Eleven years ago, I was honored to become president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Having spent the previous two decades working to improve education policy and expand educational choice for students across America, the opportunity to lead the National Alliance and the charter school movement to new heights of success was one I eagerly accepted. In the years since, our progress has surpassed my expectations. Our movement has grown and diversified, and is now a powerful force in American public education, leading the way on issues of equity, innovation, and achievement.
Since I joined the National Alliance, the number of students attending charter schools has grown from 2.3 million to 3.7 million. The number of states with charter school laws has expanded to 46. And vitally, annual funding for the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) – one of the National Alliance’s signature advocacy priorities – has expanded by roughly 75% to $440 million. Additionally, improvements to the CSP statute, which we spearheaded, have made the law better and more effective for schools, management organizations, and state association partners now and into the future.
I’m incredibly proud of the work our team has done over the past 11 years. Reshaping institutions is difficult work, and I am heartened by the scale and reach of the change we have delivered during my tenure. It is with this past success in mind that I write to tell you of my decision to seek a new professional challenge. I will be stepping down from my role as president and CEO of the National Alliance at year’s end and supporting the board as it works to find my successor in the interim.
I leave with both fulfillment and gratitude. The National Alliance’s service to the sector is stronger and broader than it has ever been. Our annual conference hosts thousands of charter supporters and is truly the hub of the movement. We’ve prioritized amplifying the voices of school leaders of color to help us advocate at the federal level for charter schools, launched a Legal Action Fund to stay at the forefront of the increasingly important developments in courts across the country, and established a Facilities Center to harness support for improved public and private facilities funding. I am proud of all these accomplishments and their existence will help ensure the charter school movement endures across the country.
Perhaps most importantly, during what has been one of the most polarizing political periods in our nation’s history, we have continued to maintain bipartisan support in Congress for charter schools, with powerful champions on both sides of the aisle. Our success in maintaining broad support for charter schools has also allowed us to enact charter school laws in Alabama, Kentucky, Montana, Washington, and West Virginia, in addition to improving laws in many other states.
Our diverse and exceptionally talented team has made all of this possible. Their dedication, commitment, and creativity are unmatched and I am pleased to have led them through a complicated decade in politics and society, including a pandemic that tested us all to our limits. Our team and culture have only grown stronger and they are absolutely the best in the business!
I’m also tremendously grateful to our external partners – the allies, supporters, friends, funders, and especially the parents who share our passion for doing what’s right for students and always answer the call when we need to step up for the nation’s children and the country’s charter schools. Every day during my time at the National Alliance has been filled with purpose, energy, and the inspiring knowledge that we have been expanding educational opportunities for students – especially those who are too often overlooked – and changing the trajectory of public education for the better. The work has been a joy and a privilege.
I’m excited about what lies ahead for me and I leave the National Alliance brimming with pride and optimism. I love what we all do together and I look forward to working with many of you again, albeit from a different seat. As I hope you all know, I will always be a champion of charter schools and an ally to everyone committed to giving families access to a great education.
President and CEO
National Alliance for Public Charter School
P.S. Please follow this link for a message from our board chair, Rick Cruz.