Founder of The Anew School
2014 Black Male Achievement Fellow
Anew provides unprecedented academic and socio-emotional training to African-American boys who have been labeled “at-risk.” It transforms the bottom 5 percent of students in Tennessee into the top 25 percent in the state after five years through a seamless middle-to-high school. It takes seventh and eighth graders to Ghana for a two- year immersive experience heavy in STEM, collaborative hands-on instruction, and strong identity- and confidence-building lessons. Students return to its Tennessee-based boarding school facility for high school, transformed into experienced global citizens, with ignited passions for education and the leadership skills to create lasting change in their Tennessee communities and the world.
The Anew School is the result of Alex’s experiences in education. She was born to unmarried parents, and raised by her single mother while her father struggled with addiction. As one of few African-American children in her school system, she was placed in remedial classes, told that her dreams were unrealistic, and that she would probably not graduate from high school. She had her first intervening teacher in high school, who challenged her academically, taught her about African and African-American history and literature, and developed her socially and emotionally. The work her teacher did was elevated by her first experience on the continent of Africa. It filled voids in her that she never knew she had, gave her a strong sense of identity and bolstered her blooming self-confidence. She went on to graduate from Spelman College and Harvard Law School, and vowed that she would transform the lives of children, like herself, who have infinite potential, but have been tracked for failure. The Anew School is her story, and it ends in success.