The founder of Summer Advantage USA and the George and Veronica Phalen Leadership Academies is the ninth and newest trustee of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Earl Martin Phalen fills the chair left by the retirement of Benno Schmidt, who joined the Kauffman board in 2007.
Schmidt served the board’s limit of three three-year terms and also was the foundation’s interim CEO in 2012.
Phalen, who also founded Building Educated Leaders for Life while he was a graduate student, is a nationally recognized expert in year-round education, summer programs and charter schools. That program began as a community service project to provide after-school and summer education programs.
Kauffman officials said Phalen’s career particularly aligns with one of the Kauffman Foundation’s primary goals — to help people attain economic independence through education.
Summer Advantage USA is a summer reading program that partners with school districts for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It has served more than 15,000 children in five states since its founding in 2009. The Phalen Leadership Academies, first opened in 2013 in Indianapolis, expanded on the Summer Advantage USA concept to help turn around low-performing schools.
Phalen was awarded the President’s Service Award in 1997 by President Bill Clinton. He has also received the Black Entertainment Television National Hero Award and Fast Company’s Social Capitalist Award and has achieved national recognition in multiple magazine stories about education.