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James and Rosemary Phalen Leadership Academy Celebrates First Graduating Class!

Phalen Leadership Academies Celebrates its First Graduating Class at James and Rosemary Phalen Leadership Academy

(Indianapolis, Indiana) – On Saturday, June 4th,  James and Rosemary Phalen Leadership Academy will be celebrating a momentous milestone in their school history. James and Rosemary Phalen Leadership Academy is a part of the  Phalen Leadership Academies’ (PLA) network and is proud to usher off thirty-two graduates this year during their in-person graduation ceremony.

Named after his brother and sister, James and Rosemary Phalen Leadership Academy is an actualization of Earl Martin Phalen’s vision of ensuring that children are provided with a high-quality education, no matter the zip code and that they meet high academic and social standards. As an A-Rated, tuition-free charter school for grades 7th-12th, James and Rosemary Phalen Leadership Academy takes pride in ensuring scholars thrive as leaders at home, in their communities, and in the world.

"I am beyond proud of our James and Rosemary Phalen Leadership Academy graduates, teachers and support staff,” said PLA Founder & CEO, Earl Martin Phalen. "Scholars, soon it will be your first day on a college campus, the first day at your new job and, for some of you, graduation day is the first day of no more school. Wherever your journey takes you from here, you'll run into doing something for the first time, and you'll be prepared for it. The imprint you've left as the first graduating class will be remembered by classes who follow."

Placed in foster care at birth, Earl Martin Phalen, could have been another of many African-American children who struggle unsuccessfully through state foster care systems. However, in 1968, he was adopted by George and Veronica Phalen, who instilled a sense of social justice and equality into the education pioneer. This led Earl Martin Phalen to discover his passion for education and ultimately found Phalen Leadership Academies (PLA).

“Congratulations James and Rosemary Phalen Leadership Academy graduates,” said Earl Martin Phalen’s brother, Jimmy Phalen. “You survived a pandemic and nothing can stop you now. Your next adventure awaits and we’re excited to see where it leads you. Good luck!”

The 2022 graduating class is full of future game changers and college bound scholars. All thirty-two James and Rosemary Phalen Leadership Academy senior graduates have been accepted into post secondary education programs at colleges and universities across the country.

“I am incredibly proud of the staff and scholars in our first graduating class,” said Principal Nicole Fama. “This class has future doctors, engineers, educators, barbers, and so much more. While we will miss them dearly, we wish them continued success and will be here when they need us. We look forward to celebrating their next set of accomplishments with them in the near future.

Many students have excelled in spite of tough experiences. Darrance Jennings, James and Rosemary Phalen Leadership Academy’s Class President and Salutatorian, is an example of true perseverance and the will to forge forward.

“James and Rosemary Phalen Leadership Academy is like home and people are like family. It has been my saving grace, and the staff always puts scholars and families first,” said Class President and Salutatorian, Darrance Jennings. “This graduating class is a very special group of kids and we’ve been blessed to be the first graduating class at JRP.”

The 2022 Valedictorian, Jennifer Castillo, is also a true testament to the power of education and has received many accolades for her academic performance.

“James and Rosemary Phalen Leadership Academy has not only taught me academics, but it has also taught me how to treat people and how to be a good person,” said class Valedictorian Jennifer Castillo. “I love JRP and will miss it greatly!”

“What an incredible moment for these thirty-two graduates and for our entire organization. I am so proud of these scholars, their families, their teachers and their school leaders for their hard work over the past four years,” said Justin Blackstone. “I also want to thank our generous donors here in Indianapolis and across the country. Our mission at PLA is to ensure our scholars meet high academic and social standards, and thrive as leaders at home, in their communities and in the world. Thanks to their overwhelming support, we’re able to take one step closer to fulfilling that mission on June 4th.”

Through data driven instruction, brand new state-of-the art technology and facilities, and exceptional teachers who truly care about their success, James and Rosemary Phalen Leadership Academy is proud to equip its graduates with the tools they need to succeed. As a fully immersive and well rounded academic experience, students learn robotics and coding and have the option to participate in daily enrichment courses in arts and humanities.

PLA’s ultimate vision is that scholars master key academic skills, and demonstrate strong character, as exhibited by honesty, service to others, a superior work ethic, and a strong vision for and belief in their futures. PLA believes that with the right education, all children can ​fulfill their ​tremendous ​innate potential​.

Can’t attend the in-person ceremony? Graduation will also be livestreamed on Facebook and viewers can tune in at this link.

Congratulations to the first graduating class of James and Rosemary Phalen Leadership Academy. Click Here to make a gift to the PLA Fund to support our scholars in 2022.

About Phalen Leadership Academies: Phalen Leadership Academies is a nonprofit school management organization with over 25 schools across the country in Indiana, Ohio, Texas, Alabama, Michigan and Washington D.C. 

For more information about Phalen Leadership Academies (PLA) and its dedication to shaping scholars everywhere, please visit  or to donate in support of Phalen’s efforts, visit