Founded in 2007 under the Center for the Future of Arizona umbrella, Beat the Odds Institute is a rigorous, multi-year school improvement program providing mentoring and training for principals.
Based upon research and methodology from best-selling author Jim Collins, it focuses on K-12 schools where at least 50 percent of the students are on free or reduced lunch and at least 50 percent are minority, primarily Latino.
“All of Arizona owes Marjorie Kaplan a debt of deep gratitude for her tireless commitment to helping students of all backgrounds ‘beat the odds’, enabling them to go forward as valuable, contributing members to the Arizona economy”, said Center for the Future of Arizona Chairman and CEO Dr. Lattie Coor. “She has truly made a difference.”
Serving at the helm of Beat the Odds Institute was an encore career for Kaplan, who brought more than 40 years of K-12 education experience to the post. During her tenure as director, 189 minority-intensive, low-income public, charter and tribal schools throughout Arizona participated in the program.
Kaplan received her bachelor’s degree from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She grew up in the East, moving to Arizona when she was 23-years-old. She earned her master’s and doctorate degrees from Arizona State University and spent 27 years in education in the Phoenix area, serving as teacher and principal in the Washington School District; and then in the Paradise Valley School District, as assistant superintendent and superintendent for 11 years.
While in metropolitan Phoenix, Kaplan was named one of the Top 100 Educators in the United States by Executive Educator magazine. She also received the Arizona Superintendent of the Year award from the American Association of School Administrators and the Outstanding Arizona Superintendent from the Arizona School Administrators Association.
In 1992, she was recruited to serve as superintendent of the Shawnee Mission School District, located in a Kansas City suburb. Despite demographic and budget challenges during her 16 years as superintendent, Expansion Management magazine awarded the district a gold medal rating every year, ranking it among the top four percent of school districts nationally.
Kaplan currently serves and plans to continue as an adjunct professor teaching leadership courses at the university level.
Participation in Beat the Odds is open to K-12 public, charter and tribal schools throughout the state. Schools are now being enrolled for the 2015-2016 school year.
About the Center for the Future of Arizona
The Center for the Future of Arizona www.ArizonaFuture.org is an independent 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization. Its mission is to help Arizonans shape and define the future through an action-oriented agenda focused on contemporary issues and topics critical to the state. More than a think tank, the center is an independent “do tank” that combines public-policy research with collaborative partnerships and initiatives that will create new opportunities for all Arizonans.