School is in Session at Goodwill!
When Dr. Harden, Head of School, opened the doors to The Goodwill Excel Center today, he was opening a world of opportunity to 150 lucky students that were beginning their first day of school. The Goodwill Excel Center isn’t your typical charter high school; the average age of our student body is 29 years old and many of our students are single parents looking to set a strong example for their children.
Although they are primarily looking to make a change for their own families, these bold students will help reshape the educational landscape of the Central Texas community. The child of a dropout is 50% more likely to drop out themselves, and our students are looking to put an end to that cycle. This ambition is something that Dr. Billy Harden is able to personally connect with.
“Both of my parents dropped out of high school. As a child, I saw firsthand the vital impact education can have as both of my parents chose to return to school to attain higher education and job training while raising four kids,” said Dr. Harden. “To further their legacy, I’m looking forward to helping other Central Texans return to school to achieve their education and career goals.”
A veteran educator and seasoned leader, Dr. Harden has spent most of his career working with at-risk students who have struggled to get their education. During his 15 years with the Austin Independent School District (AISD), Dr. Harden served as a middle school and high school teacher, and as an Assistant Principal and Principal at the Discipline Alternative Education Program (DAEP). With his experience, both professional and personal, Goodwill Central Texas is incredibly fortunate to have Dr. Harden as Head of School.
So, why has Goodwill Central Texas worked tirelessly to institute this first ever charter school in the state of Texas? A high school diploma is a fundamental component of success in a highly competitive job market; however, Texas has the lowest graduation rate of any state in the nation. According to Social Impact Research, individuals with a high school diploma have lifetime earnings of $400,000 more than those without one—increased earnings that could have a tremendous impact on families and on the Texas economy. Needless to say, this initiative dovetails perfectly into our mission of generating lifelong connections to work.
Empowering 100,000 Central Texans to transform their lives through work takes significant change and committed partnerships. As a donor, shopper, or mission advocate, we couldn’t do this GOOD work without you.