Our Founder – Jimmy Arispe is the Chief Kid Influencer of The Academy Way network of schools. This includes The Academy Virtual, The Academy campus locations, and The Academy Way, Inc. (a federally recognized non-profit).
Jimmy believes schools should be exciting, motivating and fun places for kids to learn.
He hires teachers who love kids and shares in his philosophy about schools and kids. His schools embrace movement, discussion, and kids being comfortable while learning. He continuously reminds and encourages his “kids” to “never ever give up” and to “be great at being YOU.”
Our Founder – Jimmy Arispe and ADHD
As a child, Jimmy displayed all of the typical ADHD behaviors in school. He got in trouble often for not sitting still, talking, and not paying attention. He struggled with comprehending and retaining anything he read, and still does as an adult. While growing up in a military family, Jimmy believes he wasn’t able to be officially diagnosed with any specific disability because of the inconsistency with his schooling. He attended the same elementary or junior high school for only 1-2 years at a time. He and his parents were told by many of his teachers and counselors that he was “not working to his potential.” And that he was easily distracted and distracting to others.
Jimmy started his educational career as public school elementary school teacher in 1994 in metro Atlanta. He excelled and enjoyed teaching Math interactively. However, later in his teaching career, he also learned to teach children how to read. In his opinion, there is no more rewarding task than teaching a child how to read.
Despite becoming the adult leader of his own students and classroom, Jimmy’s ADHD behaviors remained a part of him. He describes his classrooms as “inspirational organized chaos!”
Beginning in 1999, he served in his first leadership role as a middle school assistant principal in Georgia. He then served in various leadership positions in traditional and public charter schools from North Carolina to Arizona. Despite these leadership positions, his ADD behaviors remained with him and he continued to experience the related challenges that came with them. Additionally, he experienced unrelated challenges from working with leaders who had traditional mindsets. In his experiences, these individuals always chose to follow policies instead of doing what was right for kids.
In 2006, Our Founder – Jimmy Arispe created the National Coalition for Exemplary Schools
This organization provided instructional and leadership services to struggling schools and districts across the nation. This included working with and supporting some of the most impoverished areas in the U.S., including many Indian reservations. The Coalition also created and conducted Student Leadership Conferences. These conferences brought thousands of minority and disadvantaged 5th grade, middle and high school students onto college campuses across the country. These conferences exposed students to the amazing opportunities one receives from college attendance and to plant that seed.
In 2011, Jimmy began mobilizing hundreds of community volunteers to create a charter school in metro Atlanta. After 2 1/2 years of effort, the school was not approved by the county school district or the state. Immediately after, he converted the school to an affordable, project-based private school. The SAE School opened its doors with 118 students in 2013 and is now in its 8th year of operations in 2022. Jimmy’s son Jake began his 3rd grade year at the school and attended it for 6 years. Jimmy proudly served as the CEO/Head of Schools from 2013 to June 2020.
The Academy Way is “the WAY we do school.”
The Academy Way is Jimmy’s next child-focused effort to help kids. These schools are for children with Dyslexia, ADHD and Non-Traditional Learners. He created a federally recognized 501c3 non-profit (The Academy Way, Inc.) to solicit and accept donations from people and businesses. These funds go directly to reduce the tuition costs for parents who have children wanting to attend an Academy campus.
Unfortunately, Jimmy’s initial hope of launching the first Academy location in Georgia for the beginning of the 2020 school year was impacted by the pandemic. He was not able to recruit enough students to get the school off to a successful start.
Despite this setback, Jimmy converted the Academy model to fully virtual version and started serving kids in October 2020. Now, The Academy serves students from the Virgin Islands to California. In November, 2020 he began setting the wheels in motion to launch brick and mortar Academy campuses in various states for the 2021-2022 school year. Jimmy’s hope is to serve as many kids as possible through Academy locations across the United States.
Jimmy’s role with The Academy Way involves identifying amazing founding school leaders to open new schools. He also secures viable campus locations, identifies funding sources, and provides support to founding school leaders. Jimmy is always willing to lend his experiences to other passionate educators who want to start their own school. Please contact him by email Jimmy.Arispe@TheAcademyWay.org should you be interested in creating an Academy in your community. Or even if you’d like to create another type of school that you’ve had crazy dreams about.