‘Scaly Mom’ earns hall-of-fame award from BCOE
Tanya Curren ’95 was one of seven distinct individuals to receive a Clarice C. and Leland H. Bagwell College of Education (BCOE) Hall of Fame Award at Kennesaw State University this year. The inaugural 2018 hall-of-fame class was recognized in a ceremony held inside the Chantal and Tommy Bagwell Education Building on March 22.
“I just couldn’t think of a more deserving person,” said Tanya’s husband and nominator Rick Curren ’94. “So, I had to email it, brag on her and send it in, and that’s how that happened.”
Tanya Curren said of her honor, “Honestly, it’s still very very surreal to be in such esteemed company.”
Both Tanya and Rick Curren grew up in Cobb County and earned degrees from KSU in the mid-1990s. Tanya received her Bachelor of Science in early childhood education while Rick acquired a Bachelor of Arts in international affairs.
What primarily led to Tanya’s induction into the Bagwell College of Education’s Hall of Fame was her work as a television personality, motivational speaker and media entrepreneur. After establishing Boundless Limits International with Rick about nine years ago, she has served as director of education for the broadcast TV series “Scaly Adventures” since 2012.
“We founded Boundless Limits International, which is our 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, in 2009 out of a desire to encourage and empower families,” Tanya Curren said. “So we knew we wanted to do that, and this was far before we ever had even a snake. We were hosting Christian television, ‘Atlanta Live,’ right here out of Atlanta on WATC-TV, and we were hosting up in Greenville (South Carolina), near where we live on WGGS channel 16. So, we were hosting TV but felt like we wanted to do something bigger with our lives and that we’ve had this calling.”
An inspiring audio CD was the first work of Boundless Limits International.
“Our first product was when I recorded my story,” Tanya Curren said. “In 2004, I was in a coma and doctors had come to Rick, when (son) Pierce was 4 at the time, and said I had about two hours left to live. So, I describe that horrendous life change, just an unexpected blow out of the blue, in ‘Broken Places,’ my audio story. We share how you get through that as a family, as a marriage, as parents, and how you can take a tragedy and overcome it and make something good with it.”
Other productions followed, including online articles at liveguiltfree.org and a book titled, “On Course: Strategies For Successful Living.” As Boundless Limits International continued to grow, eventually “Scaly Adventures” came about.
“I’ve homeschooled Pierce his whole life, so we’re just big believers of jumping into your child’s passion with them,” Tanya Curren said. “That’s like the heart of everything with ‘Scaly Adventures’ and everything we do, just living life together and having fun.”
Pierce, now 17, discovered his true love of nature one day as a youngster in his family’s yard and from there, all three of the Currens began a new journey.
“Rick found a snake in the yard while he was mowing and he brought it in and it was like a lightbulb went off in our child,” Tanya Curren said. “He (Pierce) researched it and kept it for a year – this little snake he named Chester that looked like a worm because it was so little. But we were just paying attention to that and were like, ‘Wow, that’s interesting, this child is definitely born to work with animals and reptiles are his thing.’”
From there, the family developed a website about the youngest Curren’s fascination and eventually “Pierce’s Scaly Adventures” was born, starting with a YouTube channel.
While the Currens were doing Atlanta Live, a producer was interested in using some of their “Scaly Adventures” footage as filler spots around its children’s programming. The popularity of those videos grew and a new TV series was born.
“Scaly Adventures” is completely filmed, edited, produced and distributed by the three members of the Curren family. An educational/informational television series, it now reaches six continents and can be seen every day of the week somewhere in the world.
“Originally, it’s totally centered around Pierce,” Rick Curren said. “But very quickly, we had kids coming up to us, and parents, saying, ‘We love that you do this as a family.’ So, we said we need to be more visible in the show as a family, as a mom and as a dad, so that we show a normal, average American family doing adventures, and it was our way to encourage parents to be involved in kids’ lives.”
On “Scaly Adventures,” the Currens travel to different locations to profile exotic animals and adventure-type entertainment. The family-friendly programming covers topics that include STEM and STEAM, life sciences, ecosystems, conservation, scientific method, positive self-esteem, anti-drug messaging and anti-bullying.
“It is called ‘Scaly Adventures’ because we first started with reptiles, but we have filmed an eye surgery on a gibbon ape, we have swam with manatees in the water, and we’ve gone underground to film bats with the white-nose syndrome, so it’s every kind of animal you could imagine,” said Tanya Curren, also known as “Scaly Mom.”
“We’ve also for four years now featured law enforcement because we felt like law enforcement was being maligned in our country,” Rick Curren said. “We understand there are problems in every municipality, but these are good, honest, hard-working people and we felt like children weren’t seeing first responders and people who work in the community every day being honored. So, we filmed with law enforcement officers and canines. We’ve been with everything from the police department’s K-9 unit here in Marietta, we’ve all three put on the canine bite suit and we’ve been with the SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team, and things like that. We’re just passionate about getting kids to see what they can do for their community and how they can support the heroes of that community.”
Outside of her work with “Scaly Adventures,” Tanya Curren is an active member of the National Speakers Association and talks to groups across the country.
“We do motivational speaking on leadership and overcoming fear, and following your passion and your purpose and your dreams,” Tanya Curren said. “We have a website called rickandtanya.com and that’s the motivational side of it.”
Tanya Curren knew pretty early in her life that she wanted to pursue education and attend KSU.
“Actually when we moved here – my parents still live in Powder Springs – when I was 7, I always knew I was going to go to Kennesaw,” she said. “I didn’t apply anywhere else. I knew I was going to go to Kennesaw and be a teacher, and I did that. I was so directed and motivated, and Kennesaw has an excellent, stellar education program and so I’m very proud to have a degree from here.”
A former national board-certified teacher, Tanya Curren began her career at a private school in Miami shortly after marrying Rick. She later taught in a public school system in South Carolina.
The Curren family currently resides just outside of Greenville. Both Tanya and Rick moved to Cobb County at young ages and are graduates of McEachern High School and Lassiter High School, respectively.
Married in August 1995, Tanya and Rick first met as students at KSU.
“Literally, I went out on one date with her and we’ve been together for 25 years now,” said Rick Curren, a 16-year veteran of the United States Army.
Besides getting his degree and finding the love of his life at Kennesaw State, Rick Curren enjoyed his experience as a student after finishing military duties in Germany.
“I look back on those times very fondly because I feel like I got a top-notch education,” he said. “There were top-notch faculty.”
Tanya and Rick Curren stay connected to their alma mater in many ways. They have used student interns through a partnership with the Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business (MEBUS) program and will be back on campus to speak to local elementary students at the upcoming Georgia Science Olympiad on May 12. They were also presenters at the same event in 2016.
“We’re very proud to be from here and we love to share with students,” Tanya Curren said. “In fact, when we did go back to MEBUS and were sharing with the students, we were talking about their passion and taking it from just a hobby or interest and making it into a career where you’re impacting the world in a positive way. So, we’ve spoken to students here and look forward to doing more of that.”
By following their son’s passion, Tanya and Rick Curren have influenced and impacted many people, mostly children, over the past few years with their inspiring messages and extraordinary entertainment. Kennesaw State is extremely proud of them.