New Profit is excited to announce the launch of our Personalized Learning Initiative, an education initiative aimed towards inclusive social entrepreneurship and personalized learning. The Personalized Learning Initiative is part of a dual launch of education initiatives, alongside the Proximity Accelerator.

The Personalized Learning Initiative, which is led by New Profit Partner Trevor Brown, is an effort to invest in promising new approaches and technologies that can give students more agency in their own learning journey and provide teachers with tools to tailor classroom instruction to the unique needs of each student. As part of this four-year initiative, seven selected organizations will each receive an unrestricted grant of $1 million. Today we celebrate one of the seven selected organizations: Valor Collegiate Academics.

About Valor Collegiate Academies

Valor Collegiate Academies is a network of free, public college prep schools in South Nashville serving a diverse population offering a rigorous curriculum in which students of all previous preparation levels will find success. Significant time and resources are invested into programs that develop scholar’s social-emotional skills, character strengths and physical health. Their mission is to prepare a diverse student population for success in college and to live inspired and purposeful lives. Our scholars will graduate with academic skills, social-emotional skills, and positive character strengths that rival the outcomes of the best schools in the world.

About Todd Dickson

Todd is the Founder and CEO of Valor Collegiate Academics. Todd came to the field of education as a second career in 2000 after successfully building the Melton Group, a residential real estate company in Colorado, from 1995-2000. After attending Stanford for a Master’s degree in education, he taught physics for five years at the nationally acclaimed public Hillsdale High School, the private International School of Lisbon, and Summit Preparatory Charter School (Summit Prep) before taking the role of Executive Director at Summit Prep. Under his leadership, Summit Prep was named the #118 best public high school in America for the first time in 2008, and the #76 best public high school in 2009. In 2010, Summit Prep was named one of the top 10 Transformational Schools in the country by Newsweek (using comparative graduation rates, SAT scores, AP performance, and number of low-income students). Todd holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Denver where he was named the Colorado Engineering Student of the Year amongst all Colorado colleges. He was also was an All-American lacrosse player and team captain. In addition, he holds a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University. When not thinking about how to transform public education, Mr. Dickson enjoys spending time with his wife of 14 years and their three young children. He also enjoys running, surfing, and watching all things Colorado sports.

About Daren Dickson

Daren is the Chief Culture Officer of Valor Collegiate Academics. Daren joins Valor after spending 16 years developing his skills as a therapist, social worker, clinical and program director, and social justice advocate. He is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has spent much of his career working with vulnerable youth and communities through Seneca Center, a non-profit agency in the Bay Area, California. At Seneca, Daren helped to envision, build, and implement a range of programs, including schools, aimed at empowering youth, families, and communities to create more satisfying lives for themselves.
Daren has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering (Denver University and Stanford University) and a Master’s degree in Integral Counseling (California Institute of Integral Studies). Having studied traditionally left-brain and right-brain disciplines, he finds great value in striking a balance between them and in helping young people develop this capacity in their own lives.

Follow @valorcollegiate @jdarendickson & @rtodddickson to keep up with Valor!

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