5 Women To Learn From
DEBORAH KENNY, 42
THEN: President of Sesame Street Publishing; seven years ago, her husband died of leukemia
THE MOMENT: Losing my husband was so devastating that there was no way I could get up in the morning and do anything other than help people. A lightbulb went off when I discovered the charter-school model, where you run schools as an entrepreneur, not as part of a bureaucracy.
I had enough money for my family to live on for six months. At the end of that time, I was standing at the counter at the Gap with my daughter, and they wouldn't take my credit card or check. But I had faith that if I was meant to do this, I was going to put every ounce of my energy and money into it. Right after that, our first seed money came through - a $2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
NOW: Founder & CEO of Harlem Village Academies, a network of charter schools for underserved children in NYC; it's so successful that schools chancellor Joel Klein carries around its data as proof that low-income children can learn at high levels.
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