Winona School Co. Buys Fusion Academy

American Education Group, a private college prep school platform backed by Winona Capital Management, has acquired Fusion Academy. Winona established American Education in 2007 with $40 million in backing.

Press release:
Private school owner American Education Group ( announced today the acquisition of Fusion Academy (, located in the suburbs of San Diego, Calif. With this acquisition, AEG continues its rapid expansion of specialized college-prep schools dedicated to students with specific needs, issues or interests.

“We are excited to welcome Fusion Academy to our rapidly expanding stable of specialized college-prep schools,” said Peter Ruppert, founder and president of American Education Group. “Fusion Academy’s mission and vision align well with our organization and our existing roster of schools. The success they’ve achieved since opening their doors will be invaluable to all of our schools as they each work collaboratively to achieve greater academic success. Additionally, our interest in acquiring Fusion Academy was fueled by our desire to partner with the school’s executive team and replicate their successful model in various markets across the country.”

Located in Solana Beach and serving the entire San Diego County community, Fusion Academy is a private alternative school offering individualized mentoring, teaching and custom-tailored programs for students in 6th – 12th grade. Founded by Michelle Rose Gilman in 2001, Fusion Academy’s personalized one-to-one learning method is a state-of-the-art educational model that involves tailoring teaching methods to the needs and interests of each individual student. Fusion Academy is dedicated to developing individualized programs for each child, to engage them in the learning process and to optimize their learning potential and success.

At Fusion Academy, each student is assigned a Lead Teacher: a mentor who acts as a case manager/advocate for the student. The Lead Teacher is responsible for assisting the student through the school experience. All students have daily contact with their Leads at the conclusion of each school day, as they are required to complete all homework at school, and be signed out of school by their Leads before leaving campus.

As part of its agreement with Fusion Academy, AEG has also acquired Fusion Learning Center, a separate tutoring, mentoring, independent studies and test prep company started by Ms. Gilman to provide additional academic support to the entire San Diego community.

“Over the past 18 months, American Education Group has developed an impressive network of specialized college-prep schools across the country,” stated Ms. Gilman, who will stay on as president and continue to lead the school. “Like Fusion Academy, AEG and its schools understand the importance of finding and encouraging those unique qualities in each student today in order to allow those students to thrive and feel proud of their individual accomplishments tomorrow. We look forward to sharing best practices with our fellow AEG schools so that we can continue to offer our students an educational experience second to none.”

Fusion Academy is a comprehensive, accredited school for students in grades 6-12. The school offers a full range of courses that meet all California high school graduation requirements, as well as classes that have been created specifically for its student population. The school is accredited by WASC (Western Association of Schools & Colleges) and the courses meet the University of California a-g requirements.

Since its establishment in 2007 with a commitment of $40 million from private equity firm Winona Capital Management, AEG has specifically targeted leading high-performing college-prep private schools offering customized, individualized and specialized academic programs. Moving forward, AEG will acquire additional schools that have unique opportunities to grow and are ideal for replication in other markets. Presently, AEG is replicating its Tampa Day School ( model with the opening of Lexis Preparatory School ( in Arizona next summer.

Along with Fusion Academy, AEG’s current roster of private schools includes Barnstable Academy (, Lexis Preparatory School, Shreiner Academy (, Tampa Day School and Little Sprouts, Inc. (