LeBron James along with other celebrities who have launched schools

With the launch of a public school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, LeBron James has joined a long list of celebrities who have tried to leave their mark on the education centres.

The NBA star, who recently left the Cleveland Cavaliers and signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, was on hand Monday to welcome children on the I Promise School, built in a partnership with the LeBron James Family Foundation and Akron City Schools. The school started with a group of third – and fourth-graders and plans to expand to serve through eighth grades by 2022.

James has said that the school, with a non-traditional schedule and the year-round programming, can have a lasting impact for children with a view on the types of challenges that he during a rough childhood. James grew up without a father, and he missed a lot of school, because he and his mother lacked transportation.

Here is a look at some of the other celebrities who have been involved in the creation of schools, sometimes with mixed results:


The NFL Hall of Famer and co-founder of a multi-campus charter school called Prime Prep Academy in Texas in 2012. He trained there and served in other capacities, but had a poor relationship with administrators, and was twice shot and he. The school enrollment pushed to the middle of the financial and administrative problems, and it closed in the beginning of 2015.


The singer has funded at least a half-dozen schools for the children in her native Colombia over the past two decades with her foundation Pies Descalzos, which means barefoot in Spanish. These settings include a $6 million school she dedicated in 2009 in her hometown, Barranquilla, Colombia, on the Caribbean coast. She then said that her foundation’s work on “breaking the myth that quality education is the privilege of the few.”


The Lakers legend also announced in 2011 that he is working with for-profit EdisonLearning Inc. to lend his name and business skills to promote dropout recovery centers. The effort expanded to at least 17 Bridgescape schools in six countries within a few years with the aim of reducing early school leaving in urban areas. The company and Johnson parted ways after five years, but EdisonLearning says four Bridgescape Learning Academies still work with the Chicago Public Schools.


The singer and his wife, teacher Susan Benedetto, founder of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in New York in 2001, naming it after the legendary singer, who was Bennett’s best friend. The public performing arts high school in Queens, who will get support of Bennett’s non-profit group, admits students based on auditions. It features a high graduation rate, with alumni who have gone on to study at a variety of top arts colleges.


The actor, rapper and his actress wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, founder of the private New Village Academy in the Los Angeles area in 2008. Pinkett Smith said that she was moved to start the school after the development of home-schooling for their own children, but it was embroiled in a controversy about the rumours of the curriculum used teaching methods developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. The couple and school leaders denied a connection with the church. The school reportedly closed in 2013. Representatives for the couple could not immediately be reached for comment.


The tennis great ran the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy for underprivileged youth in his hometown of Las Vegas. In 2016, the academy was transferred to an out-of-state operator, and it is renamed Democracy Prep at Agassi Campus. The school change was forced by a state of Nevada initiative that focused on low-performing schools. The Andre Agassi Foundation for Education is also tied to a fund that helps charter school operators get access to the buildings and facilities in the entire country.


The performer and the entrepreneur have a different role in 2016 as the founder of the Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School in the New York district where he was born. He said that it was a dream come true to create the school, which is part of a group of schools aimed at supporting historically disadvantaged students.


The rapper, whose real name is Armando Christian Perez, is a celebrity ambassador for the Sport and Leadership Academy, which has locations in Miami and Henderson, Nevada. He appeared at ceremonies for the schools, which focus on sports medicine, marketing, business and management. The academy is in the hands of the Sports and Leadership Academy Foundation, and he is not a financial donor.


The pop star founded the charity Raising Malawi in 2006 to help vulnerable children in the poor southern African nation. Her work has included helping to build schools. It is also funded children’s wing in a hospital that opened last year.


Ho reported from Seattle, Franko from Columbus, Ohio. Follow the reporters on Twitter and

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.

Most popular