"I think the concept of PSCS is pretty simple: Supportive Environment + Interesting People = Healthy Students."
—Andy Smallman, PSCS co-founder
Puget Sound Community School (PSCS) was founded in 1994 by Andy Smallman and Melinda Shaw—with the help of an incredibly dedicated and trusting group of parents—on the premise that, when provided a loving and nurturing school environment and no mandatory academic classes or standardized tests, young people will learn everything they need to lead happy, productive lives.
Kindness has been a consistent part of the school environment since the school began and Andy offered dozens of kindness-related activities over the years. He introduced the concept of "appreciations" at PSCS in the 1990s, something that became and continues to be a focused part of the school day and our graduation ceremonies.
Melinda was responsible for designing the school's administrative structure and the initial presentation of the school to the community. She tracked every penny of the schools income and implemented all of the systems that helped PSCS become an approved middle and high school, as well as a 501(c)3 nonprofit.
Melinda retired from PSCS in 2017 after 23 years as the school's Administrative Director to explore her curiosity and creativity. Andy retired from PSCS in 2018 after 24 years as the school's Director. He regularly receives calls and emails from people, most commonly educators, all over the world who want to talk to him about implementing a "kindness curriculum" in schools.
Andy and Melinda, who have been married since 1990, now live in the Bay Area with their dog, Bentsen. They have two daughters, still in Seattle, both of whom are PSCS alumnae. Ella '15, graduated from the Oregon Culinary Institute in 2017 and now works for local bakery, Lady Yum. Chloe '10, graduated from Quest University in 2015 and is currently working toward a master's degree in Elementary School Counseling from Seattle University.