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Cynthia Trigg: Revolutionizing Public Education through Evolution Academy

 I tell myself, you are never done, so find a stopping point, then pick up where you left off.

For the past 18 years, Cynthia Trigg has watched over 3,000 students realize their dream of being a high school graduate. As the Chief Executive Officer of Evolution Academy Charter School (EACS), an accredited public charter high school, Trigg works tirelessly to bridge the gap between at risk students and higher education. After seeing a large number of students enter ninth grade, but not complete their high school education, Trigg decided to start her own charter school for high school students to address challenges of mobility. Trigg’s diverse career in education serving as a secondary school teacher, director of student activities, assistant principal and principal, has positioned her as a leader and trailblazer in academia, managing a staff of over 50 and serving over 500 students each year.

CEOMOM Magazine caught up with this busy educator to discuss her impact on students and community, and how EACS is uniquely addressing the needs of high school students.

Tell us about Evolution Academy. What type of school is it? What is your mission? Who do you serve?
Evolution Academy Charter School (EACS) is an accredited public charter high school that offers students a unique learning experience. Through partnership with community businesses, EACS provides students the opportunity to complete their high school studies in a motivating, challenging, and technology-rich environment. In 2002, EACS opened its first classrooms. After expanding in 2013, today EACS serves students with campuses in Beaumont /“Jefferson County”, Houston /“Harris County and Richardson/ DFW. Together with robust college, career and military readiness training from community partners, EACS graduates have what they need to succeed in a rapidly changing world.

What inspired you to start Evolution Academy?
Early in my educational career as an assistant principal, I observed freshmen students enter ninth grade. However, four years later, the class cohort’s graduation class was less than half the number that started. Recognizing mobility as a possible factor, I began to explore possible options to serve this population of students. With the support of my husband and family, I formed Evolution Academy, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization providing educational services to the public. Later, I submitted a competitive application to the Texas Education Agency.  After several rounds of evaluations and interviews, Evolution Academy Charter School was formed. This year we will celebrate 18 years of providing educational options for students.

How did you get started in education?
My Education: Bachelor’s Degree from Texas Woman’s University in Political Science and Secondary Education, Master’s Degree in Education Administration from Prairie View A& M University and Superintendent Certification from University of Texas at Tyler. My career in education begin as a secondary school teacher. I later advanced by serving as a director of student activities, assistant principal, principal and educational specialist.

What are some of the biggest challenges that arise from starting your own charter school? How did you overcome them?
Some of the biggest challenges are prioritizing the needs of the organization with revenue sources. I overcome them by continuing to monitor and adjust as needed.

What advice do you have for a mom who wants to start her own charter school?
Whether it is a school or small business, it all starts by having the courage to dream. Writing the vision down and taking small steps each day to work towards completing the task is what I would advise. Understand your financial obligations for any startup and don’t be afraid to seek out help. Be patient with yourself, “Rome was not built in a day.”

Where do you see Evolution Academy in five years?
My goal is to continue to work to close the achievement gap of at risk students and convince youngsters that “self-worth is defined through pride, character and integrity.”

How would you describe your impact on the students and the community? Can you share a personal story with our readers?
Evolution Academy Charter School was just a dream in my head and heart. Today, it is a three campus school system making a difference in the lives of high school students. The impact has been that we have made it possible to help so many students achieve their dreams of attaining their high school diploma. To date, we have graduated more than 3,000 students.

How has starting Evolution Academy impacted your role as a mom?
It has afforded me the opportunity to be present.  As a developer, the work and “things to do” items are always visible.  I tell myself, you are never done, so find a stopping point, then pick up where you left off.  That mindset allows me to compartmentalize my many roles especially that of a wife and mother. It has also allowed my girls to see up close and personal, what hard work looks like.

Learn more about Cynthia Trigg and the Evolution Academy at http://www.evolutionacademy.org/.

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