Nashville CEO Opens Haitian School

Original article published in The Tennessean by Jamie McGee,

After years of planning and fundraising, 20/20 Research CEO Jim Bryson opened a school in Haiti last week, serving 31 kindergarten students.

The Joseph School is near Cabaret, about 16 miles from Port-au-Prince, and the students are from nearby villages. Five Haitian teachers will lead the school.

Bryson began developing plans for the school after traveling to Haiti in the wake of the 2010 earthquake. Recognizing the educational shortcomings exacerbated by the natural disaster, he began raising funds to build The Joseph School.

Bryson originally envisioned the school as a secondary school for orphaned children. Instead, the school will begin with 5 and 6-year-olds and will add a grade level each year through high school. While some students are orphans, the school has expanded its scope.

“We discovered that to start as a secondary school, you are pulling kids from educational experiences that are really widely varying,” Bryson said. “We made the determination that the best way to impact the students and to impact the country over the long term was actually to start at the beginning and give them a very high level of education starting in kindergarten, all the way through.”

The school opened Sept. 21, with local leaders and several parents joining the children in their new uniforms.

“We were so well received in the city of Cabaret that we got a lot of support, a lot of help,” Bryson said.

The Joseph School is in a rented house, and plans are underway to build a facility, Bryson said.