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Fast fact in 2001 Deborah Kenny had just lost her husband and became a single mom forced to raise her three children on her own.
Amazingly enough that's when she decided right then it would be the perfect time to quit her day job.
And devote herself to reinventing.
That's right she opened it charter school risking her life savings to provide.
That all children could get a good education today Harlem village academies.
-- grown from one school to five and -- some of the best in the New York City area and -- us right now is the author of brand new book born to rise.
And the founder -- and CEO of Harlem village academies -- -- -- who weren't tea and morning so 2001 you you'd just lost your husband.
And you you had a dream you wanted to open your own schools and people your -- said look they're gonna go broke you lose your house you won't be able to provide for those three beautiful kids.
Write the it was a very hard time and I'll be honest with you I used to be a person with a lot of drive.
And then when that happened I was at a low point I didn't care about any thing.
And that difficult time the only thing that helps me.
Was the idea of helping other people.
And a lot of people have written to me who've read the book and said.
You know what spoke to them is not the story of education particularly.
But the idea of people out there were going through a hard time in their own life -- -- had something difficult happen to them.
They see the possibility that if you help other people and find your own calling it actually lifts you up.
Okay so that's what you wanted to do in 2001 and congratulations because everything you dreamed of you are accomplishing and you know there's so few great stories and education right now you're story is fantastic.
Those schools in that area at the time were underperforming and today.
The Harlem village academies take a look at this they're ranked number one in all of Harlem in 2010 for eighth grade math reading -- scored a 100% for.
Proficiency in eighth grade math for four years in a row I 97%.
Or more students pass all the -- required for.
Graduation and what are you do we -- your schools the public schools aren't doing.
It's all about teachers and what I mean is we were obsessed ten years ago with one question.
How do you make teachers happy and great how -- you attract the best teachers and then bring out the best in them and so we -- -- worried about the particulars class size school size.
Curriculum it was all about the teachers and what we did was.
Give them an enormous amount of freedom and trust and respect and support.
And make it fun and nurture them into everything they need.
Give them what they need right and the teachers then they love having that freedom and trust.
-- -- our passion and on fire and excited in the classroom.
And by the way.
If the teacher doesn't perform we can hold them accountable so it's like a it's a trade off accountability for freedom and that's the essence of charter school.
Sure and that's the problem with our current public.
System where because of tenure in unions and stuff like that the teacher and I love teachers but there are some bad apples in there that you just can't get rid of and are not motivated our children.
That's right what's interesting is a lot of people think -- education reform debate is about what's best for kids vs what's best for teachers but that's a false dichotomy.
The reality is that holding teachers accountable is actually beneficial.
To the vast majority of teachers because then they get to work with.
Either energized comics -- fantastic and I understand George Bush when he was present United States took note what you were doing.
Yeah you've done the president visited the school it was an exciting day for the kids it -- it -- most of all to me I was excited because it was honoring our teachers.
No kidding well I I I hope a lot of other school districts take a look at what you're doing at the Harland.
Village academies her new book once again if you -- -- read all about it -- to rise.
Deborah Kenny we think he's very much and good luck -- congratulations from.
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