PCS Company History

In the mid-1980s, a rural Idaho schoolteacher by the name of Patrick McShane became frustrated with the limitations of the traditional 1980′s school classroom, his very small school budget, and his desire to see students working with high-tech materials hands-on. Patrick had a vision of a student-centered, hands-on learning center where children of all ages could work together learning real science, technology, and mathematics through the creation of exciting, engaging projects. His response was to create an after-school program conducted out of his garage for students who were interested in hands-on, technology-based, learning. His initial programs focused on computer programming and robotics using LEGO and Fischertechnik and the response from the surrounding communities was remarkable. Within a few years, strictly by word-of-mouth, the program had grown from a handful of students to a student body of nearly 100, and the facility had been moved from Pat’s garage to a full time office space.

In 1988, Robert Grover was recruited to PCS and was charged with the task of organizing Pat’s curriculum and learning concepts into written form and documenting the program. It was during this time that the Merit System was created — a learning portfolio approach that blended independent learning, creativity, interdisciplinary integration, multiple learning styles, self-pacing, and other important aspects of what Pat had embedded into his program. These core values remain consistent in PCS programs today, and are applied through a variety a programs and services in the PCS STEM product line.

In 1989, at the request of a group of investors, Anthony Maher joined Pat McShane, Robert Grover and the newly formed PCS Schools, Inc. as President and led the expansion of Pat’s initial concept into a number of these advanced learning centers that were located throughout California, Washington, and Idaho. The programs offered at these centers were unique and highly conducive to individual styles of learning and interests. The curriculum and programs continued to expand also to over eighty subjects ranging from art and engineering to lasers and zoology. An early childhood program, PCS Young Learners, was also developed and introduced throughout the centers that ultimately became one of the most sought after programs for young children with long wait periods for parents. In the early 1990s, Pat McShane developed a serious illness and left the company leaving the full direction and growth of PCS to Robert and Tony.

Since then, PCS has evolved into a company that offers multiple educational solutions designed to make delivering Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education easier for the teacher. Today, PCS programs operate in over 7,000 locations throughout the United States and in some thirteen countries worldwide. The current executive management team, led by Robert Grover, is supported by a remarkable staff consisting of educators, engineers, and others who share a common vision of building extraordinary learning environments and products that can benefit all. Patrick McShane passed away in 2011. Tony Maher, who suffered a serious heart attack in 2009, resigned from his role as CEO of PCS in 2011 and assisted with transitional issues through mid-2012 before leaving PCS in the capable hands of the new management team.