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2023 Teacher Changemaker Awards

During National Charter Schools Week 2023, the National Alliance and partners celebrated and honored seven exceptional charter school teachers as individuals who are going above and beyond to shape students’ lives for the better. These seven individuals are unique in their communities, but together, are representative of the educator who thrives in public charter schools: one who has the ability to personalize teaching and act autonomously to meet the differing needs of the students in their classroom. 

2023 Changemaker Headshot - Cielo Acosta

CIELO ACOSTA

8th Grade Language Arts Teacher 
SLAM! Miami 
Miami, FL

Cielo Acosta teaches eighth grade language arts, sponsors several student clubs, and is an alumna of SLAM! Miami. When she is not in the classroom with students, she is pursuing a graduate degree in School Counseling with the aspiration to continue to help support the emotional and social well-being of her students. She believes it is essential for educators to teach students more than academic lessons but to also instill the importance of kindness, compassion, and self- growth.

Finding Inspiration: How My Experience as a Charter School Student Led Me to Become a Teacher
2023 Changemaker Headshot - Nathaniel Dunn III

NATHANIEL DUNN III

3rd Grade Teacher
i3 Academy  
Birmingham, AL

Nathaniel Dunn III was named the 2021 Henry Nelson Teacher of Excellence by the Alabama Charter School Commission. A graduate of Woodlawn High School, Mr. Dunn’s return to this community through his role at i3 Academy brings his teaching experience full circle. As a Southside baseball coach and mentor through the years, Mr. Dunn’s role as teacher is just one way he impacts the lives of the children in his community. 

Innovative Teaching: How My Charter School Empowers Me as an Educator
2023 Changemaker Headshot - Tiffany Ortego

TIFFANY ORTEGO

Kindergarten Lead Teacher
One City Schools 
Madison, WI

Only in her fifth year of early childhood education, Tiffany Ortego is loved by all her students. She and her co-teacher work together to create an amazing classroom culture where students feel accepted and heard. Ms. Ortego helped create the Preschool Garden Space and created the school’s 4K Volunteer Reading and Early Literacy program. Ms. Ortego has also been a champion of the AnjiPlay curriculum. 

Meeting Challenges: How I Grew as an Educator at My Charter School
2023 Changemaker Headshot - Jermar Rountree

COACH JERMAR ROUNTREE

2023 D.C. Teacher of the Year
Health and Physical Education Teacher 
Center City Public Charter School 
Washington, DC

Coach Jermar Rountree is a health and physical education teacher at Center City Public Charter School, Brightwood Campus. In the Center City network, he also serves as the district teacher lead for the physical education and health department. Coach Rountree has established in-school, after-school, and weekend partnerships with organizations to help kids grow in all facets of life. 

Beyond Athletics: Teaching Students About Mental and Physical Health
2023 Changemaker Headshot - Alissa Russell

DR. ALISSA RUSSELL

Mathematics Department Head 
Life High School Oak Cliff 
Red Oak, TX

Dr. Alissa Russell is a “master teacher” with 20 years of teaching experience. She uses Socratic Seminar, differentiated group modeling, and peer partnership grouping as innovative instructional practices in her mathematics classroom. Dr. Russell uplifts her school community in diverse ways, including as a sponsor for the National Honor Society and the step team on campus. Dr. Russell was recently appointed to an advisory council convened by Texas Sen. Royce West (D) and has served on a Texas Education Agency think tank. She has also been named Life Schools District Teacher of the Year, Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the Year, and Texas Public Charter Schools Association Teacher of the Year.

Inspiring Success: How I Empower Students Through Innovative Teaching
2023 Changemaker Headshot - David Singer

DAVID SINGER

Founder and Executive Director, Former High School Math Teacher  
University Prep 
Denver, CO

David Singer started his teaching career twenty years ago as a high school math teacher but became passionate about early education and the ability to help more kids at an early stage in their academic careers. In 2011, Mr. Singer founded University Prep with one hundred kindergarten and first graders. The school has since grown into a network of two public charter schools serving nearly seven hundred children and was approved in 2021 to open its third campus.  

Transforming Lives: Why I Became a Charter School Founder
2023 Changemaker Headshot - Andrea Thomas

ANDREA THOMAS

3rd and 4th Grade Teacher
Dream Diné Charter School 
Shiprock, NM

Andrea Thomas is a TeachPlus Fellow, a passionate educator, and community leader from the Diné tribe. She is an educator who believes that students of all cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds deserve access to excellent teachers and high-quality instruction within their own communities. Coming from a family of educators and school administrators, Ms. Thomas has a true passion for teaching and preparing the next generation of learners.

Community-Centered Education: How I Uplift My Culture as an Educator

Congratulations to the 2023 Changemaker awardees! See you next year at the National Charter Schools Week celebration

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Memorial Gifts

Contact Celia Hagerman at celia@publiccharters.org or 202-600-8994.

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Commemorative Gifts

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Wire Transfers

For questions regarding wire transfers, please email of call Celia Hagerman at celia@publiccharters.org or 202-600-8994.

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Gifts of Stock

For questions regarding stock, please email of call Celia Hagerman at celia@publiccharters.org or 202-600-8994.

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Matching Gifts

If you or your spouse work for a company that provides matching gifts, you can make an even bigger impact! To have your gift matched, you must submit your company’s completed matching gift form.

Please send all completed matching gift forms to:

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
800 Connecticut Ave. N.W. Suite 300
Washington, DC 20006.

If this donation will be potentially matched, please provide the company name.

Advocates Council

Contact Celia Hagerman at celia@publiccharters.org or 202-600-8994.

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Legacy Society

Contact Celia Hagerman at celia@publiccharters.org or 202-600-8994 to learn more about the Legacy Society or for any other inquiries regarding planned giving.