Huizenga Named Entrepreneur of the Year

Published September 1, 2003

The Education Industry Association named J.C. Huizenga the winner of the 2003 James P. Boyle Entrepreneurial Leadership Award at the Association’s annual conference in Boston on July 23. Huizenga is founder and chairman of National Heritage Academies, one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing for-profit education management companies.

National Heritage Academies was started in 1995 with a single charter school, 174 students, and a mission of “Challenging children to achieve their greatest potential.” The firm now operates 32 charter academies in four states and serves more than 17,000 students. It is in its fourth year of profitability. The company’s goal is “to build a national organization of more than 200 charter schools that become the finest K-8 schools in the country.”

In accepting the award, Huizenga spoke about the importance of teaching the nation’s values to all students and also about how bringing capitalism to the education sector was creating more educational options for children and providing them with more than just one path to success.

“We’re looking to make a difference in the world,” he said, “and isn’t this a great industry in which to make a difference?”

George A. Clowes is managing editor of School Reform News. His email address is [email protected].