Academics, Business, and Celebrity in One
There are five distinct personalities that make charter school CEOs so different from one another. Some are social entrepreneurs and business start-up founders, while others are district-run “autonomous” schools. The following five profiles highlight the characteristics of each type of charter school CEO. Which one of these five characters are you? And what can they teach you about leading a school? Read on to find out! And while you’re reading, remember to check out our CEO profiles, too.
Jon Hage is a social entrepreneur
In 1997, Jon Hage founded Charter Schools USA, one of the nation’s fastest growing private companies. The company currently employs 10,000 team members and educates 75,000 students in more than 100 schools across the U.S. His schools are known for their high academic performance, with over 95% of their students graduating from college and a 96% college acceptance rate. Hage’s business acumen was honed while working as a policy wonk for Jeb Bush during his unsuccessful governorship bid in 1994.
Jon Hage spent his childhood in Florida, growing up in a middle-class neighborhood near Fort Lauderdale. His mother taught piano lessons and his father taught music at a public high school. Although he was academically indifferent in high school, Hage went on to attend several private and public schools. After graduating from high school, he attended several universities including Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. He then switched to a community college and joined the ROTC program.
A major advantage of charter schools is their flexibility. They offer greater control over the educational environment and treat parents like customers, rather than employees. They also stress classroom discipline. Elementary students have a color-coded behavioral warning system, which parents can easily interpret. To get a seat at a charter school, parents must volunteer at least 20 hours per year. Moreover, most charter schools provide transportation, but some require parents to arrange their own transport.
Operating companies like Charter Schools USA earn money from charter schools by creating economies of scale. While charter schools receive less funding than traditional public schools, they must meet certain performance standards to remain in business. To be profitable, these firms have to spend less than the traditional public schools. They charge around 10% of the school budget. For example, Charter Schools USA paid $900,000 to keep the school open. In some cases, this means paying two-thirds of the costs for a school.
Jon Zulueta is a district-run “autonomous” school
As a former teacher, I watched the Stockton “autonomous” charter school CEO, Jon Zulueta, campaign for the Board of Education. I was shocked to learn about the conflicts of interest in his position, and it prompted me to investigate this occurrence. I also asked other parents to vote for Zulueta’s opponent, Candelaria Vargas, who is married to the senior policy adviser to Mayor Tubbs.
Jon Thom is a business start-up CEO
In addition to his role as a charter school CEO, Thom serves as a board member of University Hospital, which has more than $500 million in revenues and is the first profitable charter school in New Jersey. He has extensive experience in education, having served as a trustee and chairman of the university’s finance committee. Today, he is the CEO of a charter school network in Florida and Nevada.
As CEO of EdisonLearning, Jon Thom brings almost a decade of experience in developing effective solutions to raise student achievement. He is a rare breed of business leaders who can build relationships with others, resulting in strategic partnerships and alliances. Since taking on the CEO role, Thom has also spearheaded the restructuring of EdisonLearning. This has been made possible by his ability to develop rapport with key stakeholders and establish strong business relationships.
Jon Zulueta is a visionary
In addition to running a network of charter schools, Jon Zulueta has founded a company that provides administrative services to these schools. As a result, he has built an empire of charter schools, including the Doral, Somerset and Mater academy networks. However, he hasn’t given up his real estate business. A recent investigation by the Miami Herald found that some Academica schools rent space in buildings owned by his family.
Fernando Zulueta is a real estate developer and investor who wanted to build a school for the families living in his housing development. What started out as two trailers in Miramar has since grown into a network of 78 charter schools with the majority of its schools located in South Florida. Because charter schools are privately run, they are exempt from most of the laws that govern traditional public schools.
Jon Zulueta is a social entrepreneur
During the 2016 election, many people focused on the lack of quality public schools. However, in this election, there were some notable differences. For one thing, many of the candidates were social entrepreneurs. Many of these individuals have extensive experience in education. Their backgrounds also include education law and public policy, which they use to help other organizations in education. Jon Zulueta has these qualities and many more.
While a former political consultant, Zulueta contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the campaigns of other state legislators. He also served on the board of Directors of Charter Schools USA under Jon Hage. In addition to his work in education policy, Zulueta has extensive experience in business. He started his own company in 1999 and became CEO of Charter Schools USA in 2015.
Strader’s workshops have been featured at the Florida Consortium of Charter Schools, the Florida Department of Education, the University of South Florida’s Charter Resource Center, and the National Association of Educators in Private Practice. He has been invited to speak at national conferences, including the National Association of Educators in Private Practice, National Magnet Schools of America, and Blue Ribbon Schools.
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