Fordham Law

Fordham Law Alumna Helping to Develop Unique Charter School

January 04, 2010

Risa Drexler '09 has recently combined her love of the performing arts and her dedication to public service in a pioneering project at Lincoln Center Institute (LCI), the educational cornerstone of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Drexler is helping to establish Imagination Academy, an innovative charter middle and high school in the South Bronx that will incorporate the study of the arts throughout its curriculum.

As the Deputy Manager of Charter School Development, Drexler is responsible for many aspects of the project, from drafting portions of the charter to drumming up community support for the school.

"We're building this new school from the ground up," said Drexler. "I am utilizing literally every aspect of my Fordham Law education."

Drexler adds that she is honing her skills in distinctive areas such as executive management, community organizing, public service lawyering, and development. This experience will be advantageous when she begins work as an Associate at Kelley Drye & Warren next fall.

"I hope to continue with this project on a pro bono basis after I start at Kelley Drye," said Drexler. "There's a very satisfying amount of autonomy and creativity involved in this work."

Imagination Academy will offer a rigorous college-preparatory education through an interdisciplinary curriculum that incorporates the Capacities for Imaginative Learning, ten principles developed by the Institute to help students think critically and learn creatively. Drexler, also a performing artist, understands the importance of these skills. 

"Imaginative learning is part of the educational methodology developed by LCI. It empowers students to ask questions, pursue their passions, and approach new challenges with confidence,” said Drexler. "We’re excited to bring this model to the South Bronx, an area particularly in need of high quality public schools.

Before earning her J.D. from Fordham Law, Drexler studied music and vocal performance at Columbia and Boston University. She completed an externship in the Legal Department at Lincoln Center during her last year in law school and was also awarded the Archibald R. Murray Public Service Award.

Imagination Academy is tentatively scheduled to open in 2012. For more information, visit the school's Web site.

Contact: Stephen Eichinger