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Williams describes the launch of the foundation as “a citizen’s action movement from the ground up. We created the Eagle Academy Foundation to be a separate support organization for the Eagle model, so it wouldn’t get lost in the other activities that 100 Black Men pursues. Since 2004, the foundation has been the primary support relationship for all the Eagle Academy schools except the Bronx school, which was launched by 100 Black Men,â€ Williams says.
A graduate of Columbia Law School, who enjoyed a successful law career heading his own law firm and also as a partner at a global firm before going to work for government, Williams has an interesting educational background. As a youngster in New Jersey, he competed for a coveted prize: a scholarship to attend a local all-boys private school. “I thought I was a shoo-in, but they gave the prize to someone else.â€
Stunned by the loss, young Paul decided, without any parental involvement at all, to research and apply to the best private schools in the country. He was accepted to Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, where he attended for four years, graduating with honors. Going to Exeter convinced Williams that single-sex education works for some people, and inspired him to invest that experience into the Eagle model.
“Many boys need to be able to concentrate,â€ Williams says in support of the model. “Also, I was raised in a two-parent household and raised my own children in a two-parent household. It’s very different for single-parent households. Young men need positive male role models that they can see, touch, understand, talk to.â€ Hence the emphasis on strong male leadership in Eagle Academy schools, which send 100% of its graduates to college.
And more is in store. Williams says, “Eagle Academy is and has been phenomenal. But we recognize that we can’t build enough schools to meet the demand. So we’re launching a professional development component that we can take the lessons learned from our efforts and translate them to other environments. We’ll train administrators and educators and they can implement them where they are. So the professional development component can have an impact.â€
For more information about the Eagle Academy Foundation, visit www.eafny.com.
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