Geoffrey Canada Featured Speaker at Great Hearts Gala

Great Hearts Academies August 23, 2017

Founder of Harlem Children’s Zone to speak at second annual Phoenix event 

PHOENIX, Ariz.—August 23, 2017—Great Hearts Academies, Arizona’s largest network of public charter schools, has announced the keynote speaker for its second annual gala. The event will be held on Sept. 23, 2017 at Chateau Luxe in Phoenix as a celebration of Great Hearts and its teachers in the style of a masquerade ball. Funds generated will support programs that will help develop and retain the network’s outstanding teachers, recruited from across the country, to teach in 23 academies in the greater Phoenix area.

This year, Great Hearts will feature Geoffrey Canada as the keynote speaker. In his 20-plus years with Harlem Children’s Zone, Inc. Canada has become nationally recognized for his pioneering work helping children and families in Harlem and as a passionate advocate for education reform.

Canada founded the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), which The New York Times Magazine called “one of the most ambitious social experiments of our time.” In October 2005, Canada was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by US News and World Report. In 2010, Canada was prominently featured in the Davis Guggenheim documentary Waiting for “Superman.”

Canada grew up in the South Bronx in a poor, sometimes violent neighborhood. Despite his troubled surroundings, he was able to succeed academically, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowdoin College and a Master’s in Education from the Harvard School of Education.

The National Book Award-winning author Jonathan Kozol has called Canada, “One of the few authentic heroes of New York and one of the best friends children have, or ever will have, in our nation.”

This year’s Great Hearts Gala is co-chaired by Great Hearts parents and community leaders Ashley Ellrich and Dan Bennatt, Jamie and Steve LeVine and Keri and Todd Noel.

Current key event sponsors include: Duley|Bolwar|Pederson, Rose Law Group, Nations Group, Colliers International, Depcom Power, Arizona Bank and Trust, Studio MA, Gymnastic Bodies, GreenbergTraurig, CenturyLink, Adolfson & Peterson Construction, Fester & Chapman P.C., Grand Canyon University, Keri and Todd Noel, Brovitz Group, Norcon Industries Inc., American Family Insurance, IWS, GPS Insight, Cigna and GlobalTranz.

Ticket purchases and sponsorship inquires can be directed to Denise Zabilski at (602) 396-7559. For additional information, please visit


About Great Hearts:
Great Hearts is a non-profit network of public charter schools dedicated to improving education nationwide through classical preparatory K-12 academies. As the largest provider of classical education campuses in the country, Great Hearts academies serve more than 15,000 students at 28 tuition-free public schools in greater Phoenix, Ariz. and San Antonio and Irving, Tex., with waitlists that typically exceed enrollment.  Great Hearts provides a robust liberal arts curriculum incorporating advanced math and science, a focus on the arts and foreign language, and a range of extra-curricular activities and athletics. Learn more at

Bill Odell
Director of Communications, Great Hearts
(602) 889-5034

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