New Charter School to Open on JBAB


Contact: Kristen Wehmeyer, Marketing & Communications Manager, kwehmeyer@learncharter.org



Washington, D.C. – LEARN Charter School Network (LEARN) is pleased to announce the opening of its Washington D.C. campus on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB) in Fall 2021. LEARN was selected through a rigorous, parent-led process conducted by the Ward 8 Parent Operator Selection Team (POST) to select a new Pre-K through 8th grade public charter school school that would serve children who live on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling and in the adjacent Ward 8 neighborhood. LEARN D.C. will be the first school in the region to focus on the unique needs of both military and civilian families.

For nearly two decades, LEARN has created measurable, transformational change in the lives of students. LEARN alumni graduate from 4-year universities at a rate that is 10 points above the national average for all students, regardless of social-economic, race or ethnicity, when tracked from 9th grade. LEARN also has a proven track record of successfully educating military and civilian families through its schools on Naval Station Great Lakes in North Chicago, IL, which consistently outperform district managed schools and rank among the highest performing elementary schools in IL. Greg White, LEARN President and CEO, stated “we are incredibly honored to be selected by the parents of the Ward 8 POST committee, and we are excited to offer an exceptional LEARN education to the children of JBAB and Ward 8.”

The Ward 8 POST parents, a diverse selection committee representing both the Ward 8 community and JBAB, sought a school that would provide rigorous academics within a compassionate and loving culture. Tara Brown, Ward 8 POST Parent, shared her excitement about the arrival of LEARN in D.C. “LEARN D.C. is the culmination of the hopes and dreams that we all have for the education of our children. The respect that LEARN D.C. has for parents, children and this city is an excellent foundation on which to build a school. I am so excited for our families to experience it.”

Colonel Mike Zuhlsdorf, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Commander also shared his excitement and support. “This is an awesome partnership between JBAB, LEARN and D.C. Ward 8 that is the culmination of a lot of teamwork over the last few years. Without a doubt, these new educational opportunities will increase the readiness of our force and their families while providing great learning opportunities for the children of D.C.’s Ward 8.”

The launch of LEARN D.C. will be led by newly appointed Executive Director Dr. Jill Gaitens. Dr. Gaitens will be responsible for directing the opening of LEARN’s campus. Dr. Gaitens brings an exceptional level of education and management experience to her role, as well as a deep understanding and commitment to serving both military and civilian families. She formerly worked for the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) as the Director of Central and Coastal Virginia. She also worked for Virginia Beach City Public Schools, where she led the start-up of Green Run Collegiate, an International Baccalaureate charter school. “We are exceptionally fortunate to have Dr. Gaitens join the LEARN team. She is a proven leader who brings a wealth of education experience and knowledge to her new role,” stated Greg White, LEARN President and CEO.

LEARN was previously awarded a $6.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education for the replication and expansion of high-quality charter schools, a portion of which has been dedicated to development of the new campus at JBAB. Through the My School D.C. Common Lottery, 50% of the seats at LEARN D.C. will be reserved for children of active duty military service members, with the balance available to all D.C. children. Parent outreach off the installation will be focused on the Ward 8 community. At capacity, LEARN D.C. will serve 550 public school children.


Founded in 2001, LEARN Charter School Network is an elementary charter school network with 10 schools serving Pre-K through 8th grade students. For nearly two decades, LEARN has created measurable, transformational change in the lives of students from at-risk communities educating 4,000 low income (88%) and minority (98%) students. LEARN is a Black led organization with a leadership team that is 75% minority providing strong role models and empathy for the life experience of its students. The mission of LEARN Charter School Network is to provide students with the academic foundation and ambition to earn a college degree.

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