Founder, David Domenici, and Maya Angelou Academy Featured In Ozy

It’s a cold March morning in the nation’s capital. My fingers are stiff, and in the end, useless as I fumble to open the door to David Domenici’s battered 1992 Honda Civic. But with a sturdy shove and then a yank, the wiry 50-year-old reassures me that it’s not me. We’re headed less than a mile away, so Domenici can show me where he used to work.

“It was vile,” he says, nodding to the remnants of a juvenile detention center. Inside, he takes me to a stale, moldering complex where he used to teach the lockup’s student body, kids as young as 13 and as old as 21. In 2009, after allegations of abuse and decrepit conditions, a judge closed the facility. But in a new detention hall just down the road, named New Beginnings, Domenici has managed to build a model school for young inmates. On the day I visit, the classrooms are decorated with colorful murals, encouraging slogans and pictures of grinning recent grads. Teachers and security officers greet the tattooed scholars with warm handshakes and hugs. The ambience is downright optimistic. “You never would have seen anything close to this before,” Domenici says.

The question that remains, will we see others like it? Read full article

By Meghan Walsh,