Meet Leila Centner, Co-Founder and CEO of Centner Academy, who has taken a unique approach to education by building the first U.S. happiness school. Centner founded her school in Miami near the city’s Design District in 2019 after not finding the right school for her daughters anywhere in the country.
Centner Academy takes a holistic approach to education by focusing on children’s happiness, emotional well-being and language mastery. Serving preschool through 8th grade, the school’s curriculum explores leadership, mindfulness, artistic development, life skills, globally-focused academics, language mastery in English and Mandarin among other languages, physical education based on neuroscience, and a healthy organic diet.
The curriculum also aims to impart emotional intelligence through daily meditation and various educational approaches, in which the focus is on students’ academic achievement and social-emotional development. The school also offers meditation sessions for adults, giving parents and teachers the opportunity to release some of their fears and stress around parenting and teaching, respectively.
Centner Academy’s happiness model, based with guidance from positive psychology teacher Tal Ben-Shahar, proves happiness leads to success. Earlier this year, Centner Academy students took The MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) Assessment, which is administered to millions of students in thousands of schools and districts across the U.S. and in more than 145 countries around the world. Test results showed that 86% of Centner Academy students are at or above nationwide benchmarks for academic performance in Reading and 74% in Math. Some of their students also learned almost double what students across the country learned in the same time period.