Fixing class sizes or teacher’s union problems doesn’t fix America’s next-generation problem.
Not when kids are coming from broken families and dysfunctional communities under a government with a flawed welfare state.
John Jay Institute alumni are taking a holistic approach to the formation of the next generation; increasing innovation, modernizing federal regulations, getting more local input on children’s futures, and empowering families.
Doing these things requires a network of interconnected leaders in different fields who have a shared vision of the foundations of a healthy society, and the John Jay global network is growing into exactly that, with its influence and size increasing daily.
What We've Achieved
Shaping education policy
From her vantage point as an education policy expert at The Heritage Foundation, Brittany Corona ‘12 has been one of the most prolific writers on the education reform scene. “School choice is proliferating like never before,” she says. John Jay Institute alumni have been instrumental in defeating Common Core in several states, but also in passing proactive legislation in Texas, Mississippi, and elsewhere. After several years at Heritage, Brittany moved in 2015 to Indianapolis to become the state programs director for the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, which pioneered much of that legislation. Her predecessor? Stephanie Linn '07, who moved on to a senior research position with Project Lead the Way, the nation's leading proponent of STEM education.
Jean Kim ’97, who has been running the K-12 classical Cambridge School in San Diego since she founded it in 2006, has grown it to 200 students with a passion for learning and beauty in an area dominated by career-driven education choices. The school and the John Jay Institute recently co-hosted a lecture on Lewis and Tolkien as a community outreach event. After years of providing leadership and infrastructure for charter schools, Sam Vanderplas ’08 was named founding headmaster of Flower Mound Classical Academy in Texas in 2015, and Isabel Cacho '12 takes the lead in development and administration at St. John the Baptist Catholic School.
Teaching and building curricula
Dan Ajamian ’12 has been in senior leadership in Colorado Early Colleges since their inception; the innovative schools allow students to achieve an associates’ degree by the time they finish high school. Dan is now the academic dean for their largest location, directing curriculum development and shaping their offerings. Kathryn Krall ’08, Elizabeth Schalchlin ’08, Lauren Bobbitt '09, and dozens of other alumni are teaching in innovative schools nationwide and continue conversations about improving the American elementary education scene.
Influencing higher education
31% of John Jay Fellows Program alumni have or are in the process of obtaining master's degrees and doctorates--and the awards and accolades are piling up, including Fulbright and Marshall scholarships, numerous Publius Fellowships, the Rumsfeld Scholarship, the Demetriades Prize in nanotechnology, and literally dozens of others. Perhaps a good case study is Jonathan Teubner '05, who earned a B.S. in Economics from Oklahoma State University, an M.A. in Religion from Yale University, and a PhD in Theology from University of Cambridge, and is currently the Fernand Braudel Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Paris IV – Sorbonne. Many alumni, like Caleb Verbois '03 at Regent University and Agata Drelova '08 at the University of Exeter, are professors of subjects like American politics and philosophy so as to teach the subjects to the next generation of students (or are working on Ph.D.s in order to do so). Others are in university administration and leadership. Ryan Messmore '98 is executive director of the Millis Institute at Christian Heritage College in Australia. David Groom is associate dean of student development at the fast-rising Houston Baptist University. Still others are leading major research projects and centers, like Alessandra Gonzalez '03 at Princeton University and others at Harvard and elsewhere.
Transforming Arizona schools
“I’ve become increasingly persuaded that our cultural crisis is a function of a loss of a rightly ordered imagination,” says Institute Senior Fellow Douglas Minson. Douglas is headmaster of Veritas Prep, the flagship school of the nationally renowned Great Hearts Academies in Arizona, which has become a national model for classical charter education. The Great Hearts Academies network employs numerous alumni in teaching, college, prep, and strategy roles, including Ali Lane '14 and Krystina Skurk '14.
Supporting families and communities
Changing a culture is about more than schools; families need to be bolstered and communities need to be strengthened to create cultures of learning, stewardship, and mutual support. Victoria Cobb ’99 is in her tenth year as president of the Virginia Family Foundation, where her work to support families has earned her numerous awards (including a “Top 40 under 40” from Style Weekly!). Whitney Rhoades is the policy director of the American Federation for Children, and Kristina Twitty is director of operations for the Georgia Life Alliance; both advocate pro-life, pro-family policies in the state legislatures. Dozens of other alumni in this field have helped launch the Institute for Family Studies, led research projects on the family at Ivy League universities, published on localism and community, and driven a growing conversation about reforms in local philanthropy.