You’ve seen their locations all over town, but I bet you didn’t know Stepping Stone School was Austin homegrown!  Back in the late 1970s, when the Paver family moved to Austin, they searched for affordable, quality early childcare and education for their children. Rhonda Paver believed the children of Austin deserved something better than what she found, so she established the first Stepping Stone School on Richcreek in the Crestview neighborhood in 1979. Her family lived on one side of the house and the childcare center was on the other side. Paver’s goal was to focus on educating the whole child.


By 1982, demand was high and the wait list long, so Stepping Stone acquired another child development center off Burnet Road. Later they purchased an acre off McNeil, where they designed and built their very first school from the ground up. The school rounded out the 1980s by embracing total quality management principles and has been expanding and thriving ever since.



The 1990s saw explosive Stepping Stone growth, with campuses expanding to Pflugerville, off Anderson Mill, North Central Austin, Austin Metro, Round Rock, Shoal Creek, Leander and even College Station. Paver, who in the meantime earned her master’s degree in child development from The University of Texas, went on to lend her expertise in the design and construction of the first on-campus childcare center for the UT. She was also named Small Business Person of the Year by The Statesman in 1994.

Growth for Stepping Stone continues to reach from Parmer Lane to Brodie Lane and Round Rock to Kyle, plus another campus addition in College Station. Last year, the City of Austin named March 23, 2023, Rhonda Paver Day, honoring her commitment to improving access to high-quality early care and education for families in Austin.


Brittany Williams is a writer and Realtor® in Austin where she loves exploring the city’s green spaces with her husband, son and daughter.




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