It is not uncommon to hear students and parents alike question why they need to know something when they can just look it up. In a world of Google, knowledge has lost its appeal. But Miranda Morton understands knowledge is power. Morton is the executive director of Agamim Classical Academy in Hopkins. Agamim is a charter school in its third year and currently serves students in kindergarten through sixth grade.
An Edina resident, Morton attended a small liberal arts college in Appleton, Wis., while her mother started a classical charter school in the same town. After graduating, Morton took on a teaching position at the school which meant her mom was her boss, her dad was her peer and her sister was her student. For her, education truly is a family business and a passion.
The vision for Agamim started seven years ago, when a group of parents saw a gap in the education system and decided to take action. Bryan Badzin, one of the founding parents, noted the importance of a values-based education. “We need goodness in our society. Intelligence is important but knowing how to do good with it is more valuable,” Badzin says.
For Morton, her involvement with Agamim started out as a fun side project and turned into a permanent position. Agamim has become Morton’s pride and joy, and it allows her to work closer to home. Previously, she spent more than six years in leadership roles at Nova Classical Academy in St. Paul during a time of rapid growth and change. “In many ways a school is like a business and requires the ability to be entrepreneurial and enterprising,” Morton says.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
The classical approach to learning reinforces this belief. Children need to memorize and know a lot. “You don’t look up what you don’t know,” Morton says. She believes classical education helps kids maintain excitement for education.
Her passion for the school is clear as she talks about the vision and how it has come to life. The founding families are equally as proud and thankful for the role Morton has played in Agamim’s success. “The job that Miranda has done has exceeded my hopes for the school. She has really brought the vision to life, building a curriculum that truly aligns with the mission, vision and values of the school,” Badzin says. One visitor commented he hadn’t seen a public school like this in 50 years.
In its third year, Agamim is thriving. The school started with 75 students and 10 staff and it opened the 2017–18 school year with 261 students and 30 staff. As students move from grade to grade, the school will grow with them. With that will come a need for more space to accommodate the demand, but this is the best problem a new charter school can have.
For Badzin, the school has become even more personal. Three of his four children now attend and his goal is simple: To do everything he can to support Morton and the school, its students and staff.
- January 28, 2018: 5–6:30 pm
- Agamim Classical Academy, 1503 Boyce St., Hopkins
- Free, RSVP with number of guests