As we climb on, excited to see construction begin on our new Everest Value School building, I want to introduce you to some of our own “pioneers” whose ingenuity and tenacity built the family it will house. In the coming months, as we update you on progress at the new site, we will tell you about more of these dedicated Everest pioneers who finally have the summit in sight.
Chris Medinger began his Everest Value journey in a conversation with then-CEO Gerry Jacoby: “The bad news is we’re not promoting you to vice-principal. The good news is we’re asking you to start a whole new school.” After eight years as a teacher and mentor at Downtown Value, putting his own stamp on the Value Schools model was a huge but welcome challenge for Everest Value School’s first principal. During an apprenticeship and planning year, Chris worked on the school’s charter petition, developed a curriculum, and started recruiting staff and families for his dream school. With fellow teachers and founding families, he helped create everything from the school logo to the “Learning Keys” system that empowers students to take ownership of their own academic progress.
Having already started a small business as a dolphin cruise operator, “Captain Chris” was no stranger to planning, budgeting and coping with unforeseen squalls. He needed those skills right away, as the plan to begin with just kindergarten, first, and sixth grades quickly gave way to urgent parental requests to admit siblings at all grade levels. Suddenly, he needed to triple the faculty, adapt auditorium space with temporary partitions, and create new programs for every grade level. Fortunately, Chris’s natural leadership and ability to “see the whole board” enabled him to attract first-rate talent from inside and outside the Value Schools organization and put that talent in the right positions. The pioneers he assembled created the Base Camp from which our journey set out.
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Keep an eye out for upcoming stories about our founding members of the Everest community!