MS. MIMOSA JONES TUNNEY
In 2010, Mimosa Jones Tunney firmly believed that she had reached the highest level of human success: her own parking space on the Warner Bros. lot.
The spot – which came from writing on a critically-acclaimed television show – was evidence of her worth. As was directing her first documentary short series and developing a film with Tom Hanks. But it was through writing a mini-series for Oprah and HBO about the Life of Ida Tarbell that suddenly made the parking space seem irrelevant. That… and having her first child.
At the turn of the last century, Ida Tarbell’s boss, S.S. McClure, invented syndication, took down John Rockefeller – the wealthiest man in the world - and partnered with President Teddy Roosevelt on more reform than the U.S. had seen then or since. McClure was, at one time, the most famous person in American. And yet, Tunney discovered while in the Library of Congress reading an original letter from McClure’s friend Alexander Graham Bell, that McClure’s greatest contribution wasn’t any of those things. It was bringing Dr. Maria Montessori to America to reform Education.
The effort by McClure failed and cost him his career. Yet, the letter affirmed that we had been here before. That 2020 might as well be 1910. That everything – commerce, transportation, medicine, communication, even toothpaste – had advanced in our society with the exception of our education system. And what a beautiful system it is… founded on the premise that we could educate the largest group of people mankind had ever known.
Where is that majesty today? That passion for getting it right when it comes to our youngest and most valuable citizens?
Why, after all this time and countless reincarnations and reinventions of America, haven’t we created a system based on the development of the child and what we know scientifically works in learning? Why haven’t we focused as much on getting it right for American children as Apple has focused on selling iPhones?
It doesn’t take long after reading the great pedagogical writers of history – Piaget, Comenius, Gardner, Montessori, Malaguzzi and many others – to understand how humans learn. It’s not like trying to understand biochemistry or statistics where you might need a certain gene to process complex ideas. These ideas – ideas about education – are blatant. They are outwardly logical. And they all point to giving children the foundation to work independently, make good choices, lead, compromise, find happy moments, overcome failure and understand their own self-worth and abilities. This along with academic standards is the only thing that moves our human culture in a positive direction.
Years before Tunney worked in Hollywood, she graduated from American University’s School of Public Policy in Washington D.C. and worked for one of the most powerful senators on Capitol Hill. She then served as the youngest gubernatorial speechwriter in the United States before starting two innovative non-profits bringing her the distinction of Deal Maker of the Year when she was still in her twenties. In 2017, with her experience, acute research skills and a deep understanding of the why behind our collective failure to reimagine a better version of American education, Mimosa Jones Tunney set out to build the new American school: The School House.
The School House is the culmination of logic, gumption, hard work and innovation. It’s a school worthy of the American child with a new kind of curriculum and a new kind of teacher culture. It’s a school based on today’s science while still holding true to our nostalgia and love for our public institutions. It’s place and a curriculum that any community, anywhere, public or private, can build for a third of what it usually costs. And where working families across the nation can enroll their children.
Mimosa Jones Tunney is married to John J. Tunney, III. The Tunney Family created and funded The School House and John voraciously supports this mission by serving on the Board of Directors. She is mom to John and Duke -- the inspiration of all things including this endeavor.