The former world’s number one tennis player Andre Agassi helped develop a new charter school, Rocketship Rise Academy, in Washington, D.C.’s Woodland Terrace neighborhood in southeast. And Tuesday, he was in the District to cut the ceremonial ribbon and celebrate its opening.
“It’s unfortunately a very daunting societal issue,” Agassi said, “righting the listing ship of public education. But these kids deserve it.”
According to Agassi, his decision to develop charter schools came at a time when he had reached a low point. His tennis career was tanking; he felt disconnected from life. When he began to wonder how much choice or control do any of us have over our lives?
“So it occurred to me one day, in that disconnect,” Agassi said. “What about the children that do not have choice in their lives for an entirely different reason?
“Because they don’t have a nurturing environment that can help give them a future of their choosing. And that sent me on a path towards building my own K through 12 charter school in Las Vegas, which eventually led to me building a model that can be scaled across the United States,” he said.
Agassi works with his co-managing partner, Robert Turner. The two of them created Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund. That fund pays for charter schools in urban areas throughout the country.
“[Rocketship Rise Academy] is our 69 school, and [we have] no plans on stopping,” Agassi said.