Search
Close this search box.
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Honors Seven Extraordinary Charter School Advocates with Annual Changemaker Award

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Honors Seven Extraordinary Charter School Advocates with Annual Changemaker Award

May 12, 2024

The Changemaker Award honors individuals who are making an outsized difference in their public charter schools and communities.

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is thrilled to announce the 2024 recipients of the annual Charter School Changemaker Award, all seven of whom are public charter school advocates. The Changemaker Award honors individuals who are making an exceptional difference in their charter schools and communities, and who go above and beyond to shape their students’ lives for the better. These seven individuals are unique in their communities, but together, are representative advocates for public education and for creating more high-quality public education options for families.

The Changemaker Awards are presented during the National Charter Schools Week, an annual celebration of these unique public schools and their impact on communities across the country. This year’s theme is Raise Your Voice, and the National Alliance is celebrating National Charter Schools Week this week to honor the 8,000 public charter schools, 251,000 dedicated teachers, and hundreds of lawmakers who serve and advocate for nearly 4 million students each day. In partnership with the public charter school community nationwide, this week-long celebration encourages everyone to raise their voice for high-quality public education options for all children.

“Through dedication, innovation, and unwavering commitment, the recipients of the 2024 Charter School Changemaker Award show us the path to a brighter future in public education. These seven remarkable individuals embody the transformative power of passionate advocacy in their charter schools and communities. They are shaping the lives of students and enriching their communities, while championing the pursuit of high-quality public education options for all families. We are deeply grateful for their voices, courage and leadership,” said Eric Paisner, Acting CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Please join us in celebrating the 2024 Changemakers:

Jametrice McAdams, Parent, Hueytown, Alabama

Jametrice McAdams is a parent of three and a former 7th Grade ELA educator. Her children inspired her to step outside of the classroom and become an advocate for equitable learning. This love for learning has blossomed into a journey geared to promote and empower parent leadership. Jametrice created the 3rd Grade Parent Circle at Empower Community School in Bessemer, AL, where her son attends school. The Parent Circle is a space for parents to get involved in school, hold school leaders accountable, and build skills and knowledge about how to be a parent advocate. She is an alumnus of New Schools for Alabama’s Parent Voice Fellowship.

Zak Dominello, Executive Director at Ricardo Flores Magon Academy, Denver, Colorado

Zak is the Executive Director and Principal of Ricardo Flores Magon Academy. He has experience as an elementary and secondary school administrator and a special education director. As a leader in a turnaround school, Zak uses his platform to advocate, provide resources for, and serve his community in any way he can. He has hosted legislators and policymakers at the school, educating them on the importance of school funding, equitable access for all and breaking down the barriers of structural and systemic racism plaguing our schools and education system. Ricardo Flores Magon Academy serves a primarily multilingual BIPOC population and is a shining example of the power of collective action, unity, and community decision-making. Zak is a Colorado League of Charter Schools Ambassadors Cohort and Legislative Liaison Program member and is pursuing his Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Colorado.

Daniyal Hussain, Student, Albuquerque, New Mexico 

High school senior Daniyal Hussain from Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School is a remarkable advocate who started an advocacy club at his school as a graduate of the Rising Leaders Initiative Class of 2022-23. Daniyal has successfully advocated for important bills in the New Mexico State Legislature and presented at 50Can New Mexico on a student panel as part of the program. His advocacy even helped secure funding for IB testing in New Mexico. Daniyal’s ambitions extend to college, where he plans to study political science and public policy, become a legislator, and continue his advocacy efforts for causes he is passionate about.

Julia Rivera-Tapia, Parent and Administrator at J. Paul Taylor Academy, Las Cruces, New Mexico

Julia Rivera-Tapia is a dedicated parent in the New Mexico charter school community. She has consistently demonstrated unwavering commitment, passion, and advocacy for students, families, and school staff. Her tireless efforts have led to improved communication channels, increased parental involvement, and a stronger sense of community within J. Paul Taylor Academy. She actively engages with school leadership, teachers, and fellow parents to ensure that all school communication is offered in Spanish as well as English. Julia emphatically leads the Equity Council and works to ensure that every student receives the support they need to thrive. Whether it’s advocating for additional resources, addressing safety concerns, or promoting mental health awareness, she champions initiatives that directly benefit our children.

Eric Pettigrew, Former State Lawmaker, Seattle, Washington

Eric Pettigrew has decades of experience in public service. From 2003 to 2021, he represented the residents of Washington’s 37th legislative district in the State House of Representatives, including 10 years as Caucus Chair. During his tenure, he championed charter schools, including increased funding. Eric believes charter schools provide a great complement to traditional public schools, especially for students of color. Since leaving office, Eric has continued his advocacy for charter schools, urging lawmakers to ensure all students across Washington state have access to a public school that meets their needs, including passing legislation to ensure charter public schools receive funding equal to other public schools.

Cheryl Stahle, Academic Administrator, West Virginia Virtual Academy, Parkersburg, West Virginia

Cheryl Stahle is West Virginia Virtual Academy’s academic administrator, and a former teacher and professor with hands-on experience in both physical and virtual classrooms across the state. She holds administrative experience in program design, schoolwide positive behavior initiatives, and teacher development. Through her unwavering commitment and tireless efforts, Cheryl has significantly contributed to raising awareness and fostering appreciation for the remarkable charter school expansion work happening throughout the state. She consistently shines a spotlight on the positive aspects of charter schools in West Virginia, especially the virtual schools through media campaigns and community events. Cheryl has played a pivotal role in fostering connections and partnerships that have led to increased support and recognition for West Virginia Virtual Academy’s initiatives, such as the school’s partnership with Pierpont Community and Technical College offering student’s dual enrollment. 

Dr. Chris Her-Xiong, Chief Executive Officer of Hmong American Peace Academy, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Dr. Chris Her-Xiong is the Chief Executive Officer of the Hmong American Peace Academy, a college preparatory K4-12 grade public charter school and treasurer of the Wisconsin Charter School Association. Dr. Her-Xiong has shaped education and inspired children in Milwaukee over her 34 years with Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), as a teacher, principal, and now Chief Executive Officer of the Hmong American Peace Academy (HAPA), a high-performing and award-winning school serving nearly 1,900 scholars. When she was hired by MPS in 1990, she was its first Hmong bilingual teacher. She watched as her Hmong students faced the same identity crisis that she had gone through and that fueled her advocacy efforts to provide them a place to be able to embrace their culture, while also having many choices in life. This is what led her to create the Hmong American Peace Academy, an MPS charter school and the first Hmong public charter school in Wisconsin. It celebrates Hmong heritage, rigorous academics, character development and a community peace program preparing them to excel in colleges, universities, and careers. HAPA is transformational for our scholars, our families, our community and our city. Dr. Her-Xiong has been honored by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation for her inspirational leadership and was a Milwaukee Business Journal Woman of Influence. She was a member of Gov. Tony Evers’ Personnel Advisory Council to help refer potential candidates for key state positions. Dr. Her-Xiong was the recipient of the Lifetime Award by College Possible in the spring of 2023.

The National Alliance is excited to celebrate and honor these extraordinary individuals at a special event on Capitol Hill on May 15 at 11 a.m. ET. Changemakers will share why they advocate for charter schools and public education during a panel discission. Media is invited to attend the event and Changemakers will be available for interviews. Contact [email protected] for more information.

Charter schools are free, public, and open to all. Serving nearly 4 million students, 70 percent of whom are from communities of color or low-income communities, charter schools are the only part of public education that is steadily growing. Over the last four school years (2019-20 to 2022-23), charter schools gained more than 300,000 new students, an increase of 9%. Meanwhile, district public schools lost 1.5 million students at the beginning of the pandemic and enrollment has not rebounded over the past three years, creating a net loss of 3.5%.

help us advocate for more charter schools & increased funding!
find a charter school near you on our interactive map!

Notice

You are now leaving the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Website

trophy icon

Memorial Gifts

Contact Celia Hagerman at [email protected] or 202-600-8994.

trophy icon

Commemorative Gifts

Contact Celia Hagerman at [email protected] or 202-600-8994.

Notice

You are now leaving the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Website

Notice

You are now leaving the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Website

Notice

You are now leaving the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Website

Notice

You are now leaving the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Website

Notice

You are now leaving the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Website

Notice

You are now leaving the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Website

STAY INFORMED

Get the latest charter school updates straight to your inbox.

shapes icon

Wire Transfers

For questions regarding wire transfers, please email of call Celia Hagerman at [email protected] or 202-600-8994.

shapes icon

Gifts of Stock

For questions regarding stock, please email of call Celia Hagerman at [email protected] or 202-600-8994.

shapes icon

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 [email protected] or 202-600-8994.

calendar icon

Legacy Society

Contact Celia Hagerman at [email protected] or 202-600-8994 to learn more about the Legacy Society or for any other inquiries regarding planned giving.