Shortly after landing at Malcolm X Shabazz High School as a Teach for America recruit, Dominique D. Lee grew disgusted with a system that produced ninth graders who could not name the seven continents or the governor of their state. He started wondering: What if I were in charge?
Three years later, Mr. Lee, at just 25, is getting a chance to find out. Today, Mr. Lee and five other teachers ”” all veterans of Teach for America, a corps of college graduates who undergo five weeks of training and make a two-year commitment to teaching ”” are running a public school here with 650 children from kindergarten through eighth grade.
As the doors opened on Thursday at Brick Avon Academy, they welcomed students not as novice teachers following orders from the central office, but as “teacher-leaders.”
“This is a fantasy,” Mr. Lee said. “It’s six passionate people who came together and said, ”˜Enough is enough.’ We’re just tired of seeing failure.”