Janie Whitney, Founder & CEO of Trey Whitfield School in Brooklyn, discusses what drove her to start a new school. She subsequently discusses some of the many challenges, such as children not reading enough and lacking parent involvement. One key to Trey Whitfield’s success is establishing a good relationship with the parents and demanding that they have a role at the school. A unique point of the school is that they start reading and writing very early.

For over a quarter of a century, Janie C. Whitney has been a trailblazer in delivering the highest quality education for inner city children in New York. Being one of the foremost pioneers of early childhood education Ms. Whitney founded Bethlehem Academy in the East New York section of Brooklyn. The Academy was later renamed Trey Whitfield School, where she steadily galvanized her philosophy, “Love is Learning…Learning is Love.” It has been and continues to be the norm for many graduates of Trey Whitfield School to achieve academic excellence, experience success in their careers and lead rewarding lives through Ms. Whitney’s approach. In addition, she actively secures educational scholarships for inner city students to New England Prep Schools as well as to New York City Schools, continuing to build on their strong learning foundation. Over the years, this has caught the attention of leaders in education both locally and nationally where Trey Whitfield School has gained media attention and praise.

Ms. Whitney was born in Cuthbert, Georgia. She moved with her family to New York where she attended high school and then studied accounting at Long Island University. Her career in the finance industry was lucrative, but her calling in life started to beckon. When she was Assistant Controller at Dowell & Company, she established a Day Care and After School program in Bushwick, New York to help working parents. Eventually her humanitarian spirit drew her toward working more with people and helping them. Ms. Whitney’s love for children was the driving force in helping her make a career change and inspired her to become involved in the field of education, where she continues to set a high benchmark of excellence.

Quote: “We start reading and writing programs very early. Our children can handle it.”