Experience & Vision


About Garden State Real Estate Academy

Garden State Real Estate Academy was founded in 2005 by Phil Bonafiglia, a licensed real estate broker and instructor with more than 30 years of teaching experience. The school chose a different path from competing institutions that crammed their classrooms with aspiring real estate agents. “Instead of going for big numbers, why not specialize in small classes, where we have time to provide personalized, individual attention to every student?” was the defining question our school’s leadership posed as it laid out its business model. That ideal of putting students first—and helping them pass the exam—ahead of profits continues to this day.

The result was an extremely high pass rate, whether for salespersons or those taking the broker licensing exams. It became a tradition that the students felt so close to their Garden State Real Estate Academy instructor that the students would make their instructor one of the first calls they made as they walked out of the state exam center with a “Pass” certificate.

In July 2018, Phil Bonafiglia retired and sold Garden State Real Estate Academy to David C. Forward, who became the school’s Director.

Under the new leadership team, Garden State expanded its course offerings, adding daytime and evening pre-licensing classes and broker licensing classes. It added classes to help NJ agents earn their Pennsylvania real estate license, and other classes for agents licensed in other states to earn their NJ license. The school added continuing education classes and career development education.

Garden State places a huge emphasis on the quality of its instructors and will only hire teachers who have vast experience in their own real estate success. This enables them to not only teach what is needed to pass the state exam, but to disclose to our classroom guests hundreds of practical tips on how to succeed in their new real estate careers once they have their license.

As a result, Garden State Real Estate Academy is now—by a huge margin—New Jersey’s top-ranked real estate school, according to Google Reviews.

In October 2021, Garden State grew again by acquiring A1 Real Estate School. A1 has been in business for 48 years and has helped almost 100,000 people earn their real estate licenses in South Jersey and along the Jersey Shore. Carl Davis, the acclaimed school director of A1 Real Estate School continues to serve aspiring real estate licensees as a member of the Garden State instructor team.

Meet The School Director

David Forward Owner Garden State Real Estate Academy
Go to Top