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Our Story


Our Story

In 2012, Jenna Leahy and Tacey Clayton Cundy met and immediately connected over the injustice they witnessed in their classrooms — even in the primary grades, students from low-income communities were not progressing at the same rate as their higher-income peers. Unfortunately, their experiences were not unique: on average, low-income students are already two years behind by the time they reach the fourth grade.

They decided to join forces, driven by a common mission—to raise the bar for education in Arizona. Their drive and persistence resulted in more than $950,000 in start-up funding. Together, they visited more than 50 of the top-performing schools across the country to learn best practices before submitting their charter application, which was unanimously approved in January of 2014.

After months of knocking on neighborhood doors to get to know the community, they opened CASA with a record number of scholars in August 2014. Their vision, founding a school that overcomes the inequalities they experienced in the elementary grades, is today a reality. CASA Academy is a tuition-free charter school dedicated to closing the achievement gap for elementary students in Phoenix .

CASA is part of the New Schools for Phoenix incubator program, a highly selective and competitive non-profit program devoted to expanding educational opportunities for all students throughout Arizona. At CASA, 100% percent of scholars qualify for free and reduced-price lunch, the national indicator of poverty;  65% are English Language Learners and 97% of scholars are students of color.

CASA Academy is not just a school, but a movement to raise the bar for education in Central Phoenix. Through a combination of rigorous academics, a college-bound culture, competitively selected teachers, and an extended school-day, CASA aims to support all of its scholars in making more than a year of growth in a single year. From the start of kindergarten, our scholars are on a path to success in college and beyond.