National nonprofit KIPP celebrates launch of first school in S. Florida

ByGrace Turiano
KIPP Miami supporters at KIPP Miami kickoff event

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KIPP — a national nonprofit network of public charter schools with a successful track record of educating elementary, middle, and high school students — hosted a kickoff event on Apr. 12 to celebrate its arrival and the opening of its first school in Miami.

More than 100 of Miami’s sports, education and philanthropy leaders — including former Miami HEAT players Shane Battier and Juwan Howard; WPLG Local 10 anchor Laurie Jennings; businessman Edward Lampert and wife, philanthropist and chair of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation Inc. Kinga Lampert, and philanthropist and education activist Leslie Miller Saiontz — gathered at the exclusive Design District Garden Building’s rooftop to welcome KIPP bringing additional education options to South Florida’s children.

KIPP Miami is the organization’s first new region to launch in the past eight years and will begin with an elementary school, KIPP Sunrise Academy in Liberty City.

The evening began with welcome remarks by Shane and Heidi Battier, who have provided scholarships for graduating KIPP students for the past seven years.

Guests in attendance enjoyed delectable appetizers and cocktails while learning more about the national organization that is bringing its successful school model to Liberty City. They experienced firsthand how KIPP is changing the face of education through comments from KIPP Miami and New Jersey CEO Ryan Hill and KIPP NYC alumna Chalianna Lopez. They also learned about the vision for KIPP Sunrise Academy from the school’s founding principal, Leyla Bravo.

“We are excited to host this celebration in honor of KIPP’s arrival to Miami to operate schools focused on developing students’ knowledge and the character strengths they need to reach their full potential,” said Bill Diggs, KIPP Miami Board chair.

KIPP Sunrise Academy will bring a new model and education alternative to Miami, adding a nonprofit charter school to the urban core, backed by a partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) that will offer leadership development and curriculum resources to district teachers.

KIPP also has been working with several local organizations, including the Urban League of Greater Miami and its We Rise Educational Initiative, to help build a strong foundation for KIPP Sunrise Academy and ensure there is a robust outreach effort throughout Liberty City.

During the event, M-DCPS superintendent Alberto Carvalho and T. Willard Fair, executive director and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Miami, were recognized for their commitment to help bring KIPP Miami to local children.

KIPP Sunrise Academy will open with nearly 200 students in grades K-1. To learn more about KIPP Miami and KIPP Sunrise Academy, visit