We had the good fortune of connecting with Corinna Goold and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Corinna, what matters most to you?
I would say the value and principle that matters most to us in our business is service. Our family spent 20 years serving in the military for our country. We did this with a sense of honor, of deep connection to the goodness of our fellow countrymen, and with a hope for a great future for the next generations. We carry this same principle of service into our academic coaching business now. We have found that success for us lies in the success of others. Nothing makes us happier than to be able to serve.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Mainstay Academics was born out of a need in our community to help kids. My friend, Jessica, came to me in the early summer of 2020 and asked if I could help guide a struggling student through some summer-time remedial work. The Covid-19 pandemic had caused students to work from home in the spring of 2020 and lots of parents were concerned about the learning loss that their children were experiencing. Encouraging students to read and write was something I had been doing with my own kids and their friends for years. That summer-time collaboration turned into a full-time job as more and more parents were reaching out to us after hearing about the successes with each student we worked with.
My friend became my business partner and we began to build Mainstay Academics in an effort to serve as many families as we could. I had lots of experience working with kids who struggled with academics, cheering them on, encouraging them, and helping them find the tools that work best for them to get their work done. However, I had no experience building a business. What a learning curve! Thankfully, my husband, Billy, holds an MBA and was just as excited to help structure and run the business-side of Mainstay as I was to figure out the best way to help a student learn. With Billy at the business helm, Jessica strong in math and science, and me with a love of history and humanities, we felt that we could be really helpful and serve. We quickly discovered that the need was so great, that we would have to find more people to join us in this mission.
Mainstay started with a core group of academic coaches who were solid in their subjects and passionate about serving students, especially in light of the difficult educational situation during the pandemic. We were thrilled to work with amazing teachers and coaches who brought light and levity, curiosity and interest, back to academics. I think this is one of the main things that sets us apart from traditional tutoring/coaching businesses. We really specialize in sparking that dormant natural curiosity and interest in students. Even in subjects that students really struggle with, we can see the pride and excitement at the completion of each assignment, each course, each grade.
Looking ahead, we hope to grow beyond our physical limitations and operations in San Diego County and bring more academic coaching to students across the country and the world. In this effort, we have partnered with a wonderful online learning platform, Bridgeway Academy, an accredited homeschool academy. We feel that this partnership gives us the ability to offer each family the most flexible and individualized education program. Families who have been unhappy with education in other arenas have found a lot of satisfaction and joy in seeing their students succeed with Mainstay coaches and Bridgeway curriculum and credits.
We are learning every day about how to be the best versions of ourselves, our business, and how to serve the greater community. We are growing and working to respond to the needs presented to us. It still seems like a massive learning curve, but I love being able to go through the growing process alongside our students and let them see what struggle, change, and commitment looks like. Hopefully it inspires them to think outside of the box and find ways to serve others as well.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We are so fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful cities in our country! San Diego is known for its great weather and plenty of outdoor activities. There really is something for everyone here. Although San Diego is California’s second largest city, living here feels like it’s a much tighter community than that. Things are accessible and enjoyable.
We often have family and friends come in to visit and we get to play tourist in our own city. There are a few spots that we always go and everyone enjoys.
1. Balboa park is beautiful. You can go for the day and walk around looking at the gorgeous architecture, pack a picnic lunch and eat along the lily pond and then walk through the botanical building. And if you want to enhance your day, there are some really great museums to check out, like the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, and a particular favorite, the Japanese Friendship Gardens. For history buffs, check out the military story of Balboa Park, as well.
2. Liberty Station and the Public Market. This place is a family favorite because it is located on what used to be the Navy’s bootcamp base in San Diego. There are pictures all over this area of the military and what they used to do there. Now shops and eateries abound! The Public Market is fun because it reminds us of the Seattle Pike’s Place Market on a much smaller scale and there are so many different food choices! We like the spinach and feta empanadas there.
3. Old Town San Diego. We love Old Town for it’s history and delicious food! There are museums to walk through, shops to discover, and live music on the weekends at the restaurants. This is a great place to walk around and be transported back in time. The mango margarita and cheese tamales at Barra Barra are worth it.
4. La Jolla and the Tide Pools. La Jolla is a beautiful coastal town with the most incredible views. People travel from all over to see the sea lions, kayak in the caves, and explore the tide pools. If you get tired of the ocean views (gasp!) there are plenty of art galleries, boutique stores, and restaurants to enjoy.
5. The USS Midway. My husband is a retired US Navy diver and the history of the military is all over San Diego. Our family loves to go to the USS Midway and listen to the docents tell us stories about military life and what life is like on an aircraft carrier. Most of the docents are retired military veterans and if you ask them questions, they will share amazing little bites of history and personal experiences. It is a wonderful way to get to know San Diego, the US military, and the type of valor that those who serve display.
6. Mount Soledad Memorial. At the top of Mount Soledad there is a military memorial with plaques honoring those who have served their country. In addition to this moving monument, the views from Mount Soledad are unmatched. You can see in all four directions, from Torrey Pines in the north, Marine Corps Base Miramar to the east, and even downtown San Diego to the south. Looking out to the west is the beautiful Pacific Ocean where you can often sea sailboats floating along like moths on the water. It’s a lovely place take a deep breath, bring a book, and slow down.
7. Coronado. One of our favorite places to go for a family bike ride is Coronado. Just across the Coronado Bay Bridge is the cutest little town full of Americana and home to the Naval Station North Island community where our aircraft carriers are pier side. We love to ride our bikes along the shorefront, giving us an amazing view of the downtown San Diego cityscape. The island is very biking friendly and when you need to take a break, stop at Saiko sushi for a yummy roll before you finish your ride. Coronado is home to the famous Hotel Del Coronado. It is a beautiful building with plenty of history. Did you know that Marilyn Monroe filmed scenes from “Some Like it Hot” there?
8. Mission Bay. The vast bay park is full of picnickers, jet skiers, and sail boaters. There are impressive kite-flyers, big grassy areas, playgrounds, and fire pits for evening bonfires. This is a San Diego hot spot, with walkers, runners, and bikers taking advantage of the miles of paved trail around the bay. The views are beautiful, the breeze is lovely, and the sense of community is great. You will often see birthday parties and any number of other celebrations that families are enjoying together as they sit on the spongy grass under palm trees.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Both my husband and I were blessed to be raised in families that valued hard work, discipline, and a connection to God. Our mothers were involved at home and worked to guide us to discover our strengths. There were atypical needs in both of our families, so we grew up seeing challenges, differences, and the love that it takes to help everyone succeed.
As our children came along, we encountered Asperger’s, ADHD, and other co-morbid challenges. My husband and I worked to incorporate the same compassion and dogged, never-quit spirit our mothers displayed in times of difficulty when we ourselves were growing up. Our kids taught us in a very real way that each individual is unique, special, and valuable. We learned that there is no child who can’t learn, succeed, and thrive if given the right support. It was a huge learning curve, but I am forever grateful to our children for helping me to work on myself and strive to be better every day.
Rabbi Daniel Lapin has been a huge influence in our lives and family. For years we have learned from him not only about family dynamics and faith, but also how business is directly tied to these important issues. I had never seen myself as an entrepreneur until Rabbi Lapin taught on the subject. Through his guidance and teachings, we have felt encouraged, challenged, and infused with purpose. I would encourage anyone to check out his podcast and teachings at rabbidaniellapin.com
Photo by Dana Dirks Photography