PHOENIX, April 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Davis Guggenheim's award winning 2010 documentary "Waiting For Superman" opened many people's eyes to the ongoing failures of the American public education system and the systemic problems at their root.
Frustrated viewers may come away believing that it would take a superhero from another planet to solve these entrenched issues and government bureaucracy that prevents progress. But Trish McCarty, Founder and CEO of the StarShine Academy in Phoenix, has demonstrated the difference that a single committed voice—surrounded by an equally passionate Governing Board, dedicated staff and top quality teachers charged with turning a dream into a mission--can make in creating a model for a new generation of small community schools not only in the U.S., but also throughout the world.
In 2002, McCarty—co-founder and CEO of a bank whose assets grew from $50,000 to $128 million in only five years—left the security of the financial world, liquidated her 401K, and, with a generous donation from Kim and Robert Kiyosaki of RichDadPoorDad, opened a K-12 community learning center ("on the worst drive by shooting street in Phoenix") for high risk, inner-city Phoenix children to prove that, with the proper guidance and motivation, all children could embody the concept of learning to reach for the stars.
In line with those principles, StarShine Academy (which McCarty alternately calls "a creative community eco-village school" or "sustainable village K-12 school") creates transformational community schools by igniting and enabling the aspirations of children in at-risk communities. Dedicated to helping every child cultivate their unique talents and develop into a peaceful, productive and successful person, StarShine believes that a holistic approach to education is the best way to educate a child and ultimately improve the world. Their focus is on mind, body, spirit, health, wealth, and happiness. By focusing in on a child's uniqueness, they believe they can individualize this holistic approach for maximum results.
Ten years on, StarShine has more than simply the stats to prove that these concepts work. They have also been honored by the United Nations and many educational leaders.
The school has graduated over 200 students whom McCarty believes never would have done so under the public school system; many are the first in their families to do so. Some of these students' parents have enrolled and graduated as well. There are currently more than 256 enrolled in a carefully designed hands on educational process where no school will have more than 400.
In September 2004, the academy hosted an international art event for Peace with the United Nations Children Organization. Impacting the broader culture, McCarty and the Academy have been recognized with everything from a Governor's Award for having the most volunteers in an organization to an Interfaith Golden Rule Award to a Humanitarian Award from the Los Angeles Music Awards.
The "StarShine Effect" has spread to Sudan and Liberia (where they have set up actual schools), Canada and the UK. There is also a growing demand for StarShine's systems, strategies and technologies from China and India, which McCarty promises will be addressed as the Academy continues to grow in scope and vision.
For McCarty, part of the original inspiration behind the launch of StarShine was a cosmopolitan childhood that provided her with the innate ability to think globally. An Air Force brat, she was born in Frankfurt and spent a lot of time as a child in Tokyo; at thirteen, she served on the UN Children's board in that city.
In the late 90s, Arizona Governor Jane Hull ambitiously embarked on one of the first comprehensive state education initiatives in the United States. She tapped McCarty to apply her vast business skills to becoming a strategist to tackle the growing problems in the state's public system. Ultimately, her design for StarShine's program was inspired by her work as a consultant for Arizona's "Students First" initiative in 2001, which led a statewide effort to provide access to technology and educational software to all children.
In addition to overseeing the further construction and growth of the new Phoenix facility, McCarty and her Board have big plans for StarShine's immediate future: opening 11,000 schools over the next five years.
Read more at http://www.trishmccarty.com/newsandtestimonials.html
SOURCE Trish McCarty