Earl Martin Phalen

As a baby in 1967, I was born into the foster care system.

70% of my African-American male peers in foster care ended up in jail.

As the result of being adopted by my mom and dad, George and Veronica Phalen, and their passion for reading and education, I graduated from Yale University and Harvard Law School. Having witnessed the transformative power of education and family involvement, I founded Summer Advantage USA and the George and Veronica Phalen Leadership Academies.

Recognized by the White House initiative, United We Serve, TIME Magazine and MSNBC, Summer Advantage’s research-based summer programs impacts the performance of school districts across the nation.

Based on the high achievement of our Summer Advantage scholars, in 2012 the Indiana Charter School Board granted approval to the George and Veronica Phalen Leadership Academies to open 10 Academies. Named after my parents, the Academies will provide a high quality, academic and enriching blended learning curriculum to over 10,000 children.

Prior to Summer Advantage and the Phalen Academies, I co - founded BELL. Started as a community service project, while I was a law student at Harvard, BELL grew from educating 20 children on a budget of $12k to a national non-profit annually educating 15,000 scholars with a budget of $27.5M.

I am humbled that my work has been noted by the New York Times, Parents Magazine, Education Week, ABC World News, and recognized at the BET Awards. From personal experience, I know that education and family involvement can save a life.
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In August of 2010, David Von Drehle wrote in TIME Magazine, “Phalen has become one of the country’s leading education reformers…”.