President & CEO, Charter Schools, USA – Fort Lauderdale, FL
Driven to assist students in achieving academic success, Jonathan Hage founded Charter Schools USA (CSUSA) with less than $5,000 in 1997.
Now considered one of the fastest growing companies in the country with approximately 5,000 CSUSA employees educating approximately 50,000 students in 58 schools in 7 states, Hage is considered one of the nation’s leading social entrepreneurs committed to improving the educational system in the United States and beyond.
With strong academic programs, Hage’s schools have created their strongest national gains in reading, writing, science and math based on state and Federal performance test scores, most with their strongest gains among low-income students. And the organization is the first management company to earn system-wide accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ AdvancED Systems division.
Hage has also contributed to the physical growth of educational institutions, as he founded Red Apple Development, a construction company which has built over 1,000,000 square feet of new schools within the last 5 years.
Always seeking to break new ground, Hage was the first in the nation to open a charter school-in-the-workplace and the first municipal charter school. Today his schools include the top performing middle/high school in Broward County and the United States Department of Education Blue Ribbon Awarded Renaissance School, the highest performing elementary school in Miami-Dade County.
With a strong emphasis on ethics, integrity and achievement, all CSUSA schools require active parental involvement, emphasize moral character, reward high performing teachers, and promote active citizenship and service to the community.
Hage’s accomplishments and opinions distinguish him as being a pioneer in changing the face of education, and he has been chronicled by various media outlets, including Education Week, Forbes Magazine, Fox News, CNBC, NPR and numerous newspapers nationally.
Having worked tirelessly to influence education legislation at the local, state and federal levels, he is a former research director at the prestigious Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington, DC and has advised numerous political leaders, agencies and government bodies including being a speech writer and researcher for the 1994 Presidential Race. He served on the National Steering Committee of the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Presidential Elections and on the transition teams of Florida’s last three Governors. He was director of research for former Governor Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Florida’s Future, whom he credits with inspiring him to commit himself to improving education in America.
Hage has served positions on many boards including past chairman of the Sheriff’s Foundation, a Trustee of the Pine Crest School and board of directors of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. He and his wife Sherry recently founded The Giving Tree Foundation, a private charity dedicated to assisting low income families and students, by underwriting and now building a school in Haiti.
Having been honored with awards for his community service, including The Diversity Champion Award by the Urban League and The Valor Award by the American Diabetes Association, Hage was recently named Floridian of the Year by Florida Trend magazine.
He served honorably in the United States Army, the Army National Guard and the Army Reserves as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Special Forces (Green Berets). He holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from the University of Colorado and a Master of Arts (MA) degree from Georgetown University. He and Sherry, who is the Chief Academic Officer at CSUSA, and their four children reside in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
*All biographical information is only current up to the date of the award.