Welcome to WWGSA!
Our Director's Bio
Sharon Hoekstra is the founder and owner of World Wide Gold Star Academics (WWGSA), a company specializing in academic support and guardianship for high school and undergrad students. In the early 90's her determination to raise her only daughter, while remaining a stay-at-home mom and a professional career woman, was becoming a reality. As the owner of her own Graphic Design and Marketing firm, Sharon was nationally recognized for her accomplishments and her story was featured in "First for Women"* magazine. Over the next 15 years she developed strong business connections, both locally and internationally, while staying true to her original goals. Her daughter successfully graduated high school, in the top 30 of her class, and received a 4 year Presidential scholarship to pursue her computer sciences degree in a top American University.
In 2005, Sharon co-developed and managed a foreign national immersion and on boarding program in major corporations. In 2007, while serving on the Board of Directors at a private high school, she was introduced to the industry of international students studying long-term in American high schools. Her expertise in Corporate Immersion was a welcomed asset to the high school's international program. She also began hosting a student from South Korea and has subsequently hosted students from other countries such as China, Germany, Spain and India. Her work with international students has allowed her to develop life-long relationships with families from around the world. She took this opportunity to raise her daughter to embrace diversity, learn about other cultures and explore endless possibilities available to her in the world. Her daughter had the opportunity to travel to foreign countries and even studied for a month abroad one summer with her student "brothers & sisters".
Throughout Sharon's career, she has learned that honesty, integrity, loyalty and dedication are crucial to developing long-lasting relationships. Her passion for international business has given her the opportunity to work with hundreds of children, families and organizations from around the world. In 2011, she was nominated for her accomplishments in her professional career by Cambridge Who's Who. Sharon is published in the "CT Women's Journal" as an expert in her field, and appears frequently on the Ashford Publishing Radio talk show, discussing the rewards and challenges of developing international student programs in America.
Sharon has piloted WWGSA to the top by staying true to her philosophy of educating the whole child, rather than just the mind, and helping them learn the necessary skills to be successful throughout their life. Her commitment and dedication to children, for nearly two decades, is a true example of why she is successful in the industry, and why she will forever be known to so many as "International Mama".
*Hogan, Mary, and Sharon LaRose, "I bartered my way to success" First for Women; Sep 1996; p.60.
World Wide Gold Star Academics (WWGSA) vows to enrich the minds of children from around the world. Academic standards for entry into American universities and colleges are at an all time high. WWGSA Academic Trainers are highly qualified professionals, with years of experience in their discipline, as well as years of working as educators and mentors in the American education system. WWGSA has also been successful at demonstrating that working together as a team helps educate the whole child, not just the mind. WWGSA has remained loyal and committed, to maintaining balance and support, while introducing and implementing international student programs to local private schools, for the past 5 years.
WWGSA offers academic assistance in such areas as Study Skills, Academic Immersion Training, subject specific tutoring, SAT, ACT, SAT 2, TOEFL and ESL programs. Students' futures, whether born in America or abroad, depend on creating unique strategies when applying to universities. WWGSA is committed to helping students explore the depths of their minds to help them create their own path toward their ultimate success.
Included in the WWGSA repertoire is a full guardianship support system for international students designed to educate the whole child, not just the mind. This dynamic approach to educating International students is crucial to their success in adapting to American society, acquiring mastery level fluency in the English language, as well as gaining the confidence necessary to achieve their academic goals.
Our international student program offers local team leaders who provide 24/7 social and academic support, creating a sense of peace and security for our students, international parents, local host families and schools.
WWGSA President, Sharon Hoekstra, has worked with children for over 25 years. In the past 8 years, she has created a wave of honesty, trust and loyalty within the international business society and developed life-long international relationships with business professionals, children, families and schools. Her dedication to international students has earned her the honorable name of "International Mama" by children from around the world. Her open mindedness has lead to discovering what these amazing children, families, schools and international relationships have to offer; and is fundamental to her personal success and continued fast-paced growth in the industry.
WWGSA looks forward to building a strong foundation that will support our relationship well into the future with organizations, families, agencies and children throughout the world.
Sharon Hoekstra, President
World Wide Gold Star Academics