GEORGENE "GIGI" BRADSHAW
Author, Zoo-phonics, Inc.
(1928 - 2011)
Georgene "Gigi" Elizabeth Bradshaw was born August 27, 1928, in San Francisco, California. Gigi was the first of four children born to Alaris and Lewis Bradshaw during the depression era.
Gigi and family moved to Los Angeles when she was a teenager where she attended high school. She attended L.A. City College as a young adult. She was hired as a photographic model for commercials and then was soon hired by Howard Hughes (he liked dark haired beauties) and was trained in voice and acting by Florence Enright. Gigi appeared in plays and the T.V. series, “Life With Father” with Stu Erwin (she earned royalties for decades). She also appeared in T.V. commercials (Coca Cola being one of them!). She hated the stress of auditions so she went back to college to become a teacher. The family moved to a small town called Yucca Valley, in the Mojave Desert, and she attended the University of Redlands to get her Bachelor’s Degree and teaching credential. She taught in both 29 Palms and Yucca Valley.
Gigi later moved to Newport Beach and worked for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District teaching both regular and special education. She received her Master’s Degree from the University of San Francisco during this time. She met and married Minister Loren Flickinger. She helped him with his ministry, participating in Bible studies, woman’s groups, and headed up the Children’s Sunday School Program.
Gigi made many trips around the United States, to Europe, and Israel, traveling on her own and with her husband. She believed that if you appreciated the people, the culture, and the country when traveling, the people would take good care of you. This certainly proved true for Gigi.
Gigi moved to Groveland to be closer to her sister Char, Char’s family, and their mother. She was immediately hired by the Tuolumne County Schools Office and taught children with learning disabilities. It was at this time that she came up with the BRILLIANT idea and teaching strategies that would soon become Zoo-phonics. After coming up with the foundation for this fledgling program and its “essences,” she worked with her sister Char Wrighton and best friend Irene Clark to turn “La-Gigi” (the beginning program used in her classroom) into Zoo-phonics, now an international multisensory language arts program!
Gigi KNEW children had to move as they learned. She knew that children needed to be stress-free and needed to have fun while learning. She knew that it was pointless to teach letter names and capital letters first before sounds and shapes of the lowercase letters. She also knew that in order for children to learn to read, spell and write, they needed to start with the alphabet, phonics and great literature, and lots of talking and playing! Because of her dance and acting background, moving, singing, dancing, and acting while learning was a natural part of the curriculum. She didn’t realize at the time that neuroscience decades later would prove her right!
Gigi’s gift with children was unparalleled. She believed that you don’t limit children, even those classified by the word “handicapped.” She loved taking children from low income families to Disneyland or some wonderful trip. She felt it was her gift back to God to give to children. So strongly did she feel this way, that she tutored children and adults for free in our Groveland Reading Clinic at the Zoo-phonics Inc. headquarters. To this day, adults will come up to me, remembering that Gigi taught them in Jamestown Elementary School. They always state, “She was my favorite teacher.”
Gigi died peacefully in September 2011 at the age of 83. Because Gigi’s dream had always been to teach children all over the world to read, her family established the Georgene "Gigi" Bradshaw Early-Childhood Education Fund for the advancement of early education through Zoo-phonics. This memorial will provide Zoo-phonics materials for children, domestically and abroad, and scholarships for children at Safari Learning® Academy in Sonora, California. Her passion for teaching will prevail in the hearts of many and through such contributions. Please know that your contribution is tremendously appreciated and will help Zoo-phonics to continue to “Teach the World to Read.” 100% of the funds will go directly to children. Thank you for helping.
A special thank you to our contributors!
Illustrator/Author, Zoo-phonics, Inc.
(1921 - 2010)
Irene Clark was born June 21, 1921, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the second daughter of John William and Sara Rafaela Adderley. Irene’s father, who was British, moved from London to Buenos Aires in 1912. Irene’s mother was born in Saltillo, Mexico, the daughter of General Jose Maria Mier, governor of the state of Jalisco.
Irene attended Belgrano Girls School, a preparatory school associated with England’s Cambridge University. As a young girl, Irene studied art, piano and tailoring, enjoyed reading and tennis, and taught in the Methodist church school. In the spring of 1941, Irene met Albert Clark, a young American FBI agent who was in South America on war assignment with the Special Intelligence Service. Their love grew and in March of 1944, Irene made the seven-day flight to San Francisco, Calif., where they were married in the chapel at Grace Cathedral. She first worked as a secretary for the Red Cross and then as a Spanish translation stenographer at the conference to establish the United Nations.
In July 1953, while living in Corte Madera, Irene became a United States citizen. Over the years she shared her joy of citizenship by helping others who were making the same decision.
Irene and Al raised three daughters, hiked and traveled extensively, and were active members of every community in which they lived. Irene was director of Christian Education at Redwoods Presbyterian Church when they lived in Larkspur, and the two of them helped found the Southern Tuolumne County Historical Society and Groveland Yosemite Gateway Museum when they “retired” to Groveland.
Irene was an accomplished, award-wining artist and long-standing member of the Marin Society of Artists. In the late 1970s, Irene began a new career as the original illustrator of Zoo-phonics. She was author of the Spanish version of Zoo-phonics. She also was author and co-illustrator of “Feathery Tales,” a children’s book about penguins, pelicans and quail.
Irene and Al moved to The Meadows of Napa Valley in 2003, where she assumed responsibility for Vespers, established a Bible Study for assisted living residents and continued to paint.
Irene’s abundant faith guided her life. She was a gentle spirit whose actions taught others to appreciate music and art, to see good in all people, to be adventurous and independent, and to enjoy the wonder of God’s beauty that surrounds us every day.
Irene died peacefully in April 2010.
Honoring her love of teaching and learning
Following Irene’s death, her family established the Irene Clark Early-Childhood Education Fund as a celebration of her life and as a tribute to the special joy she found in teaching and learning from children, teens and young adults. The goal is to use all contributions to the fund to advance early education through Zoo-phonics and the Safari Learning® Academy by providing funding for:
Once a year, Irene’s daughters will work with the staff of Zoo-phonics and Safari Learning® Academy to carefully consider requests for Zoo-phonics research funding and/or scholarships to the academy. Together they will evaluate and prioritize those requests, and will distribute 100 percent of all contributions received to date. We appreciate your contribution in Irene’s memory, which will help Zoo-phonics and the Academy continue to “Teach the World to Read.” Thank you!