Co-Founders Sarah Ritsema + Courtney Egleston

    In July 2014, Sarah Ritsema and Courtney Egelston sat down at a six-foot picnic table and began to build a foundation for the Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship Academy (IDEA), Dallas ISD’s new choice school that would deliver an individualized education to each of its students. Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Next Generation Systems Initiative, the pair of educators, who served as IDEA’s founding principal and founding assistant principal, sought to structure IDEA around three cornerstones: personalized education, mentors and internships, and next generation skills.  After nearly a year of research, planning, proposals, and picnic table meetings, the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees voted 8-0 to officially open IDEA as a choice school in August 2015.

    Original Three Cornernerstones 


    Building on IDEA’s original foundation, which was firmly footed in the Three Cornerstones of  Personalized Education, mentors and internships and next generation skills, the School’s strategic plan has been refreshed to reflect the purpose and priorities.  IDEA’s Leadership Team, Faculty, Staff, and Families worked collaboratively during the Fall 2020 to develop this updated blueprint which captures our aspirational goals and affirms the progressive and strategic direction of the School. The direction shift included the adding of one additional cornerstone. Today, we have four cornerstones that guide student teaching and learning at IDEA:  Personalized Learning, Portrait of a Graduate, The IDEA, Internship, and Social Entrepreneurship.