In 1994, Academies of Math and Science (AMS) Co-Founder and CEO Tatyana Chayka emigrated with her family from Uzbekistan during the dissolution of the USSR. During her initial years in the United States, she searched for a school that could offer her son the education she wanted for him. In 2000, not able to find a school that offered the rigorous well-rounded education she wanted for her son, Ms. Chayka and her partner Sergey Shayevich founded the Academies of Math and Science.
Her vision was to create a school which offered a superior education in mathematics and science while incorporating foreign language, music, and art. Mrs. Chayka intended to build a program that she wished her son could have had, one where students could take guitar lessons, perform science experiments, and receive professional art instruction without their parents having to pay for each of these activities. With only 30 students during the first year, it was unclear whether or not the school would make it to year two.
While struggling to maintain the school, Cathy Lund from the Walton Family Foundation visited Ms. Chayka and her new school and saw a vision of a successful school model in practice. Through perseverance, hard work, planning, and a generous contribution from the Walton Family Foundation, Tatyana Chayka’s vision was realized and the school finished a tremendous first year with excellent results for school's first students.
To this day, Ms. Chayka and the AMS team passionately carry the tradition of her vision for her son and AMS's first thirty students by opening schools in underserved neighborhoods with students who need high quality educational programs the most.Ms. Chayka and the AMS team have since opened another campus in Tucson, the Math and Science Success Academy (MASSA), and five more schools in Phoenix. The network now serves thousands of students and is ranked among the top-performing charter networks in the state of Arizona. AMS Prince was named a 2008 National Blue Ribbon School and the 2016 Arizona Charter School of the Year.
A central guiding question has continuously propelled AMS to move forward and keep growing: “If not us, then who will do this work?” AMS hopes to continue to grow as long as there are Arizona communities in need of high quality educational programs. Our growth and continued success is made possible due to the tireless team efforts of AMS families, AMS staff, and community members including organizations such as A for Arizona, Arizona Charter Schools Association, New Schools for Phoenix, the Walton Family Foundation, Charter School Growth Fund (and its consultants and partners who have helped the network formulate its growth plan), the program offices behind the federal and state Charter School Program grants, our dedicated Governing Board members, local governments, police and fire departments, and dozens of AMS supporters and partners.
What happened to the son that Ms. Chayka started AMS for? He is now Co-CEO of AMS, Mr. Kim Chayka. Together Ms. Chayka and her son tirelessly labor to carry on two decades of academic success.
Our success is and will always be a team effort.