Scene Last Night: Loeb, Jeb Bush, Jimmy Lee, Greenblatt

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Roger Hertog, chairman emeritus of the Manhattan Institute, and Dan Loeb, chairman of the Success Academy Charter Schools and founder of Third Point LLC.

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Roger Hertog, chairman emeritus of the Manhattan Institute, and Dan Loeb, chairman of the Success Academy Charter Schools and founder of Third Point LLC. Close

Roger Hertog, chairman emeritus of the Manhattan Institute, and Dan Loeb, chairman of the Success Academy Charter... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Margaret Loeb, who with her husband Dan Loeb founded three Success charter schools, Kojo Dufu, a banker, Tiffany Dufu, chief leadership officer at Levo League, and Jenny Sedlis, executive director of StudentsFirstNY and co-founder of Success Academy Charter Schools. Close

Margaret Loeb, who with her husband Dan Loeb founded three Success charter schools, Kojo Dufu, a banker, Tiffany... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Boaz Weinstein of Saba Capital Management, Tali Weinstein, an attorney who serves on the board of Success Academy Charter Schools, and John Petry, managing member of Sessa Capital LP. Close

Boaz Weinstein of Saba Capital Management, Tali Weinstein, an attorney who serves on the board of Success Academy... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Joel Greenblatt, managing principal of Gotham Asset Management LLC. Close

Joel Greenblatt, managing principal of Gotham Asset Management LLC.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

The "yearbook" section of the Success Academy Charter Schools gala program, designed as a composition book. Close

The "yearbook" section of the Success Academy Charter Schools gala program, designed as a composition book.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

A photograph of the Patriot 1974 Yearbook from the Paul Revere Junior High School shows "Danny Loeb" in the second row from top, second from left. Close

A photograph of the Patriot 1974 Yearbook from the Paul Revere Junior High School shows "Danny Loeb" in the second... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

A photograph of Robert Schwartz's yearbook page from seventh-grade. Schwartz appears in the bottom row, third from left. Close

A photograph of Robert Schwartz's yearbook page from seventh-grade. Schwartz appears in the bottom row, third from left.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Jimmy Lee, vice chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Jamie Lee, of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Close

Jimmy Lee, vice chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Jamie Lee, of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Sekou Cisse, an eighth-grader at Success Academy Harlem West, with his debate coach, Maria Williams. "Debate is more of a sport than is about academics," Cisse said. "You don't have to be smart, you have to think on your feet." His main advice: "Make your opponent invisible. You're the king of your speech." Close

Sekou Cisse, an eighth-grader at Success Academy Harlem West, with his debate coach, Maria Williams. "Debate is more... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, and keynote speaker of a gala for Success Academy Charter Schools. Close

Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, and keynote speaker of a gala for Success Academy Charter Schools.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

The Success Academy Bronx 2 dance team gathers after performing to the song "Happy" by Pharrell Williams, at the start of the program. The students went home early to study for math tests this week. Close

The Success Academy Bronx 2 dance team gathers after performing to the song "Happy" by Pharrell Williams, at the... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Holly Peterson, daughter of Blackstone Group co-founder Pete Peterson, this month published her second novel, "The Idea of Him." Her first, a New York Times best seller, was "The Manny." Close

Holly Peterson, daughter of Blackstone Group co-founder Pete Peterson, this month published her second novel, "The... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Success Academy Charter Schools Director of Literacy Michele Caracappa, fourth from left, huddles with principals of Success Academy Charter Schools Khari Shabazz of Harlem 5, Kerri Tabarcea of Cobble Hill, Andrea Klein of Harlem West, Beth Davis Dillard of Bedford Stuyvesant, Vanessa Bangser of Bronx 2, and Liz Vandlik of Bronx 1. Close

Success Academy Charter Schools Director of Literacy Michele Caracappa, fourth from left, huddles with principals of... Read More

Source: Success Academy via Bloomberg

Eva Moskowitz, CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools, hugs Mekhi Cuffee, a Success Academy Bronx 2 3rd grader, part of Bronx 2 dance team. Close

Eva Moskowitz, CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools, hugs Mekhi Cuffee, a Success Academy Bronx 2 3rd grader, part... Read More

Source: Success Academy via Bloomberg

Campbell Brown speaks as honoree -- and board member -- of Success Academy Charter Schools. Close

Campbell Brown speaks as honoree -- and board member -- of Success Academy Charter Schools.

Source: Success Academy via Bloomberg

Jeb Bush greets Sekou Cisse, the Success Academy Harlem West eighth-grader who introduced him. Close

Jeb Bush greets Sekou Cisse, the Success Academy Harlem West eighth-grader who introduced him.

Source: Success Academy via Bloomberg

Kayla Gilkes, a student at a Success Academy Charter School. Close

Kayla Gilkes, a student at a Success Academy Charter School.

“Never go on after a cute kid,” Dan Loeb said last night in front of 750 guests packed into Cipriani 42nd Street (twice the number assembled last year at the Mandarin Oriental) for the second annual Success Academy Charter Schools benefit.

The Third Point LLC hedge-funder and chairman of the Success Academy board spoke after a presentation from an exuberant fifth-grader. She attends the Success Academy Harlem Central Middle School, one of the three Success institutions whose grant of free space was withdrawn by Mayor Bill de Blasio in February and reinstated over the weekend.

“Did you know heat and pressure can form rock?” Kayla asked the crowd. Her favorite subjects are math and science, and she said she plans to graduate from either Juilliard or Columbia University in the class of 2025.

As for Loeb, he could probably take some public-speaking tips from Kayla, though public thank-yous to lawyers are never that riveting. Loeb’s went to the ones who helped Success in their fight for free space: Arnold & Porter, Kirkland & Ellis and Paul, Weiss.

Loeb himself is keen to share his knowledge and network with students. He took a group to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and has also brought journalist Carl Bernstein and chess champ Garry Kasparov to Success classrooms.

SEALS and Hedgies

The event was filled with men and women in the hedge-fund industry, including Kyle Bass of Hayman Capital Management, Joel Greenblatt of Gotham Asset Management, Boaz Weinstein of Saba Capital and John Paulson of Paulson & Co. Also present: Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater USA and former Navy SEAL.

Loeb, the event’s chairman, sat with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Jimmy Lee, vice chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co., whose son Jamie Lee works at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and is on a Success school board.

“I’m just very moved by what Dan Loeb does,” Jimmy Lee said. “Away from all the business press he gets, I think being chairman of his board and giving his time, not just his money, makes him a role model. You can tell he cares.”

The program for the gala was done up in the style of a school composition book, with a section featuring yearbook-style photos of students.

Yearbook Photos

Loeb said he keeps his own yearbooks. His seventh-grade yearbook photograph in the “1974 Patriot” of L.A.’s Paul Revere Junior High School (found by me on EBay) shows him with long bangs and a center part, pretty much a classic mullet. He’s listed as “Danny.” Back then he hired classmate Robert Schwartz to protect him from bullies, for 25 cents a day (Schwartz sports Bieber-ish side-swept bangs in the yearbook).

Boaz Weinstein said he has his yearbooks from Stuyvesant High School, which he noted was also Eva Moskowitz’s alma mater. She is co-founder and chief executive officer of Success Academy Charter Schools.

In the keynote, Bush presented statistics pointing to the need to improve education in the U.S. and Success Academy’s achievements lifting test scores and reading levels. Mooted as a potential Presidential candidate in 2016, he made only a brief mention of his own education track record in Florida.

Success started in 2006 with one school, 155 students and Moskowitz as the principal and sometime teacher.

Increased Scale

As of August, Success will have 32 schools and 9,000 students. Four years from now, Success plans to have 55 schools with 21,400 students, which, Moskowitz said, would make it the equivalent of the fifth largest district in New York State and half the size of the Washington, D.C. school system. A key part of the model is maintaining quality while scaling up, she said.

Expansion requires private funding (students’ education is paid for with public funds.) The event raised $7.75 million, Loeb said, including a check for $250,000 handed to him during the event and a $4 million gift with a matching challenge for high school launches. Loeb also said Jefferies & Co., where he once worked, will be hosting a charity trading day for Success.

Loeb said that elementary school start-ups cost about $1.5 million apiece. Getting two high schools up and running will take $10 million (Success’s first high school opens this year.) Success is also investing in an institute to provide teacher training across the country, as well as “a proprietary technology platform” to manage the schools, Loeb said.

De Blasio Critic

Campbell Brown, the journalist and Success Academy Network board member, used her speech as honoree to direct fighting words at Mayor de Blasio:

“He can fight charters and what they do as a threat to union privilege, or he can embrace reform and the chance to be a leader and even a great man, but he can’t do both,” Brown said.

She called on guests to make their voice heard, “whether you speak to politicians directly, whether you do it through your campaign contributions, through your writing, or through your support for our wonderful schools.”

Brown, a founder of the Parents’ Transparency Project, which pushes for teachers found guilty of sexual misconduct to be removed from schools, invoked a phrase used for U.S. Marines to describe Loeb: “There is no better friend and worse enemy.”

Laura Blankfein, wife of Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, joined Success when it took thousands of parents to lobby Governor Andrew Cuomo in Albany. A lawyer by training, she is on the board of Uncommon Schools’ Excellence Boys Charter School, started by hedge-fund manager Paul Tudor Jones. She also tutors three to four days a week in an Association to Benefit Children after-school program.

The exposure gives her “very good perspective on education in the city,” she said, where in 90 percent of elementary schools, the majority of kids can’t read at grade level. “It’s so sad, we are so failing. It’s heartbreaking. That’s why the work we’re supporting tonight is so important.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Amanda Gordon in New York at agordon01@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christine Harper at charper@bloomberg.net Keith Campbell, Steve Bailey

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