Karen Pritzker and Jeanette DiBella

While visiting Cambodia in 2005, Daniel and Karen Pritzker were struck by the country’s considerable educational needs. Soon after their return to the United States, the idea was born for the Jay Pritzker Academy; its mission is dedicated to educating academically talented and motivated students from low income families in Siem Reap, to maximize their potential and their ability to build a better future for themselves, their families and their country. They envisaged JPA as an international standard school capable of preparing bright Cambodian children for entry into universities in the United States and other developed countries. Daniel and Karen Pritzker founded the Jay Pritzker Academy in 2006 to be a Pre-K through 12 school based on the highest international educational standards, to serve bright Cambodian children from impoverished families in the Siem Reap area. Part of this model was originated by a school in the United States also supported by Dan and Karen. Providence St. Mel serves a predominantly African-American community in the city of Chicago and also dedicates its efforts to educating its students for entry into top tier universities in the United States. It is within this model of high student expectations, a rigorous curriculum, and a sense of accountability for its staff that Jay Pritzker Academy was born. (from the Jay Pritzker Academy website)

Jeanette M. DiBella, the Principal of Providence St. Mel School, is an education professional with more than two decades of administrative and teaching experience. As Principal, Ms. DiBella oversees the day-to-day operations of Providence St. Mel, provides guidance and leadership for teachers and administrators, and coordinates a preschool-12 curriculum that surpasses national standards. In addition to serving as principal at this school, Ms. DiBella is the Chief Educational Officer of Jay Pritzker Academy in Siem Ream, Cambodia which is modeled after Providence St. Mel School. In both capacities, she is responsible for the instructional framework including curriculum and instruction. Consistently recognized for her contributions to effective education, Ms. DiBella has garnered several awards and accolades over the years, including the Crystal Apple Award, given by the Michigan State University College of Education to recognize only the most outstanding educators in the country. (Source: Providence St. Mel website)

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