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School History

Remembering Mr. Raymond D. Wilder

The City of Inglewood lost a gifted educator and community icon.  Raymond D. Wilder, founder of Wilder’s Preparatory Academy Charter School in Inglewood, passed away on June 23, 2013 and is resting in paradise.

Mr. Wilder was a man who lived to serve his community. He took pride in being a devoted husband of 54 years to his wife, Carolyn and a doting father to his daughter, Ramona.

He was a drum major for justice through education by helping all those around him to achieve their dreams through obtaining a quality education.   In fact, Inglewood Business Opportunity Network (IBON), Inglewood Today’s business network honored Mr. Wilder in conjunction with their annual Martin Luther King “Drum Major for Justice” Award.

Born March 1, 1941 in Warren, Arkansas, he was reared by his grandparents after his mother’s death. He attended the University of Arkansas at Pine Buff and later moved to Los Angeles, where he continued his education at the University of Southern California. His professional career began at Teledyne Western Wire and Cable as Manager of Wire Processing. In 1967, he longed to do more, and started his own business, Wilder’s Seafood Center.

In 1977, he became a licensed real estate agent and subsequently formed RACA Development Company, which specialized in developing quality, yet affordable homes, apartment complexes, condominiums, townhouses, and commercial buildings throughout his community.

In 1983, Mr. Wilder and his wife Dr. Carolyn Wilder founded a private pre-school, Tender Care Child Development Center. The Center serves approximately 180 children ages 2 – 5. Tender Care is far more than child care. The program offers a curriculum-based approach to learning and fun. It is specifically designed to prepare children for a complete educational experience prior to elementary school.

In 1988, Tender Care Kindergarten was established to address the needs of children graduating pre-school and entering Kindergarten and accommodates 60 students. As students progressed, the demand for higher-grade levels increased, Tender Care Elementary was established in 1994. In 1999, Tender Care Elementary was renamed “Wilder’s Preparatory Academy” serving grades K-8.

Mr. Wilder’s vision for Wilder’s Preparatory Academy expanded to a 50,000 square foot state of the art facility built with inner city student in mind. It features 30 large classrooms, three computer labs, a library, art room, indoor gym, media lab, science lab, and a study hall. The students receive an accelerated curriculum, which prepares them for college.

In August of 2011, Wilder’s Preparatory Academy Charter School was named one of the Top 10 Charter Schools in the State of California. A report published by the University of Southern California acknowledged Wilder’s Preparatory Academy Charter School out of 800 charter schools across the State of California. Wilder’s Preparatory Academy Charter School was the only school in Los Angeles county to be among the top 10. Currently, we are ranked number 9,  and was ranked  by USCs highest combined ratings.

Wilder’s Preparatory Academy Charter School has also been honored to receive recognition as being a “Title 1 Academic Achievement Award School” for 5 consecutive years by the Department of Education, State of California. In 2013, Wilder’s Preparatory Academy Charter Middle School was awarded the California Distinguished School Award, and the School Charter was renewed for another 5 years by the IUSD. In 2014 Wilder’s Preparatory Academy Charter Elementary School was awarded the California Distinguished School Award.

Raymond D. Wilder’s commitment to community service and education has been recognized by dozens of organizations and government agencies, locally and nationally.  His life inspired others to dream big dreams.  It was his way of giving back to Inglewood, the community he loved. His Legacy continues through the hard work of his wife, daughter, staff, students and parents of Wilder’s Preparatory Academy Charter School.