Earl Martin Phalen is the CEO and founder of Summer Advantage USA, a summer learning program that provides elementary and middle school students with research-based learning programs focused on academic gains.
In this interview, Phalen talks about connecting the school year with summer learning, the value of public libraries, parent engagement, closing the achievement gap, and more.
In 1967, Earl Martin Phalen was born into the foster care system. 70 percent of his African-American male peers in foster care would end up in jail, but, as a result of his adoption by George and Veronica Phalen and their passion for education, he graduated from Yale University and Harvard Law School.
Having witnessed the transformative power of education, Phalen has dedicated the past 20 years of his life to expanding the life opportunities of children through learning and academic engagement.
As a Harvard Law School student Phalen co-founded BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life), which grew from a community service project educating 20 children to a national non-profit annually educating 15,000 scholars with a budget of $27.5M.
In 2009, he founded Summer Advantage USA. Recognized by the White House initiative, United We Serve, TIME Magazine and MSNBC, Summer Advantage’s research-based summer programs impact the performance of school districts across the nation. Based on the high achievement of 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 Earl’s parents, the Academies provide a high quality, academic and enriching blended learning curriculum to more than 10,000 children.