Update on Will Gardner and Alma del Mar Charter School

One of Alma del Mar's scholars accepting her "pre-diploma" from Board Member Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez. They are fully enrolled (120 kids k-2) with a growing waitlist.

What does it take to start a charter school? A ton of hard work, plenty of know-how and a wide network of committed people.

Earlier in the year we featured a post on former Citizen Schools Campus Director, Will Gardner, who was trying to do that very thing. Start his own charter school. When we last talked to Will, he was in the process of starting a K-8 school, Alma del Mar, from scratch; he was earning his Masters Degree at Harvard’s School Developer Program; and he was reaching out to his network to find board members and teachers. Our discussion closed with Will saying,

“We’re about to submit the full application for our charter to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. There’ll be a review, then a public hearing and they’ll interview our board. We should hear by mid-February whether or not we’ve been granted a charter. If we’re chartered we’ll open in September 20 11 with grades K-2. We’re on Facebook and at www.almadelmar.org – check us out”.


That was back in November. Now, in April, we’re happy to let you know, Alma del Mar is a go!

Will let us know that, “I am thrilled for this opportunity to create an incredible school for a city whose kids have so much potential! We’re hard at work securing our site, hiring top talent and crafting the curriculum that will put our kids on the path to college and challenge them to lead and serve. We still have a few openings for lower elementary lead teachers and I’d love to see more Citizen Schools alums in the pipeline!”

While Alma del Mar still has openings for teachers, here is a profile of Joseph, one of their founding teachers, who, as Will says, “embodies our mission”!

“In 2007, New Bedford native and Georgetown graduate Joseph Almeida earned the prestigious Sue Lehman Award (Teach for America’s Excellence in Teaching Award) for his work leading students to success in Harlem. This year, Joseph is returning to New Bedford to join Alma del Mar’s founding team. As our first cohort of Alma Scholars take their first steps towards college, they are walking in Joseph’s footsteps.”

Joseph Almeida

Good luck, Will, Joseph and everyone involved with the Alma del Mar School!

About GeorgeG

George Ganzenmuller is a First Year Teaching Fellow at the Edwards Middle School in Charlestown, MA. He is originally from Holliston, MA and has always loved working with kids. George taught English as a Second Language in Bangkok, Thailand last year. He loves to travel and does his best to do so on the Americorps stipend. He is a shark enthusiast, but feels shark week has been more hype than content in recent years. He graduated from Loyola University Maryland in 2009 with a BA in English Literature.
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