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Founts teams with Delta Charter to create schools
From left, recently retired San Joaquin County Superintendent of Schools Mick Founts, Delta Charter Schools Superintendent Jeff Tilton, and New Jerusalem Elementary School District Superintendent David Thoming pore over a map of locations of 15 charter schools. - photo by Photo Contributed

Retired San Joaquin County Superintendent of Schools Mick Founts and Delta Charter Schools Superintendent Jeff Tilton have co-founded a charter school, one of three charter school petitions the New Jerusalem Elementary School District (NJESD) Board of Trustees approved this week. 

Founts and Tilton, who co-founded the nationally renowned “one.” program in the early 1990s while both worked together at the San Joaquin County Office of Education, will open The Academy, a sports science-based charter school, in August. Two other new schools, Delta Bridges Charter School and Delta Charter Online #2, will also open in August. 

“I am excited to be the co-founder of what I believe will be another great public school of choice,” said Founts, who retired after serving nearly 25 years at SJCOE including the last four-plus years as county superintendent. “The Academy is supported by (NJESD’s) Board that embraces innovation and the rights of parents to choose the best school for their children.” 

Tilton, who took the Delta Charter School helm in March 2013, now has added four new sister charter schools under the DCS umbrella. 

“It has been really great working with Mick again,” said Tilton, who was Founts’ student while at Manteca High School in the 1970s. “When we get together to create programs that position kids for success we end up with extraordinary results. I am excited at this new venture.” 

The Academy, a K-12 program, will open with grades 4-12. The site location is in development and an announcement is forthcoming. 

“Our Board and District is excited to have Mick involved,” said David Thoming, Superintendent, New Jerusalem Elementary School District. “Mick has a long history of running successful programs. He has always served as a mentor to me with the charter schools movement. His reconnection with Jeff and the history those two have, well, I just can’t wait to see the success ahead.” 

Stockton’s Delta Bridges Charter School, serving students in grades K-8, will open with a K-5 program and will add grades every year until reaching capacity. Delta Charter Online #2 will be a K-12 program and will serve students who are behind, students who want to accelerate, or students who thrive in a virtual educational environment. 

With the three new charters approved, NJESD, which was near closure a few years ago, will open the 2015-2016 school year with at least 15 charter schools serving nearly 6,000 students.