This week we talked with Dr. Donna Marie Cozine, Founder and CEO of Renaissance Academy Charter School of the Arts. Donna is an educational leader and the author of So You Want to Be a Superintendent: Become the Leader you Were Meant to Be! You can visit her online at www.consultdmc.com.
Tell me about yourself!
I am the founder and CEO of Renaissance Academy Charter School of the Arts. Although people don't usually associate entrepreneurship with education, that is exactly what charter schools are about. We create an innovative school environment from scratch that empowers and changes the lives of children who otherwise would have poor educational options. I have been a teacher, assistant principal, principal, adjunct college professor, curriculum writer, author and now CEO/superintendent. I have two beautiful children who attend my school and an incredibly supportive husband.
What made you decide to start your own school?
I was an executive coach for leaders in the Rochester City School District, the school district with the worst outcomes in the nation, when I realized that parents needed better options for their children's education. I was also thinking about school for my then 3-year-old and 10-month-old. I decided that I would use my skills and talents to architect an elementary school for children that used the arts to grow other competencies. That school, Renaissance Academy Charter School of the Arts, is in its 7th year of operation with over 500 students and 93 staff members. We consistently have hundreds of children on our wait list each year.
What's the hardest part about being an entrepreneur?
Being the "head cook and bottle washer" can be trying at times! Also, it is a truly a 24/7 proposition. You need to be available to address concerns whenever they arise.
What's your favorite part?
Knowing that what I am doing is improving the lives of thousands of children and their families.
What advice would you give to women either working in business or starting their own?
Align your mission to your position and be true to yourself in all that you do. Don't compromise or sacrifice what you want to do. It will come.
What is your favorite quote?
What doesn't challenge you doesn't change you!