Our History


Founded in 1997, LEAP Academy is one of the thirteen inaugural public charter schools in the State of New Jersey and the first one in Camden City. LEAP opened its doors in September 1997 to 324 students in grades K-5 in temporary modular buildings located in Linden Street Today, LEAP serves 1,560 students in grades K-12. LEAP has established a successful high school graduation and college placement track record, achieving 100% graduation and college placement rates since its first graduating class in 2005.

Under the strategic and visionary leadership of Dr. Gloria Bonilla-Santiago, along with a group of local parents and stakeholders, LEAP has continued to expand its academic offering and programs, as well as its footprint on Cooper Street with five buildings occupying 240,000 square feet on Cooper Street along the area known as Camden’s Educational Corridor. The presence of LEAP Academy has added a vibrant K-12 presence to Camden’s “Education Corridor,” which also features campuses for Rutgers University, Rowan University, Camden County College, and the Rutgers Early Learning Research Academy (ELRA). The location of LEAP Academy alongside three institutions of higher education allows for Camden children to start their education in infancy with ELRA, proceed to the LEAP Academy and transition to higher education all along Cooper Street.