Location: Broomfield, Colorado
Brandon Slade’s own struggles with ADHD give him a unique understanding and insight into his clients, who are primarily teens and young adults facing learning obstacles.
Untapped Learning, where Slade is CEO, attempts to address those obstacles by adding exercise and movement to help those young learners focus, a technique Slade learned mostly by accident.
“Slade has always had ADHD, but he successfully flew under the radar and didn’t face failure until college,” his staff said. “After one semester, his GPA landed him on academic probation, and his football scholarship was in jeopardy. He was then able to face reality and adjust his approach to school.
“After football practice, his attention was always heightened, and he realized that he needed to be moving in order to retain information. He spent all of grad school absorbing research through audiobooks while hiking. Three degrees later, he became a middle school teacher, helping students who faced challenges similar to his.”
He worked with students on organization, time management and planning. He helped kids understand there wasn’t anything wrong with them — they just learned differently than some of their peers. His classroom became about teaching these kids how to succeed in school. After years of building the curriculum, Slade received requests from parents who wanted their kids to continue this alternative education, even after middle school.
He met with students in coffee shops after school. Word traveled fast, and suddenly Slade had more students than he could mentor while continuing to work full time as a teacher. And, with the help of some former students, Untapped Learning was born in 2018.
Untapped’s vision is to help as many struggling students as possible. “Atypical learners often feel misunderstood in school settings, and our job is to give them the tools they need to succeed, as well as provide a supportive environment where they’re consistently reminded of how capable and intelligent they are,” the company said. “Untapped is not another doctor’s office or clinical setting. Our centers consist not only of classrooms but also gym spaces where students can get moving before settling in to focus. Our experiences, coupled with comprehensive research, have proven that movement improves focus, memory, and learning function.”
Slade was named to the Forbes Next 1000 list in 2021, and the success of his company has made him an in-demand presenter for teachers, counselors, libraries, members of the medical community and more.
While he’s appreciative of the opportunities that led to many of his awards and honors, Slade is most proud of founding Untapped, his staff said. “To acknowledge the confidence and faith that parents have in us is humbling and overwhelming,” Slade said. “My biggest responsibility in running Untapped is to the families who trust us to help their kids.”
"To acknowledge the confidence and faith that parents have in us is humbling and overwhelming."