The CEO of the Success Academy charter schools in New York City, Eva Moskowitz, has recently discussed her involvement in the development of the schools and the motivation that led to this development. As a former member of the Upper East Side city council, Eva Moskowitz had witnessed several failed attempts to revitalize the traditional public school model. After vocalizing her frustration with these attempts, Moskowitz launched the first of several charter schools in the tri-state area. This first set of schools were initially called the Harlem Success Academy, but the name was changed following an attempt by New York’s governor to put an end to federal funding of the institution. Bill de Blasio, the governor at the time of Success Academy’s launch, enacted new laws that barred charter schools from receiving federal funding and operating in public school facilities. During Success Academy’s first year of operation, the school was held on the campus of other New York public schools. This presented a major problem to Eva Moskowitz and other leaders of Success Academy.
Although the legislation that barred Success Academy from receiving federal funds was quickly overturned, Eva Moskowitz and the board of directors at Success Academy knew that the school would need to begin to operate in privately owned facilities to avoid future difficulties. After purchasing new facilities, Success Academy received an unprecedented amount of applications from New York City residents seeking admission for their children. To date, Success Academy has one of the largest enrollment numbers of any charter school in the United States. Eva Moskowitz stated that her original intention of developing this charter school system was to serve underprivileged students in and around New York City. The executive has also stated that she could not have foreseen the extraordinarily positive impact that Success Academy would have on the surrounding community.