Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

Kids with thumbs up

Our journey to approval has been long and at times hard.

But for the support of many friends, old and new, ICS never would have come to this point.  We are grateful beyond words to so many people. Some deserve a shout out:

  • The proposed Trustees of ICS who have attended meetings, discussed critical issues of educational philosophy and finance, and line edited the application;
  • Our Board Chair, Daria Rigney, who set this train rolling a few years ago when she said "one day you'll start a charter school. Call me when you do.";
  • Trustee and friend Robert Pondiscio who paid for many meals, read many essay drafts and offered many great ideas and punchy headlines;
  • The ICS Board of Advisors and especially Dan Willingham and Jonathan Gyurko who've always had great practical advice and delivered it promptly;


  • Civic-minded Brooklyn parents like Tiphanie Yanique, Crystal Davenport, Peter Rider, Kathy Kermian-Leicht, Eric Leicht, Kate Cortesi, Ben Wheeler, and Chris and Rebecca Antista, who want to see more and better school choices for all kids;
  • Dedicated educators like Sharese Bailey, Susan Wise Bauer, Barbara Daly Burns, Mike Goldstein, Matthew Greenberg, Lisa Grenwald, Doug Lemov, Kelli Licatta, Eva Moscowitz, Tara Napoleoni, Louisa Popkin, Dan Rubenstein, Adele Schroeter, Patti Soussloff, Todd Sutler, Kate Sussman, Erik Twist and Katie Yezzi who took time from their incredibly busy schedules to offer advice and introduce us to others who could help. We are infinitely better off for all your hard work. We at ICS would do well to achieve half of what you've done;
  • Dedicated co-planners like Ruth Longobardi, Drew McGhee, Dalia Gold and Dionne Bickford, who, along with our partners from Mark Morris and Copland House, helped develop an incredible curriculum for your kids;
  • Elected officials like Robert Cornegy Jr. and Walter Mosley and community volunteers like Dominique Bryant, Oma Hollaway and Stephen Pierson who took the time to meet with us and offer critical advice and feedback;
  • The 1,300 community members and parents who signed the ICS petition;
  • Ben Lazarus, Tenika Boyd and the folks from Students First who helped spread the word about ICS among Brooklyn parents;
  • Sean Fitzsimons, Andrea Richards and Executive Director Susan Barker Miller at the Charter School Institute, who led their staff in a careful review of our application and suggested areas where we could make it stronger;
  • Local business owners (and parents) like Andy Spence , Darcy LeFlemming, Carlos Saavedra, Michaella Blisette and Randi Lockerman who hosted multiple parent meetings in their stores and rallied others to the cause;


  • Foundation directors like Holly Nuechterlein, Carrie Schindele and Diane Morrison who've had tons of great ideas and introductions;
  • James Merriman and the staff at the New York City Charter School Center;
  • Jill Shahen and Bill Phillips at the Northeast Charter Schools Network;
  • Marketing expert extraordinare Andrew Benkard, who graciously assembled a website and social media approach that has allowed us to punch well above our weight (Jimmy's looking down so proudly at you!);
  • Graphic designer Mimi Maxwell who (also graciously) donated her time to develop a powerful logo and color scheme that has help ICS stand out and convey its values in a precise way;
  • My father, Roger Levey, who's been reading, (and correcting) my writing for nearly 35 years now.  And still makes a big difference;
  • His wife, Julie Tan, who is on constant lookout for helpful contacts from her many and diverse friends and business associates in the non-profit world;
  • Last on the list, but first in my heart: My family, and especially my wife Lorraine who not only read and revised the application, but has put up with (and survived) more stress than anyone ought to have to bear as we've worked though this process.

Children at Art Center

We've got plenty of work ahead of us, but for the moment, it's nice to pause and reflect on all the incredible support that's allowed us to come this far.

If you want to pre-register for Fall September 2015, the link is here

If you want to join us to celebrate the good news, we'll gather on June 11th at Die Stammkneipe, 710 Fulton St. 4pm onward. Bring the kids.