Mothers Ending Poverty: Stephanie Krauss, St. Louis, Missouri

ImageLeading up to Mother’s Day, the NCC Poverty Initiative is sharing a series of stories lifting up, celebrating, and praying for mothers who are fighting poverty and alleviating suffering in their communities.

Prayer for Stephanie: Creator God, thank you for expressing your love to disconnected and dropout youth through Stephanie. Thank you for filling her heart with a passion for “the least of these” (Mt 25:40). When times get tough, fill her with your grace and courage. Bless and strengthen her family and her work. In good times and bad, let her life overflow with the deepest joy that only You can give. Amen.

At age 15, Stephanie Malia Krauss dropped out of high school. In her teenage years, she experienced adversity, but thank God she found support to get her GED, go to college, teach with Teach for America, and continue on to get two master degrees in Education and Social Work. Her experience of feeling lost in her teens led her to found the Shearwater High School, a college-preparatory public charter school serving disconnected and dropout youth, ages 17-21 in St. Louis, Missouri.  Inspired by her faith and her hope for a better future for other youth like her, she has raised millions in financial and in-kind contributions to the school. Now, she is president and CEO of Shearwater Education Foundation, an organization that aims to lead policy change and program design efforts that positively impact the education of disconnected youth, which includes supporting the growth and development of Shearwater High School. She serves as a member of the St. Louis Regional College Access Pipeline Project, and as an advisory board member of Preferred Family Healthcare.

Stephanie leads with confidence but also humility, ensuring the school and Foundation are focused on the students and not on a charismatic founder (although she has a gift for making fast friends!). Stephanie’s always being mindful of working to put family and faith first in spite of the demands and importance of her life’s work. She lives with her husband, Evan in St. Louis with their two young sons, Justice Hi’ilani and Harrison Drew Koali’i. Her family participates in a Mennonite community.

Recognized by: Shantha Ready Alonso, for whom Stephanie is a dear friend from social work school and a great inspiration.