Ricardo Mireles is the Executive Director and Founder of Academia Avance, the independent college preparatory charter public school in the Northeast Los Angeles neighborhood of Highland Park serving over 400 students in grades 6-12. The Avance college attainment outcomes for its graduates top 80% enrolling in college, the majority at four year institutions, with a 70% persistence rate. A key component of this success is the Avance Life Prep program which includes extensive workplace education experience in a professional setting internship aligned to each student's career goals. Also, almost half of the students participate in at least one of the five interscholastic athletic teams, which have netted over a dozen league titles in the last three years. Ricardo is a graduate of Columbia College, studied at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, and taught at the UCLA School of Public Policy and Social Research and at the Don Bosco Technical Institute.
Iris Maria Chávez is an education advocate and public affairs consultant, currently working with national and Oregon-focused organizations to advance equity by supporting the creation of sound, just policies that better communities in Oregon and across the nation. Iris Maria came to the Pacific Northwest from Washington, D.C., where she worked for over a decade in education policy and advocacy for civil rights and advocacy organizations such as the Education Trust and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). Iris Maria’s volunteer work also focuses on community engagement and equity, she currently serves on the Partnership for Safety & Justice Board of Directors and the City Club of Portland Board of Governors.
Dianne has been the Operations Manager at Skyview School in Prescott, Arizona since 2006. Previously she has served on charter governing boards and worked hundreds of hours supporting charter education as a parent and volunteer. Although she always understood the academic and social benefits charters provided children, at Skyview she became aware of a deeper truth—charter schools have the ability to nurture and even heal a child's desire to learn. This "whole child" approach to education can be explored within the autonomy of charter school design, most effectively when curricula and methods are developed by educators and parents, and not politicians and legislators. Dianne holds a Bachelor's in English Literature and hopes to figure out what her Master's is going to be soon.
Richard Lee is the Founding Principal of Academy of the City Charter School in Woodside, NY, a school that is as diverse as the Borough of Queens. Previously, Richard was the Division Coordinator for seven years for grades 1–4 at The Bank Street School for Children. Richard has organized, led and presented in various workshop including NYSAIS, DOE and NAIS. Most of these have been about Children of Color affinity groups and Social Studies curriculum. Richard is Asian-American and feels strongly about the presence of administrators who reflect the community that they serve.
David Lockett is a STEM teacher at Bok Academy in Lake Wales, FL as well as an NSTA Aerospace Advisory Board Member. At Bok Academy, he is responsible for implementing a project-based curriculum for all students as they rotate through the STEM Lab. David has a distinguished and diverse background in the fields of Astronomy, Biotechnology, and Engineering, and is an advocate and practitioner of S.T.E.M. accessibility for all students. David has participated in a variety of NSF projects throughout North and South America, including the Astronomy in Chile’s Ambassadors Educator Program and Innovators Developing Accessible Tools for Astronomy.
Emese Nagy is a junior at Amy Biehl Charter High School in Downtown Albuquerque. She has been working with 350 New Mexico and FFOL since August of this year. She became one of the student organizers for the September 20th Climate Strike, led, and organized 100 students from her school to join the action. Emese also works with the New Mexico Dream Team, a youth-led activist group for immigrant kids and families. She is very passionate about law and policy making. Emese is the varsity team captain for her school’s Mock Trial team. She’s attended Supreme Court hearings and continuously learns about the United States government so she can pursue a career in politics. She plans to continue making change through policy, advocacy, and speaking directly to communities to arrive at fair compromises that will drive our state towards 100% renewable energy.
Christopher Norwood is the Founder of the Florida Association of Independent Public Schools and the Governance Institute for School Accountability (GISA). Christopher is the former Executive Director of Lawyers for Children (Florida), and is certified by the Florida Commissioner for Education to provide Governance Training to Charter Schools. He is sought out by many to represent charter schools with application appeals, terminations and non-renewals before Florida’s Administrative Law Judges and School Board Administrative Hearings. Christopher chairs the City of Miami Education Advisory Board and serves on the Audit and Budget Committee of Miami-Dade Public Schools.
Chakesha Scott is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer for Impact Charter School, which was the first and only locally based charter school to launch in one of the five lowest performing traditional public school districts in Louisiana, Baker, LA. Impact Charter School is improving student academic achievement while closing the achievement gap among under-served children in Louisiana. Mrs. Scott holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Southern University and a Master’s of Business Administration from Louisiana State University. She collectively has over ten years of governmental internal auditing, financial accounting, and non-profit organizational management experience. Mrs. Scott is also the co-founder for Education Explosion, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization.
Tony has served as a board member to national school reform organizations like Edvisions, Inc., Minnesota Association of Charter Schools, Reaching At Promise Students Association (RAPSA) and Education Evolving. He has also served as a member of the Saint Paul School District Quality Review Team and as a peer reviewer for those applying to the Minnesota Department of Education for Federal Charter School Program grants. Tony has provided technical assistance to the Black Alliance for Educational Options and is currently serving as co-director of the New School Creation Fellowship at High Tech High Graduate School of Education in San Diego. He was also part of the development team for Minnesota’s first online project-based charter school, EdVisions Online Academy. Tony attended Howard University and Pace University where he earned a BA in Political Studies. He received his Juris Doctorate from Rutgers University School of Law. Tony is a native New Yorker who enjoys live music, reading, and traveling with his daughter.