La Shada Ham-Campbell

La Shada Ham-Campbell

Founder and Owner, Petit Scholars

La Shada Ham-Campbell is the founder and owner of Petit Scholars (PS), a Montessori inspired and bilingual early childhood program serving infants and toddlers, with six locations in Ward 5 in Washington, DC. She is a fourth generation Brooklander. All but one of the PS programs are located in the community in which she was born and raised.

La Shada attended DC Public Schools and twice graduated from Howard University. She earned an undergraduate degree in psychology and a master’s degree in Educational Psychology. She also received a master’s degree in school administration from Trinity University.

La Shada began her career in public education as an elementary school teacher. She taught in Atlanta, GA and Washington, DC as a Teach for America corps member. She was a principal for eight years in DC and during her tenure as a school leader she found her passion in the classrooms of her early childhood educators and began to enroll in courses in ECE.

In 2011, La Shada was inspired to start Petit Scholars after experiencing difficulty finding care for her sons who were both born premature. After her youngest was born in 2010, she began her formal training as a Montessori teacher. In 2012, the first PS location opened with her youngest enrolled as one of the very first students. Since that time, Petit Scholars has grown to include six locations and the program celebrated its 10 anniversary in 2022.

What La Shada is most proud of professionally is the creation of a program that serves families and it is also owned and managed by women of color. The majority of Petit Scholar teachers are immigrant women from Central and South America who are discovering their passion for ECE. Many have enrolled in Montessori training programs as well as undergraduate programs to further their education. The success of Petit Scholars is due to the amazing team of teachers and leaders who are passionate, dedicated, resilient and brilliant.