A few years ago, I was alerted to the phenomenal success of an entrepreneur-lawyer in Pennsylvania named Vahan Gureghian.

With a bit of googling, I learned that he had opened a charter school in Chester County, Pennsylvania, that enrolled 2,600 students, half the district’s children. Consequently, the district was plunged into bankruptcy, unable to make its payroll, and Governor Corbett appointed an emergency manager for the district who is a devotee of vouchers.

I also learned on google that Gureghian is one of the biggest donors to Republican candidates and committees in Pennsylvania, was Governor Corbett’s largest single donor, and was named to Governor Corbett’s education transition team. As of 2012, he had given some $800,000 to candidates and political groups.

Meanwhile, Gureghian’s empire continued to expand and to produce excellent returns for him.

Here is a quote from a website (linked above) describing Pennsylvania’s biggest campaign donors, which shows what success looks like:

In 2007, Gureghian built a 30,000-square-foot, French chateau-style mansion in Gladwyne that received attention in a number of publications, including Mother Jones. The house had 10 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, a two-lane bowling alley, wine room, media room, 200-capacity great hall, several bars and a moat, according to Mother Jones.

Last year, he paid $28.9 million for oceanfront property in Palm Beach, on which he has proposed building a 20,000-square-foot mansion, the Palm Beach Daily News reported.

In 2009, 18-year-old Kenny Forder of New Jersey posted photos of the Gladwyne mansion on his Homes of the Rich website. Gureghian’s lawyer responded with a cease and desist letter, stating that teenager had violated Gureghian’s privacy, demanding that the photos be removed and threatening a lawsuit.

The letter is posted on the Homes of the Rich website. The photos were removed.

Now, mind you, Gureghian doesn’t claim to be an educator. He runs a business that supplies all the goods and services to his charter schools. That is a very good business.

He recently expanded his charter franchise into Camden, New Jersey, where he can expect to do very well indeed. Jersey Jazzman wrote a blistering critique of Gureghian’s management company, not exactly welcoming its presence in New Jersey.

You know, you really must give these edu-entrepreneurs credit. They see opportunities where others see only educational problems. The really ingenious discovery of charter chain managers is that they can squeeze the fat out of public school operations (like expensive teachers and pensions) and make a handsome profit.

You must hand it to him: Gureghian shows how to create a business plan and strategy that works wondrously well.

His is the kind of operation that Reed Hastings must have had in mind when he told the California Charter Schools Association that he looks forward to the elimination of local school boards and to the day when 90% of children are enrolled in privately managed charter schools.

What a vivid demonstration of the rich innovation that charters produce!