Pursuing New Roads' new dreams
By Robert Scheer
Published June 1, 2000 in the Los Angeles Times
How many guys turn a midlife crisis into an educational revolution? That's the story of Paul Cummins, the founder of Crossroads school, who could have retired gracefully after decades of shepherding one of the best private schools in the country. Instead, he turned over leadership of Crossroads to his assistant, Roger Weaver, and went on to found the New Roads schools with the aim of extending the benefits of a Crossroads-style education to those who can't afford private tuition.
The goal is to provide one full-scholarship match for each paying student. New Roads now operates out of locations in Baldwin Hills, an elementary school at the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Monica, and its high school on Olympic Boulevard, which is holding its first graduation this Sunday.
Paul is a dreamer who gets remarkable things done, and to have created a new model of a private prep education in which more than 50% of the students are non-white and more than 60% get financial aid is a dream worth pursuing.
This guy is not through dreaming and doing, and by the time Paul's done, you can look for his new complex at 3131 Olympic Blvd., the former site of Hot Tub Fever, to become a major hub of educational innovation for the nation. In his free time, Paul has been working another track, restoring the arts to the public schools, but more about that some other time.