Jacqueline Elliot, a tireless, accomplished icon within the California charter school movement and tenacious fighter for educational equity, shares her story of becoming a forward-thinking education entrepreneur in Passionate Warrior: My Charter School Journey. Those efforts established the PUC charter school network, a now 20-year old network of high-achieving public schools. This inspirational memoir connects with parents, education leaders and community members while inspiring all who care about public education to make a difference in students' lives.
In Passionate Warrior, Elliot provides insights about her journey as a spirited activist for social justice who battles to reform the public education system. Her commitment to public school reform began in 1986, when she became a teacher in one of the most socio-economically challenged neighborhoods in Los Angeles and witnessed abysmal expectations and conditions for its students. As a new teacher, she did all she could to meet the needs of her students within the confines of the Los Angeles Unified School District system, but was determined to do more. Discovering California's charter school legislation in 1995, she united one hundred families from the community as her partners in a relentless quest to create a better public school for their children. Rallying the support of others who believed in her vision, Passionate Warrior details a number of battles Elliot fought and the seemingly insurmountable challenges she overcame in order to transform public education. Her triumphant founding of the first public charter middle school in Los Angeles in 1999, Community Charter Middle School, was historic and clearly demonstrated the power of what can be accomplished when a diverse group of individuals unite in one vision and refuse to give up until their dream is achieved.
Drawn to the culture of the small school that was characterized by mutual respect, meeting the needs of all students, embracing of diversity, and high expectations for all - parents and community members motivated Elliot to open more schools. She ultimately grew the impactful PUC charter school network in Los Angeles to 14 schools, where over 100 former students have returned to serve as teachers and staff members.
In this memoir, Elliot writes candidly about the people who have perpetuated failing public schools, the parents who desperately sought better schools for their children and those who championed her cause and still fight by her side today. Her leadership and accomplishments serve as an example and inspiration for a multitude of others who have followed in her footsteps. Passionate Warrior: My Charter School Journey identifies forces that continue to work against efforts to improve the dysfunctional education system that has failed so many of our children. Elliot's book unifies supporters, inspires teachers, parents and all who care about our public schools while impacting the national conversation around education.