Kolt Bloxson, Teacher, Charter School

Atlanta Educator’s Free Charter School Offers An Innovative Structure

Miles Ahead Charter School welcomes "scholars" to a nurturing educational space from kindergarten through eighth grade.

After four years of relentless effort, Kolt Bloxson opened the doors to the Miles Ahead Charter School on the outskirts of Atlanta.

Students, referred to as “scholars,” fill the renovated halls of a former church building, the home of Bloxson’s tuition-free kindergarten through 8th grade charter school. According to NBC News, Miles Ahead has seen a rapidly growing waitlist since it began in August 2023. The school started with 14 teachers, eight staff members, and 195 students.

Bloxson envisioned a nurturing space where young learners would be uplifted daily, guided by the “High Five Habits”: Kindness, Integrity, Determination, Compassion, and Wonder, core affirmations that were developed in the first board meeting. Central to the school’s philosophy is nurturing the “whole student.”

From as early as first and second grade, Miles Ahead scholars take innovative STEAM courses like coding during “Instructional Day,” facilitated by specialists to allow teachers a break.

“You have to think in nontraditional structures to make this work,” Bloxson explained.

The 39-year-old educator spent 18 years as an Atlanta Public Schools educator with no intention of founding her own school. Her profound passion for kids and education, however, motivated this new journey. In 2019, observing the dwindling quality of education options for Black students in underserved nearby communities jolted her into action. “There was a growing gap that I wanted to fill,” she said.

The specific mission drove her to secure a location and assemble a board and faculty. Navigating state regulations and overcoming innumerable hurdles, she raised around $1.2 million through grants, donations, and sponsors. The founder credits the visionary execution to collaborative efforts from other professionals like author Ed Miller and Henry Lust, head of the Miles Ahead board.

“This board is responsible for governance of this organization and the interaction between the charter commission and the charter association and the state,” Lust said.

On February 6, Miles Ahead posted on X that the charter school announced its opening for educators, MACStastic individuals, and a founding assistant principal for the 2024-2025 school year.

Students hail from multiple counties, with some commuting over an hour via “The Scholar Ship” bus service. Thanks to rapid growth, the school will expand to a second building next semester.