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Jay Hockensmith

Director of Operations

I started preschool at Portland’s “Friendly House” community center in NW Portland. My mother was always very actively involved with parent/student activities with the intent to ensure I had the proper guidance and the best of resources. I then attended a K-8 school, where the teachers and parents were well connected which involved scouting, bowling, 4H etc. I felt very fortunate to have teachers who cared and coached me as an individual, where I excelled and maintained a near perfect grade point average.

High school was a different experience. During my first week of school I was picked on mentally and physically by a gang of troubled students, there was little to no school security, and eventually I had to defend myself. As a result I became labeled and rejected by the administration, teachers and counselors. Over time, I lost focus and interest, became bored with grade level content and lack of learning opportunities. Most of my peers were several grades ahead of me. I felt like I was that square peg being forced into a round hole, where the end result was failure. I was let down by my school as well as many other students around me. During my teenage years to my early twenties, I became full of mischief and lived hard lifestyle.

At the age of 23, I was fortunate enough to recognize a fork in the road presented in front of me where an opportunity arose. I knew I needed something better for myself and I wanted a successful life and career. With a the luck of the draw I made a correct decision that led me with the ability to utilize my talents through my future years of business successes and quality choices. I as well became highly successful in extreme sports with world record accomplishments.

In 2019, in the initial conversations when Shahla and I first met, I learned about the school she worked for, River HomeLink. I remember being utterly amazed that there was actually a public school that had the interest of the students and parents truly at heart with personalized learning programs and parent/teacher involvement with the learning plan. It was hard to digest because I had never seen this offered in a public school setting. I then became familiar with the staff Shahla worked with and the school’s principal through different events and gatherings. I was then invited by the principal for a comprehensive two-hour tour to see what the school was about.

In 2020, I attended the WALA (Washington Association for Learning Alternatives) conference with Shahla. There, I learned so much more about how schools can do things differently to serve children and families.

Now is when the story about Strike starts to come together! First of all, know that I’m in tears writing this as I do each and every time I tell this story. The scars from my youth relating to my failure in school due to a broken system were opened wide, and it’s very painful. I had buried and hid them away for years. I questioned why didn’t I and all the other children have this wonderful opportunity? Why doesn’t the public system offer more of this and model their system after similar practices which provide personalized educational plans utilizing the gifts and talents of the student along with direct parent involvement? Why are schools continuing to force a square peg in a round hole when there are many different needs and ways to learn that can be much more effective? These families and students are happy, thriving and highly successful within their educational experiences and their teachers and staff are fulfilling their dream of truly serving families.

Strike School has taken this method of learning to another level by offering a variety of options and an even more individualized approach to each student’s learning plan. It’s YOUR child and YOUR choice.

Strike School’s Learning Coaches are the very best out there; they work by your side to help you and your child with the best learning plan available today all while providing the strongest and most effective means of support throughout your journey.

I look back and wonder how different things might have been for me if I had a fulfilled educational journey. I always wonder how many adults walking around out there had a very similar, hurtful and life changing experience as I did, where their story ended up in tragedy, needlessly, when proper guidance in school would have made all the difference.

Strike School is here to make a difference. As a founder and director of Strike School, it is my privilege, from the heart, to use my experiences to lead and serve our students, families and staff in a way that provides the highest level of support to positively impact their lives forever.