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Sisu Academy Interviewed by University Magazine

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Mindy Ahrens and Jabez LeBret were recently interviewed by Gonzaga University's Bulletin about the opening of Sisu Academy. 

Here is an excerpt from the article: 

"After working to get his GED and attending many meetings with both the admissions and financial aid offices, LeBret found his home at GU. He distinctly remembers Dr. Phillip Ballinger, who was dean of admissions at the time, as playing a major role in his journey to GU.

“He really took a chance on me” said LeBret. “Something he said in the process that I didn’t realize at the time what he was really referring to was ‘don’t let me down.’ And I’d always kind of assumed at the time what he meant was be a good student and get good grades and make sure you go to class. What I think he really meant was be a steward of Gonzaga. And that extends far beyond being a student, that extends to the rest of your life.”

LeBret has dedicated his life to doing just that. He is currently in the process of opening a tuition-free boarding school for underprivileged youth in San Diego, called Sisu Academy.

Sisu will offer its students a multitude of unique learning opportunities including workshops for developing entrepreneurial spirit and project based learning scenarios. It will have a maker’s studio and a small farm, both of which will be housed on campus.

One of the main focuses of the school’s curriculum will be an approach called design thinking, a process of innovating and designing with human needs in mind. 

“We have a basic idea of what our school is … but we are definitely bringing in students to help us co-design the school from the beginning so it’s not just us adults saying 'This is what I think you need,' but instead actually listening and designing it with them,” said Mindy Ahrens, who has 20 years of teaching experience and will be the principal of Sisu Academy. “We bring one lens and they bring another lens and together as partners we will be designing.” -- Read the entire article here:

Front Page News Coverage of Sisu Academy!


Rachel Sun from the Spokesman Review interviewed Jabez LeBret about how his experience at Gonzaga University impacted his current project to build a tuition-free boarding school for underserved youth in San Diego. 

From the article:

"The boarding school will house roughly 350 students at full capacity, LeBret said, and is built on a STEAM – science, technology, engineering, arts and math – learning model.

“STEM” – a learning model based primarily on the hard sciences and math – “is super important, but design and art and music and literature are also very important,” he said. “It’s not that core education isn’t important, it’s how do we blend in more effectively activities that can help students learn creativity, learn problem-solving, learn critical thinking skills.”"

To read the full article please click here:

Philanthropy Magazine Features Sisu Academy in Spring 2018 Edition

Naomi Riley writes about the importance for some students to have access to boarding programs like Sisu Academy. 

Here are some excerpts from the article:

"With an absent father and mentally ill mother, Jabez LeBret relied on friends for places to stay throughout high school, and teachers and counselors for support. Despite their best efforts, he did not graduate. “The system wasn’t set up to manage my situation,” LeBret says.

But his story wasn’t over yet. He beat the odds and earned his GED, and then a college degree. He eventually launched a successful career in marketing. All the while he was trying to help kids who were like him—homeless, in foster care, or otherwise at risk.

“I can speak firsthand to what it’s like to be in a new home every two or three weeks. It creates constant stress and uncertainty.” What these children"

She continues, "But for children in extremely disorganized or dysfunctional families, a boarding school can be a saving grace. If the combination of a stable home and a decent education are the main predictors of adult success, then schools that offer these two things have a chance of dramatically improving life for some..."

We are honored to be in this prestigious donor magazine. For the full article please visit the Philanthropy Roundtable website. If you would like to interview us please email or call 619-630-0610


Jabez LeBret returns to Literacy for All radio show with Jose Cruz to give an update on Sisu.

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Jabez LeBret Interview on School for Startups Radio with Jim Beach (Syndicated in 26 Cities).

The One Year Project with Jabez LeBret on Moving from Homelessness to Business, Ultimately to Opening a Tuition-Free Boarding School. 

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When Business Collides with Good Causes. The Optimized Geek Interviews Jabez LeBret 

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Sisu Academy admits students and hires staff of any race, gender, sexual orientation, color, national and ethnic origins to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally afforded or made available at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, hiring and other school administered programs...because it is the right thing to do!