In Chapter 3 of 13 in his 2011 Capture Your Flag interview with host Erik Michielsen, data analytics expert Ken Rona answers "How are You Approaching the K-12 School Search Relocating from DC to Atlanta?" Moving to DC before having children teaches Rona the importance of moving to a place where schools are well matched to the kids' learning needs. Now, as he moves to Atlanta, Rona shares how he and his wife are navigating the school search process.
Erik: How are you approaching the K-12 school search relocating from DC to Atlanta? Ken: When we bought our house in DC, we – my wife was very pregnant at the time and my consideration was that I had to get her into a house and I – in the back of my mind, I very remember – actually, not in the back, in the front even – I remember thinking there is no way that we’re gonna be in this house five years. So we really didn’t look at the school district. I have learned that is a stone-cold mistake, stone-cold, and so the first thing – I mean I’ve really learned a lot, and both of us learned a lot from the experience. What the first thing I learned is let the wife pick the house next time, don’t do it yourself. The thing that we have – so, you know, then all of a sudden your daughter is, you know, your kid is four, you start looking at the school. You go, oh, the school is not ready for my kid. My daughter reads past grade level now and she’s, you know, she’s in kindergarten, I mean she’s coming up on second-grade level, I would guess. So the thought of putting her in a place that was not going to challenge her and not going to help her develop, you know, it was hard for us to think about putting her into a school that was not going to let her grow as fast as she could. She loves reading. She loves the freedom of it. She loves that she doesn’t have to say daddy, what does that say, because she can read – she just casually reads. The other day she’s like oh experience. I’m like how do you know experience? You know, she just reads crazy words, like how do you get – she just – she got it, right. So the thought of sending her to a school that was not going to accelerate her growth but actually, I think, actually retard it, was very hard. So what instead what we did was for the Atlanta school search, we pivoted that, right, we picked the schools first, and then based on the school that we finally select, that will figure out the location. We’re actually right in the middle of that process. So Charlotte and Doyle both have gotten into all the schools they applied to, yay, a very competitive set. I’m so super thrilled for them, so excited they have a lot of options. Their mother and I will have to process them for them given their age, but really thrilled, right, that they have these options. So now we have to kind of go through and figure out which one of those schools is a good fit for our values. You know, schools to me, I thought about this when I was at Duke, I had this realization. Schools are a bit like factories, right. You’re a bit of raw material when you go in and you come out as something. They have in their minds, I think, the good schools, have a person, a type of person they want to, you know, send out into the world. So I think, for us now, we’re trying to figure out which school is closest match, right, where we agree to that vision, but we’re – I think we’re hunting it out.