world can then be a better place and we will all…..



"Buddy" the Red Cardinal
The Mascot for the IDEAL School is “Buddy” the Red Cardinal. At IDEAL, we teach the students to stay “above the line” and maintain a positive view on life and how they see the world. At times they may visit “below the line” and they may need help or a “trampoline” to get their positive perspective back. Examples of “trampolines” to help people get back up “above the line” when faced with adversity are: talking to a trusted friend or adult, performing an act of service, praying or meditating and focusing on the present. The Soderman’s selected the Red Cardinal as the mascot for IDEAL School because in their life journey the Red Cardinal has been a “trampoline” for them countless times.

Read "The Angel with the Red Wings"

Buddy, the mascot, makes frequent appearances at IDEAL School events and is cherished and loved by all! He recently received some student and parent help in performing his traditional yearend cartwheel.
When IDEAL families travel to their favorite places in the world they often bring a beanie baby cardinal with them and pose for a picture with the cardinal at a special location like a monument. Upon their return, they bring the photo into school for our display map. The “cardinal” has visited all seven continents and is now preparing to visit outer space!