Elementary school built by Tampa philanthropist to emphasize ethics, morals, spirituality and academics

The school built by Patel isn’t the building, it’s the ideas of a man who made millions in healthcare, whose passion is teaching - not just academics. 

"Spirituality, ethics, morality, is a lot more important than simply being good at math, science and whatever," explained Dr. Kiran Patel. 

He recently got an inside look at the elementary school he built in east Hillsborough County. It opens in August. Like the Patel High School and Patel Middle School beside it, it’s a charter school. 

"We have the same standards as the state of Florida, but we have some flexibility in how we deliver that," shared Ashley Galfond, principal of Patel Elementary. 

Galfond was the principal at Chiles Elementary, a regular public school and she looks forward to teaching Patel’s philosophy.

"It’s just a dream come true," she said. "What really turned me on to this opportunity is they’re focused on the whole child. Social and emotional learning is a priority." 

In August, the school will open for students in kindergarten through second grade. Students who apply will be chosen through a lottery and tuition is free. 

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Patel has also opened schools in India, Africa and the Caribbean. 

"God gives certain people an opportunity to do something," commented Patel.

Patel has done a lot. Among other things locally, he built an osteopathic medical school in Clearwater and the Patel Conservatory in Tampa. 

What motivates one of the region’s most prolific philanthropists?

"To make Tampa Bay a better place," says Patel. "If I do that, my mission is accomplished."

LINK: For more information on the elementary school, visit Patelelementary.org.


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