When Nelson Mandela said in 1995, "our children are the rock on which our future will be built," his words imprinted themselves on the hearts of parents and educators across North America, who he encouraged to believe in the power of investing in our children.

Having grown up in a small town with small classrooms, where teachers got to know each their students individually, Brandy Simison believes like Mandela, in the importance of empowering younger generations for a brighter tomorrow.

Brandy Simison’s All-Star Academy
Brandy Simison’s All-Star Academy Brandy Simison’s All-Star Academy

And a large part of shaping children into the leaders they will become is the experiences they endure growing up, and the education they receive while in school. As someone who is passionate about helping children reach their full potential, and as a certified children's psychiatric rehabilitation practitioner, Simison believes that kids are best equipped for success when they are not only having fun learning, but also when they receive an education that is tailored to their own interests and abilities.

While employed as a children's psychiatric rehabilitation practitioner, Simison worked with kids in the home and at school to help them build important skills, such as coping skills, social skills, emotional regulation skills, and basic living skills.

"I would figure out what works for each child in order for them to thrive in their environment. If they were struggling in school, which most of my students were, I would go into the school and work with them there," she shares. "During that time, I saw how not only was the child that I was working with not doing the best that they could, and needed me for extra support, but that a lot of other students were also struggling," she continues.

In a big class of approximately 25 children or more, Simison explains that everyone gets the exact same work and while some children breeze right through it, others don't. They get distracted or require extra support, but their teacher is not able to tend them due to the nature of the class setting, and some students end up falling through the cracks.

"It really opened my eyes and reminded me of my childhood," Simison shares, speaking to the benefits of growing up in a small town. "My experience in school was a huge motivating factor for me, and my ultimate dream became to start a school that solves all of these shortcomings of the traditional education system," she continues.

In 2018, Simison made her dream a reality and foundedAll-Star Academy, a private education institution based in Preston, Washington, where her dedicated team of teachers and staff take a refreshing approach to student success.

"We really like resolving the main struggles that kids experience in their other schools," Simison says. "We've had kids come to us from other private schools with very expensive, targeted programs that didn't thrive there but really thrived with us," she adds.

Despite any child's struggles, All-Star Academy is able to get them to their current potential within six months. Whether a child is experiencing behavior struggles or more developmental challenges like ADHD, dyslexia, or auditory processing, the academy's teachers are trained to use restorative correction to resolve them as quickly as possible so the child can get back to learning and growing in the way that works best for them.

"Our teachers are trained in how to prevent that behavior from happening in the future, how to deal with it once it does happen, and which corrective coaching measures to take, and it's all done in a way where the child still feels seen, heard, and included," she says.

With small classes of up to eight students at a time, and with activities such as meditation, yoga, and horse riding a regular part of the curriculum, children are able to further their emotional intelligence skills in addition to their cognitive learning. This is something that the public education system has been unable to do, and All-Star Academy is challenging that.

With its cutting edge approach to education and student success, Simison and All-Star Academy provide children with the environment they need in order to succeed in school and beyond. As young people continue to be a beacon of hope for our future as a collective; driving our society forward towards innovation, creativity, sustainability, and growth, it's only right that we invest in their success in the best way possible.

Brandy Simison's school offers programs for infants, toddlers, and children up to age twelve, as well as extracurricular activities and summer camps.