In the late 1970s, Stacey McEnnan saw a gap in the educational system: Schools provided few programs to satisfy the needs of gifted children, especially before students reached middle school. Believing that these pull-out programs were “too little and too late,” and that gifted children needed an entirely different approach, she started the Alexandria Academy.
The school heavily emphasizes one-on-one mentorship between students and teachers; it also groups students with their intellectual (rather than chronological) peers. Instead of following a curriculum based on age, teachers asses students’ needs in each subject area and apply the needed curriculum. After starting the school, McEnnan found that her approach benefited not just gifted children, but also students with all kinds of special needs. Now the Alexandria Academy serves a wide variety of students from ages 5 to 24.
McEnnan successfully launched her school and has increased revenue each year. She has partnered with independent contractors in four different states, with the goal of eventually having a location in every state.
SCORE mentors Robert Machon and Harry Croner encouraged McEnnan to attend a SCORE social media and marketing workshop to help spread the word about her business. They also helped her find professionals who could address her questions about taxes, business management, and growth.
McEnnan advises other small business owners: “Believe in yourself! If you know you have a good idea, have courage and go with it. My mentors believed in me and gave me the confidence to continue, even when I felt overwhelmed.”