The Well STEAM and Literacy Center: A Community Gem


For the last eight years, The Well STEAM and Literacy Center has provided the Pampa community educational assistance and enrichment, focusing on the needs of kids who may need further assistance on top of their existing education, whether through the public, private or homeschooled sector, and gives an alternative and individualized approach to academic excellence.

Director of The Well, Paul Rayburn, explained that The Well acts as a support system to not only families and their kids, but also to the schools by assisting existing students who are struggling, whether it be in specific coursework or in their general setting.

Rayburn understands that every kid is different in the way they adapt, learn and retain information, so his main goal is to guide a student toward scholastic achievement using a variety of methods to fit a child’s educational needs.   

“We want to be a resource to families no matter what their education setting is and so we want to help public, private and homeschooled kiddos,” Rayburn said.

Working in the public school sector as a science teacher for five years and a math teacher for two years, Rayburn’s expertise in the two most difficult fields of study for kids led him to embark on a new career path tutoring struggling students: a journey that started with just one tutoring session over a soda at The Coffee Shop.

“I was on staff at Redeemer when I left the Junior High, and one day I got a call for someone who needed math tutoring because they heard that I was still in town and that I taught math. And initially I told folks no, but I started to get that call multiple times and one day I finally said yes. The first student that I tutored was over at The Coffee Shop and that was in October of 2015. By February, we opened our space in Las Pampas Square and I had 23 students.”

When The Well first opened its doors, they primarily focused on tutoring math in the evenings and then three years later partnered with Open Books Literacy Center, directed by Brittany Martin who tutored reading.

Aside from tutoring math and reading, The Well also focused on the core studies of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math); studies for which The Well’s name is inspired. 

“We wanted to honor our community and the part of the world we live in and highlight the fact that math, science and engineering are related to what we do here. So the pump jack and all of the oil industry for that matter, from pumping out of the ground to delivering where it needs to go-all of that depends on good, solid math, science and engineering. So we figured the pump jack and the oil well was a good connection between our folks here and what we’re trying to do.”

After moving to downtown Pampa three years ago, The Well and Open Books combined, creating an educational powerhouse and has since expanded their curriculum and services.

“There are three facets to what we do here. The first is tutoring in the evenings, primarily for math and reading. The second is all of our summer programs that we offer. And the third is the day-time offerings that we call flex-schooling. The idea behind flex-schooling is that you can choose any amount of classes or electives. So if you’re a homeschooled family, you can send your kid here for one or two electives or core classes, or if you’re elementary or in middle school and you want to just do half-day school, you can do that or you can do full-time here as well.”

The Well offers 40 summer programs for kids from pre-k to 12th grade that range from chemistry camps, robotics, 3D printing, science programs, book clubs and art camps, just to name a few.  

With a group of talented and experienced tutors and instructors well-versed in every range of study, families can take comfort in knowing that their kids are receiving the highest degree of education. 

“We have folks that have experience in the public school, homeschool and private school environments and we love that because everyone brings a different perspective, knowledge and expertise to the table.”

“We’re very selective with our hiring and our folks have a very wide range of background experiences and education levels. Some of them have Masters Degrees, some have college degrees and some have a little bit of coursework. But the thing that I’m really looking for is someone who really has a desire to help kids and has that natural gift of teaching. Once we’ve identified those two characteristics, we do most of our training in-house.”

While there is always a need for tutors and instructors outside of the often heavily regulated school system, the Covid pandemic turned that need into a demand, and The Well answered the call.   

“When Covid hit, for the emerging readers, the kids who were just learning to read, their fluency level and comprehension really suffered and not just in Pampa, but all over the country. So for a kindergartener or a first grader, we started to see those gaps accentuated two or three years later, so our reading tutoring really picked up because there were so many kids who needed help and were so behind.”

Paul Rayburn and every member of The Well take into account that every child is unique and having an alternative channel to support that child’s specific needs is crucial in their academic development.

“Education is not a one-size-fits-all, so you have to make the right decision for your family and your kid, and we’re happy to be one of those options.”

For more information about The Well STEAM and Literacy Center, call 806-486-1971 or visit