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Thursday, April 9 • 11:00am - 12:25pm
TH11.00.07 A Miracle on Cooper Street: A case of Study of how a University Professor transform a Community through a School name the LEAP Academy

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The Miracle on Cooper Street t ells the story of Dr. Gloria Bonilla-Santiago as a destitute Puerto Rican child of migrant farm workers who defied family, tradition and expectations to reach the highest ranks of academia and overcome monumental obstacles to create one of the nation’s best Charter Schools in America’s poorest and most violent city, Camden NJ. Her personal journey began on a beautiful farm in Puerto Rico and led to gritty migrant worker camps in New Jersey and Florida. Her tenacity, resiliency and commitment to overcome poverty and challenges in learning to navigate a foreign educational system are a true example of leadership. Her education journey earned her multiple degrees and took her to the pinnacle of academia as a Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor in the Public Administration Department and Director of the Community Leadership Center at Rutgers University. Today she is a National leader, social entrepreneur and educational expert in designing schools for urban Children. Those experiences forged a dream of transforming a poor urban community through education. The Miracle on Cooper Street describes the movement to create an educational pipeline from birth to college with a comprehensive agenda of support services that responds to the desperate needs of urban schools in America. The LEAP Case Study is unmatched anywhere, graduating 100 percent of its students who have achieved 100 percent admission to college. This model is gaining momentum through grassroots efforts, and state and federal initiatives. Dr. Santiago describes the process for how she organized parents and stakeholders for legislative planning, implementation to lessons from practice to upscale the model. She builds a compelling case for broad public commitment to improving the urban school environment in disadvantaged communities.


Gloria Bonilla-Santiago

Rutgers the State Univeristy-Camden Campus

Matthew Closter

Graduate Assistant and PhD Student, Rutgers University - Camden
Matthew Closter is currently working on his PhD in Public Affairs with a focus on Community Development at Rutgers University in Camden. He is also a Graduate Assistant and Student Fellow at the Rutgers-Camden Community Leadership Center. His research interests include the roles... Read More →

Wanda Garcia

Rutgers , the state university of NJ


Wanda Garcia

Rutgers , the state university of NJ

Thursday April 9, 2015 11:00am - 12:25pm EDT
Star Isle (lobby level)