My guest today is an early childhood business powerhouse, whom I have yet to meet in person but who has inspired me and many others in the field. Marnie Forestieri is Chief Learning Officer and Co-Founder at Amazing Explorers Academy in Florida, which she helped build from the ground up and now has two busy and thriving locations. She tells us about her journey, how STEM folds into her mission of innovation and problem-solving in early childhood, and the group approach and empowerment process of hiring new teachers, all the way up to the onboarding process. Marnie brought her professional expertise outside of early childhood and embraced it to start her own game and ultimately change some of the rules. I love how Marnie promotes from within and helps groom her own for more leadership and success.
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Key Takeaways From This Podcast:
Marnie moved to the United States 10 years ago as an investor, and first purchased a franchise for almost a decade. She found three things that told her she had a different calling: the need to innovate, to introduce STEM toys, and the opportunity to bridge a gap between the educators and business people.
Her first step to opening Amazing Explorers Academy was a lot of research and travel to try to come up with comparisons in other countries. She knew it had to be tailored to the needs and standards of our countries. Her reporter background helped in creating the framework of what needed to be done.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is becoming the new trend in education. By the time children are in third grade, one-third of the boys and girls have lost their interest in these topics.
They are opening nine more schools this year. Marnie shares how their innovative and group approach to the interview process and intensive training for new hires makes sure they are empowered and held accountable.
Every part of what Amazing Explorers Academy does needs to have accountability, children’s assessments, or a KPI.
Marnie believes in leading by example and that their biggest asset is the people that make up the business.
Amazing Explorers Academy has a bright future and is on the path to growing into new states and markets. They are opening their first prototype in Lake Nona, Florida, which is an area known for innovation.
According to Marnie, teachers are rockstars. Anyone that spends a whole day with a bunch of two-year-olds knows it’s not an easy job!