In October 1990, Stacey Willms was seven months pregnant and was teaching at Elm Grove Elementary in Kingwood. She told her husband Jeff that she wanted to start giving dance lessons - just about one to two hours a week. So she contacted a karate school and rented space at $20 per hour for two hours a week.
With that start, Stacey’s Dance Studio opened with 15 students - most of whom were Stacey’s elementary school students. Word spread and seven months later, Stacey had about 50 students. So she took the next leap of faith and quit her school job to offer more classes. For the first four years, Stacey shared a lease with the karate school. It wasn’t until her first child started school that Stacey knew she needed some help.
Stacey prayed for nearly seven months wanting to do the right thing for her family first, then the studio. She found Tonya Thompson like a “needle in a haystack”. At the time, Tonya was an instructor at the Las Vegas High School of Performing Arts. Tonya wanted to move back home to Houston; Stacey need someone to help with the studio class load. Tonya wanted to be closer to her family; Tonya gave Stacey more time at home with her young family (she now had three children). It was a match made in heaven.
The studio grew by leaps and bounds. Step by step, Stacey added space to the “shopping center space” the studio occupied. Next, Stacey added another full-time instructor to the staff - Amanda Everett. Amanda was one of Stacey’s first students. She grew up in the studio, was an assistant teacher all through high school and was mentored by Stacey and Tonya. She emerged as a gifted instructor and one that holds her students in the palm of her hand.
Stacey’s began to run out of room and began turning students away. It was time for more prayer. One morning in October 2003, Stacey prayed that “if” she was supposed to do something more with the studio that she needed “bells and whistles” to go off as dance instruction had always been just a “hobby” for her. Not more than four hours after that prayer, a pipe broke inside the studio wall and flooded the studio with about four inches of water. The plumber told Stacey that the pipe had been leaking in the wall for at least a year, but it just decided to burst that day! Stacey took that as a sign to find a new studio.
She didn’t have to go far. Everyone she needed to help her start a new studio was already connected with the studio. Bill Kenny a long-time family friend, who had two daughters grow up at the studio, was selected as the “builder.” Michelle Parnell, vice president of Wells Fargo Bank and a studio mom, handled all the banking needs. John Cossum, a lawyer and the dad of two students, took care of all the legal business.
It was time to go shopping for land. Stacey says she feels that the land she selected was saved just for her, as it sits off a main street in Kingwood, but on its own little cul de sac. Step by step with a lot of prayer the studio evolved into a state-of-the-art 16,000 square-foot dance studio. It is now the home to the national champion Kingwood Stutters dance team and studio dancers from18 months old through high school.
When Stacey walks into the beautiful facility, she still pinches herself and feels this is a dream. “I am just one little person who has a passion and love for children and dance,” says Stacey. “God continues to bless me with amazing children and families.” Stacey credits her success to those who circle around her and run the studio.
From a top notch office staff to talented and gifted instructors, Stacey’s is entwined with women who love what they do and who are good at it! When asked if she feels overwhelmed with the load and responsibility, Stacey replies: “Each day, I hand over the studio and the business to the Lord of the Universe. I am running it for Him. He gives me strength, confidence and energy. To Him be all the GLORY!”