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St. Louis Voices Academy of Media Arts won its charter from the Missouri State Board of Education in January, putting it one step closer to opening a high-quality elementary school in north St. Louis. The public charter school will use media arts and storytelling to equip students to excel academically, author their own futures, and make meaningful contributions in their communities.

Photo of Dr. Hollie Russell-West

Dr. Hollie Russell-West

Dr. Hollie Russell-West, an Entrepreneur-in-Residence with The Opportunity Trust, is the founder and executive director of the school. It will be governed by an independent board. Dr. Russell-West brings more than 20 years of experience in urban education. She started her career as a substitute teacher, then went on to serve as a special education teacher, a high school assistant principal, and an elementary school principal in St. Louis Public Schools.

“As an educator and life-long St. Louisan, I’m looking forward to working with our families to open a school that will be responsive and rigorous for our children,” Dr. Russell-West said. “We will create a school with a culture of excellence. I’m committed to raising the bar for children in our city and the individuals who serve them.”

Iris Fitzpatrick, a parent, is eager to have a new public school option in her neighborhood. “I’m really excited about sending my daughter to St. Louis Voices Academy,” Ms. Fitzpatrick said. “She needs a school that will let her personality shine. St. Louis Voices Academy will be a great fit for her.”

St. Louis Voices Academy of Media Arts will enroll up to 121 kindergarteners and first graders in its first year and add one grade level a year through fifth grade, and is free and open to all via lottery. It will grow to serve approximately 505 students in grades K-5. The school is in the process of securing a site.