Shining a star on Kyajuana Gilbert, Executive Director.

By Kris Duderstadt, Board Member since 2020

Individuals who can climb out of a poverty-filled background can often name the one person that made a difference to them. It may be a teacher, a mentor, or maybe someone as a role model who could show them a vision. The STAR Foundation of Coastal Georgia has been tremendously lucky to have found someone who has all three of those traits wrapped up in a bundle full of energy and humble sophistication. Kyajuana Gilbert, Executive Director of STAR, is a force like no other. She has the right personal history and professional credentials that make her an exceptional choice for the job.

Photo from Kyajuana’s recent interview in Golden Isles Magazine. Click to read the interview.

Raised by her grandmother, Kyajuana learned early on that your word is important. If you take on school or a job, you need to show up and follow through. Kyajuana was able to work her way through school, doing many different jobs to keep her education going and food on the table. With perseverance and dedication, she successfully made it through both a Bachelor of Arts in Communication AND a Master of Business Administration. Her resume is excellent as she has worked at many jobs, both profit and non-profit. Her roles have given her many experiences as a manager, program facilitator, youth development leader, and college and career guidance counselor. All these were growth steps that led her to the executive role at STAR.

Even her distinctive personality plays an exciting role in her career path. She cheered throughout high school and college, as well as coached cheerleading. This enthusiasm explains some of the high energy levels seen in her current role. Kyajuana takes the things she learned through her personal hardships and journey to teach by example. She inspires and motivates her students to be better selves by instilling in them a strong work ethic.

She knows how it can be and challenges her students to be present and accountable.

She knows what it takes, and she can share her own experiences to motivate them. She will and can show them the possibilities.

She knows first-hand that they need a hand up, not a handout, to accomplish this. She believes that STAR Foundation can be the starting place for this to happen.

With a strong moral compass and passion for helping others, Kyajuana was guided to her role with STAR, to lead a profound mission of transformation in our community.