Reinventing America’s Schools

Ben Marcovitz

CEO, Collegiate Academies New Orleans

There's no harder job I've ever had than being a school leader. Being a teacher is extremely hard. My job now is full of tough moments, but in the minute-to-minute, nothing's as hard as actually running a school. For me, I remember month four of planning to start Sci Academy in 2007. I thought about school. I said, "You know, this school's going to be open in about eight months, which means everything has to exist at the school — so we need to have a building. We need to have teachers. We need to have chairs. We need to have pencils. We don't have any of those things now, and there's only me." Sometime between now and eight months from now I'm going to have to think of all those things and what they are and put them in place because school needs to happen.

It didn't up until that point dawn on me that school has to be created. I think where I stumbled most was in just thinking about that: "School just has to be set up, it has to be created," rather than, "Starting a school is a real opportunity to create something special. A school that has unique and powerful emotional impact on a community can help build your relationship with a community and help strengthen a community." When I thought about those things I did better. When I thought about how much had to be done I did worse.

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