Dr. Nancy Grayson
Founder and Superintendent (1998 – 2011)
Under the leadership of Dr. Nancy Grayson, East Waco Innovative School Development, Inc. was awarded a charter by the Texas State Board of Education in March 1998. Rapoprt Academy opened as a public charter school in the fall of 1998 with 16 students in East Waco, an economically depressed area of the city. Dr. Grayson founded the school in response to failing TAAS scores in 1998 among low-income, minority students in East Waco (30% of 3rd graders passed the exam while only 10% of 5th graders passed). By the fall of 2000, 122 elementary students were enrolled in a 17,500 square foot facility situated directly across the street from a large apartment housing development. Children were able to walk to school, and parents volunteer during the school day.
After renovating a 17,000 sq. ft. building on Quinn Campus in East Waco in 2003, Dr. Grayson opened the middle school campus, which now serves 5th through 8th grades. Direct access to the YMCA on campus provides students with state-of-theart exercise and gymnasium facilities for physical education and sports programs. The middle school campus became a 1-A UIL sports program in the fall of 2008. All campuses currently compete in 1-A UIL academic competitions, as well as science and history fair.
In 2005, the academy was awarded a second charter to develop a high school program. The high school opened in the fall of 2006, and was initially located on the campus of Texas State Technical College in Waco to allow students access to college courses while in high school. The high school was subsequently awarded both the T STEM and ECHS designations of the Texas High School Project, with a grant through the Communities Foundation of Texas (funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Michael and Susan Dell Foundation). As a T STEM academy, the high school program promotes the integration of science, technology, engineering and math across the curriculum in order to develop students’ critical thinking and problem solving skills. As an Early College High School (ECHS), the program compresses the traditional high school course of study, allowing students to engage in college coursework as early as 9th grade! Students can earn up to 60 hours of transferable college credit before high school graduation, with no cost to the students or families.
Each of Rapoport’s campuses continue to receive accolades. The elementary campus has been recognized as one of 9 charter schools nationwide with outstanding literacy programs, and the elementary staff has twice received the Texas Educator’s Excellence Grant (TEEG) award for teaching excellence. The middle school was awarded the same teaching excellence award in 2007 and the high school received the TEEG award in 2008. The academy has also been the recipient of an $800K grant to disseminate best practices among charter schools (A+ Best Practices Program).