From Possibility to Reality in Antioch
by Omar Currie, Founding Principal, Rocketship Antioch
On February 23, 2018 Rocketship broke ground on the country’s first ever net-zero energy use charter school in Antioch, California. Rocketship Antioch will open to grades Transitional Kindergarten through Fourth in August 2018.
Two years ago I came to Rocketship as the Founding Assistant Principal at Rocketship Rising Stars Academy in San Jose and I am both honored and humbled to have the opportunity to serve the city of Antioch as the Founding Principal of Rocketship Antioch. This Antioch community is overflowing with possibility. Just this month, BART expands into Antioch – connecting commuters to Oakland, San Francisco, and beyond. Rocketship Antioch is part of the possibility of a new future for this city.
My passion for the possibility of Antioch comes from my journey as an African-American male from a small town in North Carolina – a town very similar to Antioch. I am the only one of the six children in my family to graduate college. I am one of only two who completed high school.
I know that what is possible becomes a reality through a good education and that only happens through high-quality instruction from great leaders inside and outside of the classroom. I share a sense of urgency as a school leader to see bigger dreams and brighter futures for our children – the same sense of urgency shared by those in my small community who pushed me to be a better student, a finer global citizen, and to seize the endless possibilities that were in front of me and make them a reality.
Through my experiences and upbringing, I know first-hand the systematic, multi-generational effects the achievement gap can have on families within a community. I know that, much like my mom and dad did, all parents share the hope that their children’s lives will be a little bit easier than their own, that they will see more successes than failures, dream bigger dreams, and see brighter futures.
I am excited to bring this same transformational change to children and families across Antioch.
How we get there is through our commitment and strong leadership—building a school that challenges each student to develop intellectual independence, creativity, and a sense of responsibility towards their community. I am truly in awe of the sense of community I already see in this great partnership between the city of Antioch and Rocketship. I am humbled by how we have been welcomed by faith leaders, community leaders, and parents.
You see, a spot at Rocketship is not just an opportunity for what is possible, it’s a guarantee to see the possible become reality. We promise each of our Rocketeers that they will leave our campus knowing how to identify their passion with the courage to stand in their truth and skill set to always follow their dreams.
My parents wanted that for me. The community welcoming Rocketship to Antioch want the same for their children and for the children of this great city. That is why we break ground on a literal foundation for a brick and mortar building that will be the first net-zero, energy efficient charter school in the country. Together, we are breaking down barriers to a better future – through an excellent school that teaches our students and blazes a trail of environmental sustainability.
It is an honor and a privilege to be the Founding Principal of Rocketship Antioch. But I come to this new school not on my own, but on the shoulders of all the community members, educators, and dreamers of Antioch. They are the ones who have laid the real foundation on which the hopes, dreams, and futures of every child we educate will be built. I also have to thank my amazing team of Rocketship network and school staff. Together, we are all working tirelessly to begin this exciting journey of making the possible a reality for our children.
Omar brings a diverse portfolio of leadership experience to Antioch from his start as a third grade teacher in rural North Carolina to the halls of one of the largest elementary schools in the Metropolitan Washington, DC area as a fourth teacher before moving to California and serving as Lower School Assistant Principal at KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy. Over the course of his career, Currie has served as Grade Level Chair, on the Superintendent’s Advisory Council for Orange County Schools (NC), as well as an advisor to the Chief Academic Officer of Alexandria City Public Schools (VA). Omar was also a Founding Assistant Principal at Rocketship Rising Stars Academy in San Jose.
Omar holds a Master’s Degree in Education Leadership and Supervision from Indiana University, Bloomington, and completed his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a North Carolina Teaching Fellow. In 2015, Omar was recognized by GLSEN and awarded the iNSIDEoUT Advocate of the Year Award for his work addressing bullying and harassment of LGBTQ+ students in elementary schools.
Published on March 8, 2018