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Book details
  • SubGenre:Leadership
  • Language:English
  • Pages:288
  • Format:Hardcover
  • Hardcover ISBN:9781543934670

Passionate Warrior: My Charter School Journey

by Jacqueline Elliot

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How can one person impact public education in the United States? Driven by a dream of an education system that worked to serve all students and help them reach their full potential, regardless of where they lived or their socio-economic status, Jacqueline Elliot committed herself to education reform in Los Angeles. Galvanizing one hundred families in a relentless quest, Elliot worked to create a better public school option for their children. Following her journey from a teacher in one of the city's most socio-economically challenged neighborhoods to a forward-thinking education entrepreneur who fought to create and sustain the PUC network of high-achieving public charter schools, Passionate Warrior: My Charter School Journey demonstrates the power of what can be accomplished when individuals unite in one vision. Passionate Warrior is a call to action for those who care about the future of our children and inspires all who care about U.S. public schools to become catalysts for change in their communities.
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.
About the author
Dr. Jacqueline Elliot was born in Glasgow, Scotland and immigrated with her parents and two brothers to Los Angeles, California, at age 13. She earned a bachelor's degree in anthropology, a teaching credential, a master's degree in educational administration and a doctorate in educational leadership and change. Elliot's first career was in public health, serving as director of a non-profit family planning clinic and then as director of health education for a non-profit health corporation in the Northeast San Fernando Valley. She entered public education as a first grade teacher in 1986 in a public school in Pacoima, California. Alarmed by the conditions in her school and the statistical likelihood that up to one half of her students would drop out of high school, Elliot committed herself to public school reform. In 1999, she overcame great adversity to open the first startup public charter middle school in Los Angeles, Community Charter Middle School. The popularity and success of the school led to Elliot founding nine additional charter schools to serve the community over the next several years. She collaborated with Dr. Ref Rodriguez, who was founding schools in Northeast Los Angeles that were based on the same principles and philosophy as her schools. In 2004, they co-founded Partnerships to Uplift Communities (PUC), an umbrella organization for the public charter schools each had established. Together they are responsible for founding a total of fourteen schools in the two communities. Dr. Jacqueline Elliot has been part of several charter school boards and now serves as CEO of PUC National and as an adjunct professor at Loyola Marymount University in the graduate program in education. Jackie enjoys spending quality time with her husband, five children, five grandchildren and her cat, Gracie.
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