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Adding a charter high school is her dream

At 105 Pleasant Ave. in Roosevelt, construction crews erect an 11,000-square-foot classroom annex, even as students in a finished part of the school complete their math and computer lessons.

And expansion plans for Roosevelt Children's Academy don't stop there. Charter school leaders hope within a year or two to start building a 20,000-square-foot high school in a vacant lot across the street.

"That's just our hope and our dream, and I think we're going to be able to follow up on our dream," said Superintendent Roxanne Greco-Ashley, now in her seventh year as chief academic administrator.

The growing popularity of Children's Academy among local parents and students is due in no small part to Greco-Ashley's leadership. As she walks around her school each day, dropping in on classes and holding one-on-one conferences with teachers, the diminutive woman exerts an outsize influence.

"She makes sure everything goes according to plan," said Simone Roberts, principal of the school's middle grades.

In prior administrative jobs, Greco-Ashley, 59, developed a track record of boosting academic achievement among Mexican-Americans in rural New Mexico and blacks in Kansas City, Mo.

After she arrived in Roosevelt, the charter school's test scores skyrocketed. And the superintendent has continued to broaden the curriculum by hiring specialists in art, music and technology.

Alexander Ikhehedu, 13, vice president of the school's student council, says its serious academic atmosphere is hard to match.

"The regular public high schools - you're not going to get as far," said the eighth-grader.

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