“Two of the Biggest Names in Educational Reform, Michelle Rhee and Former Governor Jeb Bush, TEAM UP to benefit the Marco Island Academy”
The Marco Island Academy has been working behind the scenes for months with the nation’s most powerful educational reformer, Michelle Rhee. On June 16, 2011, from 12pm-2pm, Rhee will headline a fundraising event with education reform leader Governor Bush. All proceeds will benefit the Academy. The event will be held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Miami.
Michelle Rhee has been a critical part of the Academy’s success. In October, 2010, after facing series of obstacles, the Marco Island Academy, Vice Chair, Jody Barrett decided to take action. She knew that she needed to reach out to someone powerful. Rhee was exactly the right person. Within hours of receiving a plea for help via email from Barrett, Rhee responded. She said, “Wow! We need more mom/activists like you. How do you think I could best help you?” Several days later, Barrett arranged a conference call between Rhee and Jane Watt, Chair of the Academy. Since that day, Rhee has offered guidance and support every step of the way. In fact, at one point, when Watt felt like the challenges were insurmountable, Rhee gave her just the encouragement she needed. Watt knew that if she had the support of Michelle Rhee, the former Chancellor of D.C. Public Schools and founder of Studentsfirst, she could not give up her fight to bring a high quality charter school to the community. It drove Watt to work even harder despite the opposition from the district and some of the local residents.
Rhee has been featured on the covers of TIME and Newsweek Magazine, on the documentary “Waiting for Superman,” The Today Show, and Oprah for her bold and innovative plans for revolutionizing the American educational system. As the founder and CEO of Studentsfirst she is leading a national movement to defend the interests of children in public education and pursue transformative reform, so that America has the best education system in the world.
Most of the world knows that Rhee is passionate, intelligent, motivated, and driven. But Watt has personally seen a quality far more important in Rhee: compassion. Rhee cares about the people who are trying to make a difference on a local level. She genuinely wants to improve education in the U.S. and knows that it will take all of us working together to make it happen.
Rhee is showing her support in an unprecedented way by headlining a speaking engagement to help raise money to offset the start-up costs for the Academy.
Raising money for a start-up school is very difficult. Unlike traditional public schools, charter schools have to raise all the money for the facilities on their own. Charter schools are tuition-free public schools open to all students in the district.
As if the support of one powerful educational reformer is not enough, Former Governor, Jeb Bush will be teaming up with Michelle Rhee to speak at the event. Bush has proven himself as he leads by example. During his two terms as Governor, Bush championed major reform of education. Florida raised academic standards, required accountability in public schools and created the most ambitious school choice program in the nation. Bush is founder, Chairman of the Board and President of the Foundation for Excellence in Education. The mission of the Foundation is to ignite a movement of reform, state by state, to transform education for the 21st century.
Watt had an opportunity to meet Governor Bush last month when he visited Marco Island last month. He described the need for all students to have access to great teachers. He shared several ideas of how to integrate technology to make it possible. Watt was impressed not only with his dedication to education reform, but to his desire for people to develop a sense of community pride in Florida. One of the comments that stood out to Watt was when he mentioned his desire to increase community spirit in Florida. Many people who live in Florida, do not consider it their home.
Watt connected with this point personally. She hopes the Academy will help create a sense of community pride for Marco Island. Currently students entering ninth grade travel to 6 different high schools off the island. The families support whichever school their child attends. However, the founders of the Academy hope that an extraordinary high school will bring a community that is notoriously divided on issues, together. By setting high expectations and putting student’s needs first, the Academy aspires to become a model for other charter schools in the nation to follow.
Michelle Rhee and Governor Bush will speak about education on June 16th from 12:00pm-2:00pm at the Four Season’s Hotel in Miami. Lunch will be included. All of the proceeds from the event will benefit the Marco Island Academy. For more information about tickets, please visit our website at www.marcoislandacademy.com or call 239-404-3622.
If anyone would like to make a tax-deductible donation, please make the check payable to the Marco Island Discovery Center and mail it to Marco Island Discovery Center, 970 Cape Marco Dr. #1706, Marco Island, FL 34145.