Dear AEA Friends,
I would like to introduce myself. My name is Joel Hopkins and am I the current President of the Board of Directors for the Albert Einstein Academy for Letters, Arts & Sciences. I have worked for the Walt Disney Company for over 23 years and am a VP of Finance. I was asked to join the Board in January 2016 because of my financial background. After joining the board, I discovered several things; first, the demand for our charter school in the Santa Clarita Valley is immense, second, our founders uncovered a need so great, that they were inundated with requests for more space and more campuses, third, I believe they tried to do everything they could to meet the needs of the community. Finally, I learned that AEA was a victim of its own success. Unfortunately, the fast growth and the lack of financial capital and staff put tremendous stress on the organization.
Despite all of this, we are still here. And guess what? The need is still here and we are determined to deliver. So, what was the secret ingredient the founders used in achieving its early success? I am certain that it was “community” - the AEA family was the key component to its success. It is crucial, that after everything the school has been through, we reestablish our community. If we can do this, I am certain we will emerge better than ever.
This will be the key to our future success. So, I ask you to recommit yourself to our scholars and school. I for one am not willing to return my children to my local school district and will do everything in my power to prevent that from happening.
Giving Tuesday, November 28, marks the beginning of our Annual Gift Giving campaign and I urge you to contribute. Over the past year, the debt incurred fending off district and other assaults has been reduced by more than half in just 12 months. We will conclude a major legal fee payoff in March that will free up much needed resources. Our campuses have never looked better, our class sizes are optimal, there is no better time to be at AEA. We are planning to reapply to get our high school back for the 18/19 school year.
I will not give you fancy promises to coerce you into donating, no brand-new computers or gym equipment. I cannot promise to meet everyone’s request for everything they want. I will promise you that your donation will go to the heart of running our schools. All expense commitments will be well thought out, prudent, and directly for the wellbeing of your children. The next four months are crucial for us and we need each and everyone of you to help.
Finally, I’d like to say my hat is off to those founding families and all the others that worked so hard to create this community. I along with Eric Reiter, Dawn Hakim, Tracy Costan, James Engel, Maggie Ford, our Principals, staff and teachers will continue to push to new and greater heights. Please join us on the journey. You will receive an email with additional information on the Annual Gift Giving campaign on Monday.
Best wishes for a happy holiday season,
Joel Hopkins, President