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Lakenna Booker founds and opens Memphis Merit Academy Charter School

Updated: Jul 30

Memphis Merit Academy Charter School is expected to open its new campus in the 4000 block of American Way by fall 2024. The charter school currently teaches students in kindergarten through fourth grade, and plans to add a fifth grade section by fall 2023.

The school will occupy the former Kroger space, and smaller storefronts in the adjoining shopping plaza will be leased to companies and organizations that cater to student needs, according to a release from Memphis Merit Academy.

"It is the beginning of hope in a community where things are so bleak," Booker said in a statement. "I know firsthand the challenges families face, having grown up in this part of Memphis. It brings me immense joy to lead an organization that is helping transform economic development in the neighborhood."

The school launched in 2019 and will keep adding grades until kindergarten through eighth grade education is offered. It is the only charter school in Parkway Village. Lakenna Booker, the head of school and founder, grew up in Parkway Village. The purchase of the retail properties, she said, goes beyond a simple facilities acquisition.

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Charter school purchases Parkway Village shopping center

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