BRADENTON, FL – Ave Maria Preparatory School, the only school that serves students ages 6-22 with special learning needs in Sarasota, Manatee, Desoto and Hardee counties, is undergoing major changes. The school is being renamed The McKay Academy and Goodwill Manasota will assume business management.
Established in 2004, the school serves youths from elementary through high school with conditions including autism, attention deficit disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, Tourette syndrome, and bipolar disorders. The McKay Academy is committed to providing a dignified and innovative learning experience for students with diverse abilities. It is a non-graded school, offering a standard or special diploma, determined individually at the end of middle school. The school is fully accredited through the Association of Independent Schools of Florida and the National Council for Private School Accreditation.
Classes at the McKay Academy are designed to both challenge students and teach to individual needs. Orton Gillingham Intensive Reading, Touch Math and Saxon Math Programs are combined with a fine arts curriculum as well as college preparatory classes. In addition, The McKay Academy provides career and transitional education, introducing all ages of students to a variety of employment opportunities and skills for the workplace.
“Ave Maria has long been close to our hearts at Goodwill because we believe everyone who wishes to learn and work should have the opportunity. We are dedicated to assisting Sister Gilchrist, who has dedicated 50-plus years to help children reach their fullest ability,” said Goodwill Manasota president and CEO Bob Rosinsky. “We are very fortunate to have a strong board of directors with numerous years of experience with the emotional and academic challenges of students with learning challenges and utilizes that experience in providing the most suitable education for McKay students.”
Sister Gilchrist Cottrill will continue in her role as director of the school, Pawel Lipinski is the principal, and Yamuel Perez is the assistant director.
“This school and its wonderful staff should be in the dictionary under the word ‘dedication’,” said parent Norma Kramer. “They never give up on a child. Sister Gilchrist is knowledgeable, kind, and cares about each student. This school is truly deserving of the whole community’s support and recognition.”
Goodwill has long been committed to advocating on behalf of and employing individuals with disabilities. Its Supported JobsPlus program supports employment for team members with significant disabilities, who face much higher rates of unemployment than those without disabilities. More than 12 percent of Goodwill Manasota’s 800-employee workforce has some type of disability; 80 percent have some kind of barrier to self-sufficiency.
Board members of the McKay Academy are; Margie Genter, Goodwill Manasota; Bob Rosinsky, Goodwill Manasota; Bruce Navarro, attorney; Eric Tridas, pediatrician; George Carlo, academician; John McKay, NDC Construction and former president of the Florida Senate; Paul Chapman, Longwood University; Veronica Brandon Miller, Goodwill Manasota Foundation; Sister Gilchrist Cottrill, The McKay Academy; and Bob Stanell, CS&L CPAs.
For further information about the McKay Academy, call (941) 840-5331 or go to themckayacademy.org.
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2016, Goodwill Manasota served 28,207 people, placed 755 people in jobs and assisted 240 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $92.1 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted more than 40 million pounds out of the landfill. We accomplish our mission through a network of Good Neighbor Centers in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties and our Mission Development Services (MDS) around North America. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota, in essence, belongs to this community and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org.