City School Responses to COVID-19 & Lessons Learned

Friday, June 26 | 2:30-3:15pm

The move to shelter in place created massive disruptions. Join David Hardy (Founder of Boys Latin Charter School in Philadelphia), Andrew Hart (CEO, The Oaks Academy, Indianapolis, IN) Russ Gregg (Hope Academy, Minneapolis, MN), and Anika Prather (The Living Water School, Maryland) as they reflect on how their school community reacted to the crisis, and lessons that can be learned for next year, and for the private and charter sectors as a whole.

Russ Gregg

Russ Gregg (B.A., Global Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison) is co-founder and has served as Head of School since Hope Academy’s founding in 2000. He has been a resident of the Phillips neighborhood since 1994. In 1999, he was an administrator at a Christian School in Edina, and quit his job to help lay the groundwork for a Christian school for his urban neighbors. Russ and his wife Phyllis, who teaches 3rd grade at Hope Academy, live four blocks away from the school. They have three grown children. Russ serves on the Board of Directors of the Society for Classical Learning.

David Hardy

David Hardy had a vision of starting an all-boys charter school to address the unique academic and social needs of urban boys. Two years later, his vision became a reality when Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia Charter School welcomed its inaugural class under Mr. Hardy’s leadership. By 2008, Mr. Hardy had led the total transformation of a former Catholic school and church into one of the most modern, state-of-the-art school facilities in the region. Mr. Hardy served as CEO of Boy’s Latin for ten years before retiring in 2017. His experience also includes 19 years as a teacher and administrator at Community Academy of Philadelphia Charter School. Mr. Hardy is a nationally recognized authority on charter school education and school facility financing. He has been a presenter and advisor for multiple education and facilities conferences and coalitions.

Andrew Hart

Andrew Hart is the Chief Executive Officer of The Oaks Academy. From 2002 to 2015, he served as The Oaks’ Head of School. Earlier in his career, Andrew worked in Marketing Strategy and Business Development at Eli Lilly and Company and for two years was a faculty member at the University of Bucharest, Romania. He is a graduate of Washington and Lee University and holds a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Andrew is a thought leader in education and a passionate advocate of the Indianapolis community. In 2017, he was honored by Governor Holcomb with the Sagamore of the Wabash Award, one of the highest honors for an Indiana citizen. Andrew has developed and leads two successful fellowships with a focus on training, inspiring and supporting school leaders – the Indiana School Leader Fellowship and the Indiana Teacher Renewal Fellowship. In addition to his work at The Oaks, Andrew was the founding vice chairman of the board at Herron High School, an urban classical charter high school also in Indianapolis. He is a founding board member of the Circle City Fellows, chair of the board of Tabernacle Recreation League and serves as an Elder at Tabernacle Presbyterian Church. He is married and has two daughters, ages 16 and 18.

Anika Prather

Dr. Anika Prather has earned her B.A. from Howard University in elementary education and graduate degrees in education from New York University and Howard University. She has a Masters in liberal arts from St. John’s College and in 2017 completed her PhD in curriculum and instruction from the University of Maryland, College Park with a focus on literacy education. She has served as a teacher, director of education and the Head of School for public and Christian schools. Currently she is the founder of The Living Water School ( The inspiration for starting this school comes from her three creative and curious kids. Anika lives in Maryland with her husband Damon (an engineer and business manager for the school), 2 sons (Dillon-10/Destin-9), 1 daughter (Day-6) and way too many pets. Anika also enjoys urban farming and raises angora rabbits and spins yarn from their wool for her hobby of crocheting and knitting and a few herbs and veggies. Her inspirations in life are her grandmother (who taught her to crochet and garden), her mom (who led her to faith in Jesus Christ and introduced her to classical education), and Marva Collins and Anna Julia Cooper (whose lives and work serve as North Stars for her work in education).