Charter School Co-Founder Ivette Rodriguez: On Why Education Must Change, the Power of Project-Based Learning, Being Bold

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Ivette Rodriguez is the co-founder and Executive Director of Phoenix International Academy, a charter school in Phoenix. Talk about standing for something — Ivette and the other founding members built the school on a foundation of strong, well-codified core beliefs. For example, they believe in partnering with families and communities to provide learning experiences that develop innovation, collaboration and social responsibility. They believe awareness is one of the foundational pieces of being a global citizen. And they also believe in the importance of understanding the lives, circumstances and reality of people and places that are different from ourselves.

Previously in her career, Ivette served as the principal of Cesar Chavez Community School and later as the Assistant Superintendent for Academic Services in the Roosevelt School District. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and two master’s degrees from Arizona State University.

Tune in as Brian Burkhart chats with Ivette about core beliefs and her vision to give EVERY kid the ability to build the future they want.

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INTERVIEW NOTES:

:50 — “School” has been around for a long time — think 200,000 years 

1:50 — Phoenix International Academy was built on core beliefs 

3:13 — “Kids have wildly varying needs, and it’s our job to meet them”

5:25 — The product of Puerto Rico and a tiger mom 

9:38 — The wrong side of the cheddar curtain 

15:33 — Telemarketer turned lifeguard 

16:58 — “The uncomfortable” doesn’t faze Ivette 

18:09 — Ivette worked at a school for blind and visually-impaired students during her time in college — and that carved her life path 

21:22 — “We want our kids to walk away with (real-life) tools…” — Ivette’s vision for her new school 

25:19 — “The moment” — the story of how the Phoenix International Academy was born 

31:39 — The two coolest things Ivette’s school will do that sets it apart from the rest 

35:19 — Only 20 spots left — now’s your chance to get your kid enrolled at Phoenix International Academy 

39:22 — Permits keep Ivette awake at night 

41:13 — We ALL gotta be more bold — Ivette’s No. 1 lesson 

43:40 — Here are the steps that YOU can follow to be more bold in your own life  

46:31 — “I won’t ever do work that I am not infinitely proud of again.”

50:48 — The biggest lesson Ivette has learned as a mother 

55:10 — “Our vision for the future is for EVERY kid to be able to build the future that they want”

57:06 — The perfect college model doesn’t exist…yet. Here’s what Ivette thinks needs to change

1:02:03 — Want to learn more about Phoenix International Academy or chat with Ivette? Hit up the website or shoot her an email