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Former Charter School Head Tapped to Lead Pricey Private School in Red Hook

By Nikhita Venugopal | January 23, 2014 3:33pm
 Community Board 6 overwhelmingly opposed a plan for a Basis Independent Brooklyn, new $23,000-per-year private school in Red Hook Dec. 11.
Basis Independent Brooklyn
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RED HOOK — A controversial private school that’s planned for Red Hook has appointed a new leader.

Jill McConnell was tapped as founding head of Basis Independent Brooklyn, a proposed 1,000-seat private school that will charge $23,500 in annual tuition with no scholarships for students in its first year.

Basis Independent will be one of the first private schools for Basis, a for-profit company that also runs charter schools in Texas, Washington D.C., and Arizona.

McConnell joined the company in 2011 as a speaker for its teacher-training program and was later appointed to lead Basis Mesa, one of the Arizona charter schools.

McConnell earned her Bachelor of Science and Masters of Arts degrees in English from Radford University and completed course work in medieval literature for a PhD at Duquesne University, according to the school’s website

She also joined the teacher development program Classrooms Without Borders on a Holocaust study tour to Poland.

"BASIS Independent Brooklyn will be the best education before higher-education. I'm thrilled for the opportunity of a new community embracing our proven academic program,” said McConnell, through an announcement on the school's website.

“To bring this model to the nation’s energy center, to have it help fulfill American dreams here in New York, makes me very excited.”

McConnell did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The controversial private school failed to win the backing of Community Board 6 last December due to lack of neighborhood outreach and its “inappropriate” location.

Residents in Red Hook overwhelmingly opposed plans to build the expensive private school that would be located just a few blocks from Brooklyn’s largest public housing complex.

CB6 voted against an application from the Board of Standards and Appeals that would permit the school’s operators to build an 89,556-square-foot building at 556 Columbia St., which isn’t zoned for school use.

The application will be reviewed by the BSA, although a date for the hearing has not yet been scheduled, according to its website.

Basis Independent Brooklyn plans to open this fall.