A Message from Our Founders
We know teachers and principals are pretty darn, amazing people. Each year a little more work has been added to what you already must do. The amazing thing to us is that nothing ever stops you! You all keep smiling and working crazy hours to be the best darn educators you can be. We know this because we have been teachers, principals, and superintendents and see the work, dedication, and diligence you bring to school every day.
We love Teachers. We love Principals. We started PayPer Workz to help teachers and principals. Period. Yes, we know it's rather simple, but it's the truth. We are not a big company. We are just two working educators, just like you, who want to help. Our goal is to get teachers and principals to join us in developing the first marketplace created where you earn 80% profits, with no annual fee. Ever. You work hard and deserve to be valued and appreciated by earning the most for your work.
Our 75 Word Story
Kristy Swol and Elizabeth Agresta, two experienced teachers, school, and district leaders, were passionate, forward-thinking, and… stuck. So many projects, so little time. They scoured the internet to find tangible solutions to everyday problems but found only frustration. "There has to be a better way," they cried. Knowing the struggle was real for other teachers and principals, too, they decided to exercise a passionate vision to resolve the struggle. And so, PayPer Workz was born.
Kristy Swol, Founder
It is amazing the journey that life takes you on. If you have had asked me back in the day, "what do you want to be when you grow up," my answer was always, "I don't know." I would have a vague sense of disquiet when asked this question. I mean, how in the world was I supposed to choose what I wanted to do and be in life?
I did the usual thing after high school, I went college and completed the first two years without much issue – which was easy as it was all general education. But what did I want to do? I worked through high school and college at a grocery store chain and advanced very well through the part-time levels of leadership. I was responsible for training others and leading my work shift. I had flexibility, friends, and opportunity. It was a great learning experience.
With my AA degree under my belt, I went off to a four-year college to get a degree but still wasn't sure what I wanted to do. As a result, I wasn't committed and dropped out, only to re-enroll in four other colleges, at different times, and for varying degrees! Talk about not knowing to do!
I worked for different organizations in a variety of growing leadership roles. I had come to understand that I enjoyed leadership and was doing a good enough job that I continued to advance through the organizations in which I worked. Ultimately, I earned a Bachelor's degree in Business Management, supporting the role I had a Manager of Systems Support and Operations for a large insurance company.
In the early 2000s, the company for which I worked had to make changes to the organization's structure. After working for six years and on the verge of being promoted to Assistant Vice President at the age of 29, the company had some major layoffs. While they didn't lay me off, but the position for which I was primed was no longer an option. So, I made the decision to find a better direction in life and opted to leave the company.
It was then that I found myself at my children's school, telling my sister that I was "gainfully unemployed" when the media specialist asked if I wanted her job. You see, she was eight months pregnant and planning on taking a two-year leave. I spoke to the principal, and because I had been volunteering in the school's computer lab, she took a chance and hired me. I quickly enrolled in school and embarked on getting a Master's Degree in Instructional Technology and Educational Media.
I worked at the school for several years, enjoying my new found love of teaching. But during that time, I often thought, "if I were the principal, I would…" You see, the leader in me was still thinking globally and aspiring for new challenges.
Time passed, and unfortunately, our principal passed away. The school began a search for a new principal, so I applied for the job… and was hired! Once again, I found myself applying to a university, and I earned an Educational Specialist and Doctorate in Education in Educational Leadership.
After seven years as principal, and much heartache, sweat, tears, joy, and love, I left the school and took a position as a District Superintendent for the system in which I worked. In this role, I had the fantastic opportunity of mentoring and leading over 20 dedicated and professional leaders in my district and over 50 leaders across the entire organization. Additionally, I had the annual chance to form and mentor new principals for my state, support teachers in their growth, and enact positive change for students. I was able to provide support to teachers and principals I so desperately needed when in those roles. During this time, Elizabeth and I lamented that we had to create the majority of materials we needed to help make life easier for our teachers and principals.
After three years as a District Superintendent, I took on the role of Superintendent of Schools and Director of Education in a different system. In this position, I continued to do the work that I had found to love, the leading and mentoring of wonderful principals, transforming cultures, and creating materials and policies to help the teachers and principals. We had a lot of great times and several very difficult times, but together we worked to resolve and address each issue and concern.
After years of working together, supporting principals, mentoring, and leading teachers, Elizabeth and I decided to embark on a new way to help teachers and principals gain success in their roles. We came together and developed our plan to launch PayPer Workz, to help teachers and principals everywhere.
Today, I can say, "I know what I want to be when I grow up." I am a leader dedicated to helping all educators fulfill their dreams and achieve their goals. In all of my experiences, I learned many things, but one thing sticks in my mind. Teachers and principals can do it on their own, but they are so much better when they have the support they deserve.
Elizabeth Agresta, Co-Founder
I believe I was destined to be a teacher from the time I was seven years old. In second grade, my favorite toy was a chalkboard, and I was the kid who arrived first in the classroom to practice my cursive on the board. I remember sitting in the classroom as a student and being aware of different teaching methods. I would think to myself, that was a memorable lesson, or there are ways to make this material more engaging! By the time I was in 7th grade, I was watching teachers closely to learn what worked and what didn't work.
My first job was in a recreation center. I was in charge of the eight years olds in a summer camp. I wanted to see if I had any talent for working with children. I quickly learned I not only had talent, but I had a passion for it. So off to college, I went to prepare to be a teacher. I graduated with a bachelor's in Elementary Education from Florida State University in the early 80s. From there, I loved just about every day of my next 18 years of teaching. There was nothing better than being in the classroom. No matter which school or grade, the classroom had my heart. I had no desire to leave teaching.
People told me all the time they knew I would go into administration, and my response was always "no way." So guess what happened? Yep, I became a principal. I know, how does that happen!? Well, my childhood Catholic school had an opening for a principal, and I really loved that school! When a school you love needs someone to lead it, that changes everything! The next thing I knew, I earned a Masters in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University and spent the next ten years as a Catholic School Principal. I worked with wonderful people in an amazing environment. I grew personally and professionally.
No coursework on earth could have prepared me for the job of a principal. I truly had no clue what was happening throughout the school when I was so busy teaching for eighteen years. Talk about being in your own little world! At times, being the principal was so energizing and rewarding, and other times it was hair on fire exhausting. I would sit down on the weekends to update or create new documents or policies and think to myself…Somewhere out there, a principal who thinks like I do has created exactly what I need. But here I sit, creating this work by myself. There has to be a better way." And that is when the wheels started turning for a smarter way to get work done.
After ten years as a Principal, I moved into the Office of Catholic Schools as District Superintendent. I was fortunate enough to work with a team of inspiring people, one of them being Dr. Kristy Swol, my business partner. We thought alike on just about everything. As District Superintendents, we constantly talked about the lack of resources available to help our teachers and principals. No, not resources like articles, webinars, conventions, etc. Not that they aren't important, but we already had a plethora of those kinds of resources. We talked about the "real work" teachers and principals have on their plates! We never stopped imagining a smarter way to work.
Kristy and I briefly stepped into different career paths, but we never stopped talking about helping school leaders work smarter. While I was working as the Chief Academic Officer for Hillsborough County Public Schools, and Kristy was working as a superintendent, we talked and planned - and planned and talked. Then the day came when we decided to move forward with our vision of helping teachers and principals work smarter. I decided to return to school administration, and Kristy and I made the official step to embark on PayPer Workz.
Pursue your passion, and you'll never work a day in your life!