Michael and Ann Gornik, Co-Founders
Michael and Ann Gornik founded Polestar together, in Santa Rosa, California, in 2000. After living in an intentional spiritual community for over 20 years as they raised their two children, and started a large construction firm, Michael and Ann decided to start a community of their own. Polestar was born. They moved Polestar to the Big Island of Hawaii in 2005, and moved to the current location outside of Pahoa, on the East Side of the island, in 2008. After much building and developing, through times when flowing lava was threatening the small town of Pahoa, and Hurricane Iselle came through the property, they have stayed the course to keep Polestar moving forward.
Michael co-founded and currently co-directs Polestar Gardens along with his wife, Ann. Michael and Ann bring with them over 36 years of experience in intentional community, sustainable living, education, raja yoga, meditation, music and more.
A devoted student of Paramhansa Yogananda for almost 40 years, Michael has a rich history as a leader, successful businessman, community planner, builder, educator, athletic coach and musician. He has worked directly throughout the years with public, private and charter schools in creating workshops, apprenticeships and mentoring programs.
Michael inspires our team at Polestar Gardens with his cheerful even-mindedness and indomitable joie de vivre! When he is in the room something fun, inspiring and serviceful is sure to happen. He has a deep and sincere respect for people of all ages and from all walks of life and has personally mentored hundreds of students in ‘skills for living’. Through this and along with many inspirational events, service projects, wilderness trips, sports and performance art programs, he has provided students of all ages with opportunities for life-long educational expansion and personal growth.
Ann left her college studies in Lexington, KY. in 1978 to travel west with Michael and explore the possibilities of life in California!
They soon landed at Ananda Village, a spiritual community of several hundred souls dedicated to a life of meditation and service, and spent more than 20 years there, raising a family, building their own home and co-founding a large construction firm. Ann provides a calm, steady presence to every undertaking she is part of, and has been the main force in guiding all of the financial and organizational aspects of Polestar since its inception fourteen years ago.
She has mentored hundreds of students, sharing her love of horseback riding, astronomy, volleyball, astrology, photography and vegetarian cooking and provides the ‘glue’ for countless community events and undertakings. Under her care, Polestar’s annual ‘Family Campout’ has become a celebrated tradition; running successfully every summer for the past 38 years. A co-founder, dedicated board member and major IT player, Ann continues to quietly inspire and guide Polestar’s growth and development.