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Meet Cameron Curry of The Classical Academy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cameron Curry.

Cameron, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
In the Spring of 1999, a group of dedicated parents and community members, approached the Escondido Union School District (EUSD) with a dream; to open Escondido’s first elementary charter school, The Classical Academy.

After much discussion, debate, and dialog, the Escondido Union School District Board of Education voted unanimously to support the charter school petition; making us Escondido’s first charter public elementary school. With this decision, the founding group was off and running with only four months to locate a facility, hire an executive director and support team; Purchase furniture, curriculum, and resources; Establish relationships with the district, county, and state for school funding; Determine how to communicate with parents and community members and how to draw students into a brand new program.

Against all odds, the school opened on time on September 7, 1999, to serve 208 students from kindergarten through 8th grade in a small business park where office suites were converted into classrooms.

Now flash forward 19 years later and we have:
-7 locations
-560+ employees
-4,600+ Kindergarten – 12th grade students

Accolades, awards, and a firm focus on personalizing the education of all.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The struggles have been a mix of financial, political, and operational. State funding has created a gap for charter public schools that has taken 25 years to close. The average citizen believes that all public schools are funded at the same level per student. They are not. For years that was a 15% gap between what a traditional school receives and what a charter public school receives. This gap will be closed with the 2018/2019 school budget and we are pleased that the public students we serve are finally being seen through a lens of equity by the state.

The politicians in power do not keep the needs of all students in focus. Due to the fact that the California Teacher’s Union was created to support and speak for adults, students are forgotten. Charter public schools are under constant attack by forces that do not want to allow our freedom to educate and inspire students. This is a model at play that supports adults for the benefit of adults. We fight against this pressure regularly and have to correct the false narrative spread by groups that would rather invest in seeing the closure of charter public schools that invest the time, money, and effort into the traditional school system that is broken and in desperate need of change.

Operationally we are challenged by our growth and the number of students still wanting into our programs. We simply do not have the room and are in constant flux to locate and secure new facilities. Managed and timely growth is good and these are problems that many businesses would love to have; thriving and not dying.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with The Classical Academy, Inc. – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
The Classical Academies is the premier charter public school offering independent study and is known statewide for what we accomplish for students through personalized learning options. We serve special education students as well as general education students at 7 locations across North County. We are award winning and have a strong reputation with parents and communities. They each have come to expect great things happening for students in our care and local, regional, and state agencies and individuals have honored us as an organization based on our results.

The one element that sets us apart from others in the education space is our focus on love. Love what you do – love who you serve – love people enough to tell them the truth – love the difference you are making daily at the Classical Academies. I am very proud of so much and what comes to mind now is the award our employees have given us – Top Workplace 2014 and 2016 in San Diego County by giving confidential feedback to Workplace Dynamics.

We will participate in the survey in the fall and I am hopeful that 2018 we will see this award again for the Classical Academy, Inc. When you treat people well, keep them informed, invite their feedback and opinions, honor their work/life balance, give them paid breaks, holidays, and vacation time, you will see their productivity rise. When people know they are making a difference, their love for what they do is seen and experienced by many.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We have a strategic plan that we are following. We are in the midst of finalizing a development deal that will see the completion of a new high school campus in Oceanside to serve 7-12th-grade students. We are also remodeling some current facilities to accommodate our waiting list of students, and we are looking forward to receiving employee feedback data from Workplace Dynamics as we seek to continually improve for those whom we serve internally and externally as an organization.

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