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Meet Dameon Blair of Caurus Academy in Anthem

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dameon Blair.

Dameon, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My educator journey started as a camp counselor at an Outdoor Science School in La Canada California. The camp was owned and operated by the Long Beach Unified School District. Long Beach Unified owned the camp for 50+ years and all 5th grade students in the district received a week long camp experience. This opportunity as a camp counselor was the catalyst to my journey as a lifelong educator. I was hired to be the senior camp counselor and then ultimately a trail teacher. During my tenure at Camp Hi-Hill, I was mentored by many amazing educators and knew that education was my future. It was then that I made my goal to become a future principal.

After finishing up my degree, my wife and I moved our family to Anthem Arizona and it is here that I saw opportunities in the Charter Sector of education. After working at a couple of charter schools around the valley, I decided to help write charter applications, create a network of passionate educators, and ultimately how I landed at Caurus Academy.

I accepted the role as Principal at Caurus Academy 4 years ago. Caurus is the first Charter School in our area founded in 2004. After accepting the principal job at Caurus things weren’t going very well, which prompted my decision to ask to break away from our network of schools (Westwind Children Services). I was named the President and Charter Holder shortly after.

Things didn’t look very good on the inside of the organization, so we restructured everything from the top down. After reorganizing the organization, we as a school community (New board members, administrators, teachers, families, and students) really focused on transparency and purposeful relationships among all school stakeholders. This new re-branding and school culture really started to take shape.

Over the last 3 years, the data shows that we have consistently had the highest school enrollment growth, growth in academic achievement on the standardized state tests, and just recently received our highest “A” letter grade than the school has ever recorded. Prior to this new grading scale in Arizona, all of the surrounding schools were “A” schools, this year we are one of two “A” graded schools and have really established our presence as a great school of choice in Anthem.

Has it been a smooth road?
I would definitely be lying if I said that the road was a smooth one. Because we were in dire straits when I took over, I didn’t share what was actually going on in the business office at the school. We were in debt, not growing, school climate and morale was low. However, we mobilized as a community and slowly but surely started to transform our focus to every student, new curriculum, new programs that support individualized learning and then the professionals to educate. This new mantra at Caurus really started to take shape and families around the area were paying attention.

As the leader of the school I actually went back into the classroom to teach science. As the science teacher, principal, new director, and president of the Board of Directors, I worked 16 hour days to keep the school moving forward. I believe that it was this trench work that really helped the community get back on track.

Today, we are proud to say that we have invested over $250,000 dollars back into our facility, and have actually acquired a new facility for our expanding middle school. We also intend to start 9th and 10th grade courses next fall.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Caurus Academy is a K-8 Public Charter School. We specialize in public education with an emphasis on each child and their individual competencies and growth. We are known for teaching to the whole child in a very warm and safe educational environment.

What sets us apart from the other schools in the area is school population size (smaller), individualized attention to each student, classroom size capacities, teacher qualifications, daily character education, and passionate teachers who understand their “WHY”.

I most proud of the fact that our new school culture is founded on sure determination, perseverance, passion and Grit.

What sets us apart is that we have one of the best educational institutions around, but we strive to improve daily. All of the data supports this claim. Lastly, we still believe that education should be a human experience. No one feels like a number at Caurus Academy.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Anthem is a great city to start a business if the leadership/ownership has sustainability in mind when designing their business. We live on what we call the Anthem Island, so it can be tough to own a business here if you aren’t good at what you do and have community support. The educational community is really tough in Anthem. We have 8 schools K-8 schools in our community that all do a great job at educating our students. So starting another school would be difficult.

Pricing:

  • We are a free public charter school

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Images by Blaire

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1 Comment

  1. Laine Simon

    June 27, 2018 at 1:28 am

    Thank you for letting us get to know Dameon Blair. It was so wonderful reading her story and what’s behind Caurus Academy. I’m so happy that there is a school at Anthem that has a deep love to education. Keep it up guys.

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