Innovating to Meet Student Needs

We invest in schools that are pioneering new
approaches and filling educational gaps in their communities

Founders Fellows

The Drexel Fund seeks visionary founders who are interested in gaining access to the support necessary to take a dream for a sustainable, replicable, high-performing private school model from possibility to reality. Each year, a select number of fellows are selected through a competitive process to enter the program.

The 2023-24 cohort, the seventh thus far, consists of four fellows. Of the 18 fellows in the first six cohorts, 15 have successfully launched schools after completing the fellowship.

For more information on the fellowship and how to apply, please click here.

Alternate Path Founders

Alternate Path refers to support The Drexel Fund extends to compelling school founders who apply to the Founders Program Fellowship but instead receive focused startup support matching their unique circumstances. Applications to Alternate Path are by invitation only.

2023-24 Founders

Jennie Cimino
Summit Christian  Academy
Menomonie, WI

Monica Evans
Invested Youth Christian Vocational Leadership Academy
Crown Point, IN

Alison Rini
Star Lab
Sarasota, FL

Lydia Schumake
B.E. Academy
Nashville, TN

2023-24 Alternate Path

Saliha Nelson
Urgent Academy

Miami, FL

Jack Johnson Pannell
Trinity Arch Preparatory School for Boys

Phoenix, AZ

Noor Toukhly-Chehab
Life International Academy

Tampa, FL

2022-23 Founders

JR Huff
Liberty Academy of Columbus
Columbus, IN

Isaac Melnick
Shorashim Academy
Plantation, FL

Sarah Schnauder
The Link School
Baton Rouge, LA

Charles Williams
The WAY Academy
Minneola, FL

2021-22 Founders

Gretchen Stewart
Smart Moves Academy
Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL

Adia Garrick Wells
Ignite Classical School
Shreveport, LA

Brandy Williams
Aba Healing Academy
Baton Rouge, LA


2020-21 Founders

Michael Long
SailFuture Academy
St. Petersburg, FL

Virginia Emmons McNaught
Global Field Academy
Miami, FL

Palmer Williams
King's Academy
Nashville, TN

2019-20 Founders

Kevin Clark
The Ecclesial Schools Initiative
Orlando, FL

Egleevelyn Nuñez-Sancristobal
STARS Global Preparatory
Miami, FL

Eric Oglesbee
River Montessori School
South Bend, IN

Ayana Verdi
Verdi Eco High School
Melbourne, FL

2018-19 Founders

Danielle Piscura
The Garden Christian Academy
Cleveland, OH

2017-18 Founders

Kevin Festerling
Kingdom Prep
Milwaukee, WI

Mark Martin
Build UP
Birmingham, AL

Sala Sims
StemSpring Academy
Baton Rouge, LA


Application Process & Deadlines

Application Process

Application Deadline