Rachele Reese will be shifting from Leading Edge Academy to A+ Charter Schools. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa is gaining more educational opportunities this year as two new charter schools plan to open in July.

IF YOU GO
What: A+ Charter Schools Open House
When: Jan. 10, 6 p.m.
Where: Leading Edge Academy, 18700 N. Porter Road

A+ Charter Schools is set to build a facility to be open by July 24. It is enrolling high school and junior high students. An open house for residents to learn more about A+ Charter is set for Thursday at 6 p.m. at Leading Edge Academy.

“Our goal in the first three years is 300 students,” said Rachele Reese, assistant principal at Leading Edge Academy – Maricopa.

Reese has been on staff at Leading Edge full-time for three years. Next school year, however, she will be an administrator at A+ Charter Schools.

Corporate board members are Rebekah Krueger, business manager of Arizona Charter Solutions, management company of Leading Edge Academy, and Laura Newcomb, owner and president of Autism Academy for Education and Development (AAED), with three campuses in the Valley. Newcomb also built the framework for special education still in use at Leading Edge.

Reese said Newcomb approached her about creating a high school. Reese told her that would be a good idea if it was in Maricopa.

“We need options in Maricopa if nothing else,” Reese said. “We also need to try to bring back some of the kids that are going out of town.”

A+ Charter Schools incorporated as a nonprofit in 2017. The governing board includes Mat Reese, principal of Leading Edge Academy – Maricopa (and Rachele’s husband), Derrick Jamerson, principal with LEAD and AAED, and Krueger.

“We wanted to start small,” Rachele Reese said. “I want to get to know the family and the kid and then really start creating that infrastructure that you need when you start a school before building.”

The charter was approved by the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools on Dec. 10. According to application materials, A+ Charter intends to start with grades seventh through 10th and then add 11th grade and 12th grade by 2021. It is intended to focus on workforce readiness.

“One of the things that I have always noticed from high schools is the fact that when you finish high school, the advisor can give you a test and then say, ‘These are your skills,’” Reese said. “But there is really no real-life idea of what that job is going to look like.”

She said she wants to take the culture and positive attitude of Leading Edge to A+ Charter Schools. Mat Reese said A+ Charter will also seek membership in the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

IF YOU GO
What: Heritage Academy Job Fair
When: Jan. 8, 5 p.m.
Where: HomeSmart Success, 19756 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 100

During the same meeting at which A+ Charter was approved by the state board, Heritage Academy received the OK to expand to Maricopa and increase its enrollment. It, too, is targeting middle school and high school students.

Heritage Academy Inc. has been in business 23 years. The Maricopa campus is to start with sixth through 10th grade and grow to sixth-12th by 2022. It is planning for 500 students.

With a more public outreach to families, Heritage Academy compiled a list of 1,340 Maricopans interested in a charter high school, according to its application. It expects to open with a staff of 39. Heritage is hosting a job fair Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. at HomeSmart Success.

School is expected to start at Heritage Academy July 22. It does not have school on Fridays and takes two-week breaks for fall, winter and spring.

Corporate Board members are Diane and Jared Taylor. Governing Board members are Raymond Jones, Travis Moore, Marie Renard, Eve Seaman and Jared Taylor.

A+ Charter may be built near Banner Health off Porter Road. Heritage Academy has a location at Adams Way and Conner Drive.

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