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Deborah Kenny
Deborah Kenny is the author of "Born to Rise" and is widely regarded as one of the most influential education leaders in the country. Kenny is founder and CEO of Harlem Village Academies, a network of high performing public charter schools in Harlem, New York. She has been featured in national media including The New York Times, TODAY Show, Business Week, The CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, FOX News and NPR. She was named on Oprah’s 2010 Power List and recognized as one of Esquire’s Best and Brightest. She was honored as "Educator of the Year" in New York and received the national "Educators who Perform" award in Washington, D.C.

Kenny holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University in comparative international education and a B.A. in intellectual history from the University of Pennsylvania.

She is the mother of three grown children and lives in New York City.

Entries by Deborah Kenny

This Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King From Harlem Students Will Bring Tears to Your Eyes

(2) Comments | Posted January 20, 2013 | 9:11 PM

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance, and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence." As we come together as a community to honor Dr. King, let us take a moment to recommit to his inspiring vision. Let us renew our commitment to...

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Teaching Respect on the First Day of School

(1) Comments | Posted September 3, 2012 | 12:06 PM

Every September we begin the school year with three days of detailed lessons on character, community and behavior. Our faculty designed these lessons seven years ago, with topics ranging from respect and responsibility to effort, homework expectations, hallway courtesy and habits of scholarship. Each year our teachers reflect and refine...

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Providence: The Moment I Committed Myself to School Reform

(52) Comments | Posted June 5, 2012 | 8:45 AM

The following is excerpted from "Born to Rise: A Story of Children and Teachers Reaching Their Highest Potential," available now from Harper.


Teachers were the answer. Though I hadn't worked out the details, I was sure the only way to fix education...

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Harlem Village Academies 7th Graders Blog the Inauguration

(35) Comments | Posted January 20, 2009 | 5:53 PM

When Harlem Village Academies was founded six years ago, we spent many evenings listening to families who had been told to be "realistic" about their expectations. As one mother said plainly to me, "I was told that my child will not make it, that she was not a good...

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