Sonoran Science Academy /
Daisy Education Corporation:
Evidence of Affiliation with the Gulen Movement
Page created August 2010; last updated Dec 8, 2012
by C.A.S.I.L.I.P.S. - Citizens Against Special Interest Lobbying in Public Schools
(See also: favoritism, disorganization, ESL and special education problems at Sonoran Science Academy Phoenix.)
Sonoran Science Academy is the name of a chain of publicly-funded Gulen charter schools in Arizona. The charter holder is Daisy Education Corporation. "Fountain Science Academy" was the original name of Sonoran Science Academy Phoenix. The name "Fountain" has significance for the Gulen Movement; its premier publication in the US is named Fountain Magazine, and the "Fountain" name appears in its institutions in the Philippines and South Africa as well.
The connection of Sonoran Science Academy with the Gulen Movement has been covered in two articles by Tim Steller here and here dated April 25, 2010 in the Arizona Daily Star (Tucson newspaper) as well as an article in the Tucson Weekly from Dec 31, 2009. Further material can be found in several 2010 entries on journalist Tim Steller's blog.
A Sonoran Science Academy student recited the poem "Hic" by Fethullah Gulen at the Turkish Olympiads.
See the Organic Ties page: Sonoran Science Academy's statement was identical to that of the United School of Al Yahar in the United Arab Emirates (a private Gulen school supposedly founded with the Concept School model of Horizon Science Academy and other Gulen charter schools in the Midwest). Shortly after this connection was noted and publicized, the United School changed the mission statement on its website (see Covering their Tracks page for more on how Gulenists are scrubbing the web to hide their affiliations.)
Further connections to the Gulen Movement are shown by the following individuals' multiple affiliations, both past and present:
Dr. Nasuhi Yurt
- Co-founder of Sonoran Science Academy
- Vice President of Production at EBRU TV, a media outlet run by the Gulen Movement.
- Referee, Fountain Magazine. This is a magazine produced and published by the Gulen Movement; Fethullah Gulen writes the lead article of each issue.
- Wife, Nuray Tugrul Yurt, has connections to the Gulen Movement
- Listed as main contact for Sonoran Science Academy’s H1B visa applications on myvisajobs.com website
Nuray Tugrul Yurt
- Ran Daisy Early Learning Center, the daycare associated with Sonoran Science Academy
- Husband, Nasuhi Yurt, has connections to the Gulen Movment
- Director of Interfaith Dialogue Center (IDC) in New Jersey since 2005. IDC is a Gulenist organization was renamed the "Peace Islands Institute" in 2011.
- A description of an interfaith event on a church website states "Following this, Dr. Nuray Turgul Yurt gave a great PowerPoint presentation on the origin of the Foundation and its interest in interfaith dialogue with Christians and other religions as well. She introduced us to the work of the Turkish scholar, Fethulla [sic] Gulen, a well respected conversation partner of the late Pope John Paul II, the late John Cardinal O'Connor, as well as the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos I. 'As we come together,' Nuray said, 'we do not intend to teach about Islam or Christianity. Rather, this is about learning to appreciate one another and to find common ground as believers.' She backed this with a quote from Gulen: 'The true practice of religion shows us how to derive hope, renewal and reconciliation, rather than despair, fear and enmity from our differences.'"
- Listed as administrator/principal for SSA on 2004-2005 school report card
- Author of book, “Rumi and his Sufi Path of Love,”published first by The Light and then by Tughra Books (both Gulenist publishers). Rumi is a figure of great significance for the Gulen Movement; for example, the premier political lobbying organization of the Movement in the US is called the Rumi Forum.
- Wrote a book review of a book on Rumi for Fountain Magazine, as well as co-authoring an article on "Fasting" (Fountain Magazine is a major publication of the Gulen Movement; Fethullah Gulen writes the lead article of each issue.)
- Listed as "Staff editor of The Fountain" on Fountain Magazine website
- Editor of The Light publishers, as shown by this webpage. The Light is run by the Gulen Movement.
- Editor at Kaynak Publishing, which is affiliated with the Gulen Movement (kaynak = fountain in Turkish)
Ali Kemal Unver (a.k.a. Ali Unver)
- On a webpage at the Gulen website about a melting pot dinner sponsored by the Pacifica Instiute in Las Vegas, it is stated that "Ali Unver and his wife, Zeynep, answered my questions and also educated me about the noted Turkish preacher and scholar M. Fethullah Gulen, head of the Gulen Movement.
- Affiliated with Paragon Science Academy in Phoenix, which is under the same charter holder as SSA, Daisy Ecuation Corp. He represented the school in connection with a violation of staff fingerprinting requirements.
- CV shows simultaneous affiliations with Paragon and Coral Academy of Science
- Wrote for Fountain Magazine
- Wrote 5-star review of Jill Carroll’s pro-Gulen book "A Dialogue of Civilizations" at this website.
Adem Oksuz (a.k.a. Adam Oksuz)
- Involved in charter application for proposed Academy of Business and Entrepreneurship Charter School, Pennsylvania, 2012
- Applicant, Mokapu STEM School (proposed Gulen charter school in Hawaii, 2011)
- Principal, Superintendent, Sonoran Science Academy, Tucson
- Accord Institute, Irvine, California
- Foundation for Inter-cultural Dialogue, an Arizona religious non-profit organization that promotes Fethullah Gulen and his ideology, as can be seen clearly from its website (e.g., a quote of Gulen's appears on the top banner of the homepage).
Leyla Kayumova (a.k.a. Leyla Achilov, Leyla Achilova, Leyla Shakhnoz Kayumova, Shakhnoz Kayumova, Shakhnoza Kayumova, Shahnoz Kayumova)
- Sonoran Science Academy teacher
- Wife of Dilshod Achilov
- Mentioned in June 7, 2009 Reuters news article on the Turkish Olympiads, entitled “Turkish language fest shows preacher's global reach.” It states “The competitors are the product of the schools of a powerful socio-religious community associated with the Turkish Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen -- revered by many as a tolerant, moderating force in Islam, but suspected by some secularist Turks of harboring a political agenda.”...."The Gulen schools, which often perform much better than local state schools, offer extensive scholarships. Turkish language teacher Leyla Kayumova, originally from Uzbekistan, now works in Arizona and believes that even thousands of miles from Turkey, learning Turkish has its benefits." This article can also be viewed on Gulen's website.
- Leyla Kayumova’s photo can be seen in pictures of events organized by the Foundation for Inter-cultural Dialogue on its website. This organization is openly Gülenist and promotes the teachings and philosophy of Fethullah Gülen.
- Under the name Leyla Achilova, attempted to found Knoxville Charter Academy, a failed Gulen charter school attempt in Tennessee
Dilshod Achilov, a.k.a. D. A. Acilou
- Vice Principal, Sonoran Science Academy
- Author of IREX report (in connection with his doctoral thesis) that promotes the political ideology of the Gulen Movement with respect to Central Asia. The report contains the line "Fethullah Gulen was selected as the most influential, top public intellectual in the world in 2007 by Foreign Policy magazine." Since the poll referred to here was based on uncontrolled online voting, and was found to have been strongly influenced by the use of Gulen media outlets to mobilize his supporters (as explained by this Prospect Magazine article), the appearance of this reference in a scholarly work is striking and strongly suggests that Achilov is a Gulen supporter.
- Volunteered as mentor SSA-Phoenix while graduate student
- Daisy Education Corporation
- Accord Institute (Gulenist organization affiliated with several western Gulen charter schools)
- Fulton Science Academy
- Principal, Sonoran Science Academy Phoenix
- Former IT/IS Administrator Sonoran Science Academy Phoenix
- Received award in Jan 2002 for “Outstanding contributions and efforts, Daisy Science Academy,” according to his CV. Daisy Science Academy was the original name of the first Sonoran Science Academy school in Tucson.
- board member and board president of the Riverwalk Education Foundation (REF), a nonprofit group he helped found in 2002. REF opened the School of Science and Technology in San Antonio, a Gulen charter school.
- Former Principal of SSA-Phoenix
- Former Principal at Lotus School of Excellence, Aurora, Colorado (Gulen charter school)
- Currently Principal of Magnolia Science Academy 1 - Reseda (Gulen charter school)
- Former Principal, Sonoran Science Academy, Tucson, Arizona
- Principal, Bay Area Technology School, Oakland, California (Gulen charter school)
- Teacher, Sonoran Science Academy, Tucson
- Wrote two articles (here and here) for Fountain Magazine, which is a premier publication of the Gülen Movement (Fethullah Gülen writes the lead article of every issue).
- Former teacher, Sonoran Science Academy, Tucson
- Former teacher, Sonoran Science Academy, Phoenix
- Dean of Academics Beehive Science and Technology Academy (Gulen charter school in Utah)
- Acting Principle, Beehive Science and Technology Academy
- Teacher, Paragon Science Academy, Chandler AZ (Paragon is run by the same charter holder, Daisy Education Corp, as SSA)
- Teacher, Beehive Science and Technology Academy, Salt Lake City UT
- Teacher, Sonoran Science Academy
- Accord Institute for Education Research, Irvine, California (Gulenist organization)
- Principal, Beehive Science and Technology Academy, Utah (Gulen charter school)
Ozkur Yildiz a.k.a. Oscar Yildiz
- Superintendent, Daisy Education Corporation (charter holder for Sonoran Science Academy)
- Bay Area Technology School, Oakland, California (Gulen charter school)
- President, West American Turkic Council (Gulenist organization) as of 2011
- Board of Directors, Turkic American Alliance (the umbrella organization for the Gulen Movement in the United States) as of 2012
- Principal, Sonoran Science Academy, Tucson
- Teacher, Magnolia Science Academy, Reseda, California (Gulen charter school)
Ibrahim Bayraktar a.k.a. Abraham Bayraktar
- Teacher, Vice Principal, Sonoran Science Academy, Tucson
- Accord Institute, Irvine, California (Gulenist organization)
- Board member of Daisy Education Corporation, the charter holder running Sonoran Science Academy.
- Wife Elif Yildirim is a board member of the Sema Foundation, a Gülenist foundation in Arizona
- Teacher, Sonoran Science Academy
- Won award for Turkish teacher at Turkish Language Olympiad, a competition organized by the Gulen Movement
- Turkish Language Institute (runs Turkish Language Olympiads for western states)
- Sonoran Science Academy
- Horizon Science Academy Columbus Middle School (Gulen charter school)
- Magnolia Public Schools
- Sonoran Science Academy, Phoenix
- Paragon Science Academy Governing Board
- Mokapu STEM School Charter Conversion Project (proposed Gulen charter school in Hawaii)
- Gave 5 star online review to Jill Carroll's book "A Dialogue of Civilizations"
- Daisy Early Learning Center, the daycare associated with Sonoran Science Academy
- Husband Ali Ozmez was board member of Ace It Education/ Friendship Foundation, Boston along with Murat Kilic of Pioneer Charter School of Science (Gulen charter school)
- Husband Ali Ozmez likes Acacia Foundation (Gulenist organization) on Facebook
- Husband Ali Ozmez is Facebook friends with Davut Karabay, Acacia Foundation President
- Teacher, Sonoran Science Academy
- President, Students for Dialogue at Ohio State University (Gulenist organization linked to Scioto Foundation and Niagara Foundation, both also Gulenist organizations. Fethullah Gulen is the honorary president of the Niagara Foundation.)
- Principal, Sonoran Science Academy 2011-12
- Board member of Coral Academy of Science (Gulen charter school in CO) 2010-11
- Dean of Academics, Lotus School for Excellence, 2009
- Possibly same Fatih Ozer who was on board of Gulenist Rain Drop Foundation TX in 2002. (This connection is still under investigation.)
- Principal, Magnolia Science Academy 2 (Gulen charter school in California)
- Principal, Sonoran Science Academy Ahwatukee
- Principal, Sonoran Science Academy Phoenix
Further evidence: An OdaTV (Turkish media outlet) article from July 27, 2009 refers to Sonoran Science Academy as part of the "community," a clear reference to the Gulen Movement, which in Turkey is often called "the Gulen community" or just "the community" ("cemaat" in Turkish). Following is a translation of the article:
"RAYTHEON GRANTS DONATIONS TO GULEN SCHOOLS
"The investigations into the schools of this community in the United States is continuing to deepen. The discussions on the Internet forums that started following the news article published in Salt Lake Tribune last week, led Odatv.com to new and very special news sources.
"The information we received from Arizona is stunning.
"According to a parent who withdrew his child from the Gulen School in this state, the schools of the community are awash with money while the public schools in the state of Arizona are in financial trouble.
"The schools not only benefit from and earn interest on the federal and state funds, they also accept donations from very important companies. One of these is the company that won the latest tender to deliver Stinger missile systems to the Turkish Armed Forces; namely, Raytheon. Maine-based Raytheon recently signed a partnership agreement to co-produce Patriot missiles with Roketsan.
"U.S. sources who provided Odatv.com with this information said that Raytheon had made a donation to the Sonoran Science Academy, a school belonging to the community, because of the company’s good relations with Turkey and its air base in Arizona. It would not be a mistake to claim that part of this money originates from the budgets of the Turkish Ministry of Defense and the Turkish Armed Forces.
"Let us keep the information about the identity of the person organizing Raytheon’s relations with Turkey for our next news article. But still, we can disclose even now that this Washington-based person has been close to the Gulen community for a very long time. He is a former ambassador to the United States, by the way."