Friday, June 07, 2013

Tribute to Peter Flanigan

I loved this email that I just received from Jane Martinez Dowling, head of KIPP Through College in NYC (lower left in the pic below) – a well-deserved tribute to a great man, Peter Flanigan, who is a true ed reform warrior. Happy 90th birthday (16 days early) Peter!


“The key to the success of this effort is that everyone involved chooses to participate. For human creativity to flourish, it must be unfettered. Free individuals will do things that constrained individuals will never do. In the schools that are most successful, the principal chooses to be there and he chooses the way in which the school is organized. He chooses the teachers, and the teachers choose him. Together, they choose a curriculum. And then students and parents choose the school. Everybody buys into that single educational enterprise.” -Peter M. Flanigan, “Helping to Educate”, Imprimus, June 1993

I wanted to pass along this picture of a very special luncheon we had today at Michael’s.  Peter M. Flanigan, who turns 90 on June 21st, is one of the most well-known and devoted supporters of educational choice and has dedicated most of his life to ensuring that all kids have a shot at receiving an excellent education.  He was an ed reformer long before there was ed reform.  He has had a distinguished career in finance and politics. But to us, he is just Peter—a man who has touched us deeply, and inspired us to devote our lives to providing educational equity to underserved children.  Each one of us—Année Kim, Jill Kafka, Kristin Kearns Jordan, Mary Grace Eapen and myself, has founded or directed one of Peter’s educational programs early in our careers—The Patrons Program, Student Sponsor Partnership (SSP), and School Choice Scholarships.  Each one of us met Peter in our early 20s—and here we are—middle aged women—still in the game.  Kristin is the founder of Bronx Prep, Mary Grace is the founder of Bronx Charter School for Excellence, and this fall Jill will launch a venture through her SMO, The Partnership, to run inner-city Catholic schools.  Année continues to work in private equity to create data platforms that decrease bureaucracy and increase transparency and accountability in schools.  I, as you know, continue to lead a team of extraordinary people at KIPP to keep our promises to our alumni to get them through college and on to successful careers.  We are but a few of the people he has gotten involved in the conversation of educational choice, vouchers, tax-credits, charter schools and accountability.  He has connected so many of us—too many to name—but I bet you many are on your list-serve. Peter's legacy will be people like us and countless others whom he has nurtured, supported and loved over the years.  His multiplier effect is immeasurable - a mark of a truly  great philanthropist and reformer.  Ad multos annos!
P.S.  He is holding his birthday card with five cupcakes on the front, and insisted the card be in the picture since it reminds him of us—his five “cupcakes.”

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