The History of New Foundations

A whole-child approach to education since 2000.

New Foundations Charter School Exterior of Building

Building tradition in Northeast Philly.

Founded by Sheryl Perzel and Paul Stadelberger, New Foundations Charter School opened in 2000. Twenty one years later, New Foundations is a prominent fixture in Northeast Philadelphia, as a leader in academic excellence, social-emotional awareness, and community engagement. 

The below History of NFCS highlights our roots, our journey, and our commitment to fulfilling the mission laid out by our founders.

Our Timeline

  • 2000


    A legacy begins.

    The charter school application for New Foundations is approved by the School District of Philadelphia.
  • The first day of school.

    New Foundations Charter School opens its doors for the first time in northeast Philadelphia to 353 K-8 students and 21 faculty, staff and administrators on September 6th.
  • 2002


    A permanent home.

    8001 Torresdale Ave - an old Super Fresh Supermarket - is purchased and quickly retrofitted and renovated. Enrollment increases to 410 students.
  • 2004


    Increasing resources.

    A new addition provides space for more classrooms, special education classroom, library, science laboratory, administrative offices, multipurpose room, and gym.
  • 2005


    Excellence in academics.

    New Foundations students achieve the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standard, and exceed all of the goals set by the PA Department of Education and the No Child Left Behind Law (NCLB).
  • 2007


    Building tradition.

    New Foundations students and teachers make AYP for the third consecutive year, and score 15-20 points above the NCLB standards.
  • 2009


    Expansion with purpose.

    A three-story addition allows for further growth in grades K-3, now with three classrooms each. Students succeed meeting AYP yet again, scoring 15-30 points above the NCLB standards.
  • Defining service-learning excellence.

    NFCS receives the Service-Learning School of Success award from the Education Commission of the States.
  • 2010


    Our first ten years and our first freshmen.

    Celebrating 10-years, New Foundations welcomes 150 9th graders into the newly established high school! The total school population grows to nearly 800.
  • Above average academic rigor.

    Students score 78.2% proficient or advanced in Reading and 91.3% proficient or advanced in Math - 15-30 points above standards.
  • 2013


    A home for the high school.

    High school students and staff find a home in their brand new, state-of-the-art facility at 4850 Rhawn Street.
  • Strong and dedicated partnerships.

    Celebrating 10-years of partnership with the National Youth Leadership Council providing service projects and presentations at the annual National Service-Learning Conference.
  • 2014


    Congratulations, Class of 2014.

    New Foundations promotes the first class of 12th grade graduates.
  • 2015


    The growing demand.

    Student enrollment now exceeds 1450.
  • 2018


    Change, evaluation, and renewing the mission.

    School founder and CEO, Paul Stadelberger, retires and welcomes Ron Brady as his successor. New Foundations engages with students, staff and community members to evaluate strengths and areas for growth, which produces a 5-year Strategic Plan detailing the goals and direction of the school for the future.
  • Combining experience with impact.

    Every New Foundations student participates in a school-coordinated service-learning experience, impacting thousands of beneficiaries.
  • 2020


    Demonstrating creative adaptability.

    In the face of a global pandemic, New Foundations was one of the first schools in Philadelphia to quickly and efficiently transition students and staff from on campus learning to remote learning, maintaining their commitment to safety, academic rigor, community and social awareness.
  • Twenty Years: Excellence in Education

    This year marks 20 years of New Foundations providing students with the academic, social, and emotional foundations and skills necessary to be high achieving, socially competent stewards of their communities.
  • A new look.

    In August of 2020, New Foundations reveals an updated brand with new logos and colors, as well as launches a new website.
  • 2021


    Returning to the building.

    In the summer of 2022, New Foundations welcomes a new Chief Executive Officer, Chris Zagacki, to move the mission and success of the school forward.
  • 2022


    Continuing forward.

    In the summer of 2022, New Foundations welcomed a new Chief Executive Officer, Chris Zagacki, to move the mission and success of the school forward.
  • Top-Rated Public High School.

    New Foundations High School was named one of Philadelphia Magazine's 40 Top-Rated Public High Schools in Philadelphia and the Suburbs based on graduation rates, student performance, and other statistical measures.