Golden Charter Academy, The Nation’s First Environmental Zoo School, Founded by Former NFL Player Robert Golden in Partnership with Fresno Chaffee Zoo Opened August 9

FRESNO, Calif., Aug. 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Golden Charter Academy opened its doors to 216 students this morning with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The charter school, located at 1626 W. Princeton Ave., in the Fresno Unified School District, is the first of its kind, offering a curriculum built on animal and plant life. Fresno Chaffee Zoo serves as an extension of the classroom for students to learn to be citizens in a worldwide community and stewards of the planet.

During the dedication ceremony, ceremonial remarks were given by Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer, founder of Golden Charter Academy Robert Golden, Fresno Chaffee Zoo Chief Conservation Education Officer Dean Watanabe, and Golden Charter Academy Principal Mandy Breuer.

"After a successful career in the NFL, I am proud to return home to Fresno to start a new academy that will inspire our underserved children. We want them to know that through hard work and dedication, anything is possible," said Golden Charter Academy CEO Robert Golden. "Thanks to the amazing support of the community and partnership with Fresno Chaffee Zoo, we are providing world-class education and unparalleled hands-on learning experiences so that children can see what life has to offer them."

The Golden Charter Academy received over 400 student registrations and over 80 teacher resumes and applications for the 2021-2022 school year. In its inaugural year Golden Charter Academy provides an education environment for TK-3rd. The academy plans to expand year after year to grades TK-8th. Golden Charter Academy’s pathway to education is through environmental education. The Golden Charter Academy does not charge tuition.

"We are thrilled to engage in this partnership with Golden Charter Academy. This is a unique opportunity to advance the zoo’s conservation mission while becoming more deeply connected with our community," said Dean Watanabe, Chief Conservation Education Officer of Fresno Chaffee Zoo.

Prior to opening their doors, Golden Charter Academy received local support from the community as well as national recognition. Home Depot Foundation donated $7,500 in materials and labor to beautify the outdoor learn-and-play, as well as common areas. Former professional basketball player Quincy Pondexter donated uniforms, masks, and school supplies. Dick’s Sporting Goods donated gift certificates for current and future needs for recess activities, including footballs, soccer balls, baseballs, first aid kits, ball nets, baseball hitting tees, baseball bases, cones and whistles.

Robert Golden was born and raised in southwest Fresno, California. After graduating from Edison High School in Fresno, Golden attended The University of Arizona where he was a cornerback for the Arizona Wildcats. In 2012 he was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 2018, Golden signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. After a seven-year career in the National Football League, Golden decided to retire from the game at his request and return to Fresno to inspire underserved children to be the leaders of the future.

About Golden Charter Academy:

Opening August 2021 in the City of Fresno, Golden Charter Academy provides an exceptional educational experience for students TK-3rd to learn through engaging in the natural world. The GCA, a 501(c)(3), is made possible through a founding partnership with Fresno Chaffee Zoo and is the first environmental zoo school in the nation. Students receive daily access to the zoo and the school’s pathway to education is through environmental education. Founded by Robert Golden, a former NFL safety, GCA promotes innovation, diversity, and stewardship. More information about Golden Charter Academy can be found at

About Fresno Chaffee Zoo:

Centrally located in Fresno, California, Fresno Chaffee Zoo is home to over 200 different species and WOW exhibits—from Sea Lion Cover to African Adventure—that teach guests about animals all across the globe and the conservation efforts to protect them. The Zoo welcomes over 800,000 guests annually, offering a world-class guest experience and conservation education to all who visit. The mission of Fresno Chaffee Zoo is to inspire wonder of our natural world, provide an engaging learning environment, and create a passion for conservation.

Media Contact:

Sabrina Chapman

SOURCE Golden Charter Academy