Dr. Naomi Johnson Booker

Our Founder

Educator, administrator, Charter School Founder and Entrepreneur

Before entering making her mark in the charter school space, Dr. Booker spent 30 years in the School District of Philadelphia as a classroom teacher, building principal, and assistant superintendent. During the following two decades, she built powerful charter school network that positively impacted the lives of tens of thousands of urban scholars. 

Dr. Naomi Johnson Booker has built an extensive career in transforming failing schools into successful learning institutions. She is a public education innovator: through GLA’s leadership and global studies program, Dr. Booker incorporated learning outside the classroom into the school’s curriculum by sending scholars on multistate and overseas excursions. She has been credited for changing the poverty mindset that has afflicted generations of West Philadelphia families as she and her leadership staff work each day to close  America’s Exposure Gap by giving scholars a new vision — a vision that says they are the Future Leaders of the World.

Dr. Booker has taken her scholars across the globe to destinations that include China, Haiti, Jamaica, Kenya, East Africa, and The Bahamas. Her scholars begin excursions in kindergarten exploring Philadelphia. As they move up through middle school, scholars embark on a Civil Rights tour that spans Birmingham, Atlanta, and Memphis, follow the Underground Railroad from Philadelphia to Canada, and then in 8th grade, ship out to an overseas destination. By the time the scholars leave 8th grade, they are passport-holding citizens who have clocked more excursion travel than the average college graduate.

Having worked in the School District of Philadelphia for more than 30 years, Dr. Booker began her career as an elementary school teacher, ultimately rising to the position of Area Superintendent/Cluster leader managing 15 schools, including three high schools. On her way up to that position, she served as the principal of Clymer Elementary–an experience that would shape her charter school career as she transformed the school into a high-quality learning institution. 

In 2001, Dr. Booker entered the charter school sector, serving as Regional Vice President of Curriculum and Instruction for a charter school management organization. In 2006, The School District of Philadelphia asked Dr. Booker to take over a failing charter school. She renamed the school as Global Leadership Academy Charters School, which today is recognized as Philadelphia’s flagship K-8 charter school.

Dr. Booker is the recipient of multiple prestigious industry and business awards including:

·      Kathleen Cooper Wright Award for her dissertation– the highest award a Nova Southeastern University Ed.D. candidate can earn.

·      Lindback Foundation – Distinguished Principal Award

·      Philadelphia City Council Named Dr. Booker a “Philadelphia Living Legend.”  

·      Philadelphia Business Journal “Woman of Distinction.” 

Despite her busy work schedule, Dr. Booker has given much of her time to the public school choice movement and various causes.

Dr. Booker’s service includes:

·       African American Charter School Coalition, Co-founder

·      Keystone Alliance, Founder and Past President

·       Mann Music Center, Board Member

·       Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, Board Member, Advisory Council Member

·      Philadelphia Charters for Excellence, Founder, Former Vice President

·      Sunday Breakfast Mission, Board Member

Legislative Testimony

·       PA Public School Building Construction & Reconstruction Advisory (PlanCon) Committee

·      Education Funding – PA Senate Education Committee