Here is the testimony of Dr. James Hanak as given before the Pennsylvania Department of Education on December 16, 2002.


Dr. James HanakWe believe that each generation must raise up leaders to solve the unique problems of that age.

In America we have survived a Revolutionary War, a Civil War, two World Wars and a host of diseases, plagues, economic depressions, natural disasters and the expansion of our country from one ocean to another.

We did this primarily because of the dedication of our country’s leaders to the training and education of our youth.

Now we face new problems:

  • 800 million people go to bed each night hungry.
  • 40 million people worldwide are infected with the fatal, incurable disease of AIDS.
  • The greatest international military threat is the seemingly unstoppable plague of terrorism.

These new problems require new leadership and new ways of thinking.

That is what Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School is all about.  We are dedicated to new ways of thinking and new ways of learning. We want our students to be totally engaged every minute they are attending school. We want our students to believe that “thinking outside the box” is the norm, not the exception.  We want our students to study the great leaders of history and to learn from them what character qualities made them successful.

  • From Socrates to Adam Smith
  • From Marco Polo to Neil Armstrong
  • From Archimedes to Thomas Edison
  • From Copernicus to Jonas Salk
  • From Moses to Tom Clancy
  • From Da Vinci to Norman Rockwell
  • From Bach to John Williams
  • From Charlemagne to Churchill
  • From Alexander the Great to Eisenhower

We want our students to tap in to their talents and potential to discover the traits that they have been given to enable them to aspire to their individual dreams.

I served on the advisory board for Col. James (Jim) Irwin, 8th man to walk on the moon. Before he died, my wife Polly and I set up opportunities for him to visit elementary, middle and high schools throughout Pennsylvania.

As Jim was growing up in Pittsburgh, he would tell his mother, “someday I will walk on the moon.”  Little did she comprehend that young man’s wishful statement. Wherever Jim spoke, he told the students, “Reach for your dreams.”  We on the Board of Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School want to enable our students to not only reach for their dreams but to fulfill them.

On behalf of the Directors of the Board of Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School I would like to leave you with one challenge.

How will we do this?

As the other directors have told you, we will:

  • Provide an individual program of instruction for each child.
  • Insure a home facilitator for each student that has regular interaction with the school’s teachers and counselors.
  • Provide a fully interactive, self-contained website with teachers on line each day communicating with their students.
  • Partner with the most effective curriculum companies that meet or exceed Pennsylvania Standards.
  • Seek to upgrade to the latest affordable technology as it becomes available.
  • Host conferences for students in their special area of interest – with a special emphasis on multiple languages study.
  • Provide continuous on-line grading that students and parents alike may view.

We know full well that most of our students will not become the CEOs of General Electric or discover the genetic cure for Alzheimer’s Disease.  Yet, they all will be leaders in their own sphere of influence.

Should you allow us the charter to begin this noble experiment, we will do all that we can to see that each of our students receives the individual attention and support he or she needs in order to develop to the greatest of their potential.  Thank you for your interest in our vision and for your kind consideration of our request for a charter.