Steve Christopoulos, the head of Plato Academy and CEO of Superior Schools in Florida, drowned in Costa Rica on Wednesday, the Greek Reporter has learned.
The Greek American was on vacation and his death was an accident, according to his close friend and Tarpon Springs Mayor Chris Alahouzos.
A great Hellene of Diaspora, Christopoulos led Plato Academy schools to become an unmatched pillar of Hellenism in the USA.
“He was a good friend, great father, and a person that contributed immensely to the community, the country, and Hellenism,” noted Alahouzos.
The Plato Academy Schools, a group of charter schools focusing on academic excellence, have a mandatory every day lesson of Greek language.
“It’s very difficult for us, but we have to continue” said Alahouzos who also sits on the board of Plato Academy.
“We are having our first meeting tomorrow and it will be the first without Steve” said the mayor.
However, no matter how difficult “Plato Academy will continue the way it’s been working for years, providing the same format and great education.”
Steve Christopoulos is survived by three daughters.
The idea behind Plato Academy was to educate the new generation in Greek language and culture using the Socrates model of inquiry.
It was one of the first charter school experiments in 2004, the brainchild of the Hellenic community of Pinellas County in Northwest Florida.
It was struggling to survive until Steve Christopoulos, a real estate developer from Massachusetts, came in and engineered its great success.
Not only did he move his family to the Clearwater area, enrolling his three daughters in the school, he took over the helm of the school but worked without a salary.
He satisfied its debts totaling over $150,000 from his own pocket, and he set up an educational management company that was in the business of producing efficiently run and effectively taught charter schools, Superior Schools.
Now close to fourteen years later, what started out as an experiment has become an enviable trend.
The Tampa Bay Times reported last year that Plato Academy schools had a wait list of over 5,000 and had earned “A” ratings.
A few years ago Christopoulos explained the school’s business model, “Like any successful business it must have a sound business plan and an efficient management. Yet behind that management model is the Socratic method that is the driver of the success of our schools.”