COORDINATING COMMITTEE MEMBERS

The Coordinating Committee is a group of 40 educators and advocates who laid the groundwork for this organization. We want to thank all of them for the time they gave in long meetings and
sub-comittee work to point CPICS in the right direction.

Aaliyah Hodge

Center for School Change

St. Paul, Minnesota

Aaliyah has policy experience at the local, state and national level. As a consultant for the CSC Aaliyah, aggregated and analyzed data comparing demographics of Minnesota, St. Paul and Minneapolis district and charter schools. Additionally as the Compliance Director for the Harvest Network of Schools, located in Minneapolis, Ms. Hodge is in charge of making sure that all schools within the network are compliant with federal, state and authorizer standards, she is also in charge of board development and board training within the Network. Previously, Aaliyah taught 6th grade special education and she spent a year working with NACSA and Audubon, a local authorizer, evaluating academic, financial, and operations charter data for 34 schools in Minnesota. Aaliyah is a commissioner on the Minneapolis Commission on Civil Rights and has a MPP from the University of Minnesota.

Adam Aberman

The Learning Collective

Los Angeles, California

Adam is the CEO and Founder of The Learning Collective with 20 years experience in education. Over the past 14 years, Adam has assessed over 100 proposed, and 150 current, K-12 charter schools nationally - in California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Washington, and Washington DC - including leading renewal inspection visits on behalf of authorizers. Adam has also evaluated charter school authorizers in Ohio and Minnesota. Previously, Adam was the Director of Global Digital Strategy for Ashoka’s Youth Venture, which helps teams of youth internationally launch socially responsible businesses and organizations. Prior to Ashoka, Adam was the Executive Director and Founder (and currently Board Member Emeritus) of icouldbe.org, the non-profit Internet-based career mentoring program that has served over 25,000 teens and e-mentors nationwide.  Before establishing icouldbe.org, Adam was a Regional Coordinator for the New York City Department of Education.

Carol Bowar

Girls Athletic Leadership Schools

Denver, Colorado

Carol Bowar is the executive director at Girls Athletic Leadership Schools and The Boys School of Denver for GALS Denver, after serving as a member of the founding board of GALS and a previous board member. Most recently, Carol served as the COO of KIPP Colorado Schools, was the Director of Curriculum and Career Services at GlobaLinks Learning Abroad, and a consultant for the National Center for Women and Information Technology. She was President & CEO of Girls Inc. of Metro Denver. Additional past positions include Vice President, Program Services at Girls Inc. of Metro Denver, Director of Training, Education and Community Service Programs at Up with People, Policy Assistant for the Colorado’s Governor’s Office, Field Director at KaBoom!, and Program Officer for the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation.

Michael Catlyn

Brooklyn Charter School

Brooklyn, New York

Michael Catlyn is the Vice-Chairperson of Brooklyn Charter School in Bedford Stuyvesant Brooklyn, District 14. Brooklyn Charter School is the first charter school authorized by New York City Department of Education and Michael has served on the Board of Trustees since its inception in 2000. Michael’s affiliation with the Board of Trustees of Brooklyn Charter School began as a parent representative until he became Chairman of BCS in 2005 until 2008. Since 2008, Michael serves as Vice-Chairperson and Chair of the Audit and Finance committee. A native of Barbados and father of four children, Michael is a school-reform and community activist serving on numerous committees and Boards including the School Leadership Team of Bard High School Early College, Bed Stuy Piranhas at Bedford Stuyvesant YMCA, Coalition of Community Charter Schools (initial Board) and the Education and Youth Committee of Community Board 3. In addition, he has met with numerous elected officials and education reformers to advocate for charter schools and has contributed to an op-ed article in the New York Post on educational opportunity for underprivileged students in NYC.

Jeremy Cavallaro

Community Roots Academy

Laguna Niguel, California

Jeremy Cavallaro is the Co-Founder of Community Roots Academy in Laguna Niguel, California. He has served as Executive Director of Education since its opening in 2011. Previously he was a school leader in private and public schools in NYC and CA. He has been a teacher at both public and private schools on the West and East coast. Jeremy is a lifetime learner who is dedicated to education and committed to enhancing public education opportunities for all students.

Iris Maria Chávez

Equity Action Partners

Portland, Oregon

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.

Jim D'Agostino, Ed. D

Santiago Charter Middle School

Orange, California

Dr. Jim D’Agostino is in his 7th year as the Principal/Executive Director at Santiago Charter Middle School. He takes pride in being visible to parents and students and demonstrates that by greeting everyone each morning as they enter the Santiago campus. His philosophy of making everyone feel welcomed and valued into the school, while continuing to strive toward academic excellence, is part of the leadership style that he brings to the school and the entire school community. His positive attitude and energy has helped to create a very welcoming and caring culture at Santiago which has resulted in increased enrollment and community involvement. The idea of being a “Champion for Kindness” is something that Jim believes in very strongly at a moral level and he tries to model that philosophy with everyone he encounters.

Peggy Downs

Charter School Specialist

Aurora, Colorado

Peggy Downs has been committed to charter schools for nearly 20 years and is passionate about supporting the development of strong leadership, effective programs, and inspired teachers. Beginning at Peak to Peak Charter School in Lafayette, Colorado, she has taught and led Core Knowledge schools in Colorado, TASIS-Switzerland, and Utah. Ms. Downs has served as a member of the Board of Directors for Heritage Heights Academy in Centennial, Colorado, and on the Board of Directors for the Utah Association of Public Charter Schools. Most recently, she served as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Vanguard Classical School in Aurora, Colorado. She holds a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership (emphasis Charter School Leadership) from Central Michigan University and a Colorado Principal’s License. Ms. Downs has the unique experience of having opened new charter schools as a parent, teacher, director, and board member. Peggy Downs is putting her experience in charter schools to work for charter school leaders with consulting and writing services at www.peggydowns.com.

Christine Ferris

Highline Academy

Denver, Colorado

Christine Ferris M.S.ed. is a veteran educator who has worked in public, private, and charter schools since 1989. She founded and led Our Community School, a K-8 charter school in Los Angeles CA from 2005 to 2013. In 2009 the school was recognized as the charter school of the year in CA for their progress toward narrowing the achievement gap. Since moving to Denver in 2013, Ms. Ferris has worked as a consultant for several charter schools both locally and nationally. Ms. Ferris has a husband and two teenage children, one entering college in Seattle and the other starting high school at GALS charter school in Denver. She is honored and excited to be the new Executive Director of Highline Academy.

Anthony Gatto

Arts & College Preparatory Academy

Columbus, Ohio

Anthony Gatto was on the founding staff of the Arts & College Preparatory Academy (ACPA) in 2002, and has been principal since 2010.  Prior to stepping into administration, Anthony taught Algebra and Geometry at ACPA and for four years in Columbus City Schools. Under Anthony’s leadership, ACPA has a mission and vision based on safety, acceptance and inclusivity, top state report card ratings, rigorous academic and arts programs, and a student body that is valued regardless of race, gender, perceived gender, class, or sexual orientation. This is all due to Anthony’s autonomous style of leadership, which has created an environment where students and staff have a voice. Anthony believes that schools have a responsibility to teach students the importance of diversity, and that students and school staff need to be able to understand, respect and learn from each other.  He states, “I am in a position to foster and enact progressive educational philosophies that have the capacity to make school safer and more inclusive for all students, and I take that responsibility and privilege seriously.” Anthony has a B.A. in Journalism from Miami University and a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from the University of Cincinnati.  Anthony was recognized as the 2016 School Leader of the Year by the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools and a 2016 GLSEN Educator of the Year Honor Roll member.

Rose Mary Grant

Highlander Charter School

Providence, Rhode Island

Rose Mary has over 30 years of experience in the education profession. Before coming to Highlander in 2002, she worked at a range of public and independent schools both as a teacher and an administrator. She began her teaching in North Carolina at a school for students with multiple handicaps and continued using her special education degree at St. Andrew’s School in Barrington, RI, where she was a resource teacher and the Special Education Director. She started at Highlander teaching grades 7 and 8 before moving into the Principal and Special Education Director position in 2004 and finally the Head of School in 2007. Her educational philosophy is clearly visible in the school’s mission, vision and values.  Equity and access for all students regardless of race or socioeconomic status. All students deserve high quality educational opportunities in a safe nurturing environment where educating the whole child is key.

Shahara C. Jackson

New York City Leadership Academy

New York, New York

Shahara Jackson is the Senior Director of Leadership Development at the NYC
Leadership Academy. Shahara develops curriculum and facilitates the learning of
district and school-level staff. Before coming to NYCLA, Shahara was director of the
Principal Institute at New Leaders, where she also served as a principal coach and
leadership facilitator for Tri-State area. Prior to that, she was Director of Educational
Services for the Police Athletic League and served as an assistant principal in the NYC Department of Education. After completing the New Leaders program, she co-wrote the charter for and became founding principal of Summit Academy Charter School in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Shahara holds a bachelor’s degree in English Arts and Early Childhood/Elementary Education from Hampton University, and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Baruch College. She was awarded the Certificate of Executive Management of Non-Profit Organizations through the Partnership for After School Education Emerging Leaders program.

Dianne Jacobson

Skyview School, Inc.

Prescott, Arizona

Dianne is a native of Prescott, Arizona. She has been intimately involved with elementary education since 1997, when she came upon a Waldorf-inspired Michaelmas celebration. Since then, she has served on charter ​governing ​boards and worked hundreds of hours supporting charter education in Prescott as a parent and volunteer. Dianne finally found her home at Skyview School in 2006 as the Operations Manager. It was here that her commitment to the charter movement truly took hold. Although she always understood the academic and social benefits charters provided children, at Skyview she became aware of a deeper truth - charters 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, especially when most charters' 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.

Shayne Klein

Raleigh Charter High School

Raleigh, North Carolina

Shayne Klein is an Academic Dean and History Teacher at Raleigh Charter High School in Raleigh, North Carolina. She teaches US history and government while serving on the administrative team, managing the school's lottery, and working with new teachers. As a founding faculty member at Raleigh Charter, a school whose mission focuses on creating knowledgeable, thoughtful, contributing citizens, Shayne helped to develop the RCHS community’s understanding of citizenship education, refine the school’s mission, and engage the faculty in professional development around citizenship education. Shayne holds a BA in history from Amherst College and an MAT in Social Studies from Duke University.

Diane Labelle

Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

For 25 years Diane LaBelle has led arts and education organizations in Pennsylvania. In 2010, LaBelle returned to Bethlehem to become the CEO of the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts (Charter Arts), a free public school that provides a rich arts educational program for students in grades 9-12. At Charter Arts, LaBelle led fundraising efforts for a new 90,000 sq. ft. facility serving 650 students from 12 counties in eastern PA. During LaBelle’s tenure, Charter Arts has witnessed student success locally, regionally and nationally. From 2003 to 2010, LaBelle worked in Reading, Pa to design, oversee construction and then administer the GoggleWorks, a 145,000 sq. ft. former safety goggle factory converted to a multifaceted art center that has become a national model for community revitalization. LaBelle was the Director of the Banana Factory, an arts center in Bethlehem, Pa., from 1998-2003. Prior to that, she was the CEO of the nonprofit FreeHand, in Bethlehem, PA, working with children in the community to revitalize neighborhoods.  She graduated with a Master of Architecture from Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, Pa where she began her work with youth, community and the arts.

Todd Landry

Chapel Hill Academy

Fort Worth, Texas

Todd Landry brings extensive corporate, government, and nonprofit experience in child and family social services and business to his role as Chief Executive Officer of Lena Pope and, by extension, Superintendent of Chapel Hill Academy charter school.  His professional accomplishments are recognized nationally and led to his appointment as Director of Nebraska’s Division of Children and Family Services.  On April 1, 2009, Mr. Landry became the fifth agency leader in the 88-year history of Lena Pope in Fort Worth, Texas. During his tenure at Lena Pope, Chapel Hill Academy charter school has grown from 115 students to over 500 students (PreK through 5th grade).  The school is currently undergoing an expansion to 8th grade. He currently serves on several local and national boards, including as the current board treasurer of CWLA (Child Welfare League of America) and as the Texas Education Agency appointed charter school member of the Region 11 Education Service Center board of directors.

Virginia Lannen

Pegasus School of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Dallas, Texas

Virginia Lannen is Chair and CEO of Pegasus School of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Ms. Lannen received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Austin College in Sherman, Texas. Spanning six legislative sessions, Ms. Lannen served as legislative aide for a Texas State Representative and then for a State Senator. She worked closely with the Senate Education Committee dealing with a myriad of education issues. In 1996 Ms. Lannen helped found the Pegasus School, one of the First Generation Open-Enrollment Charter Schools in Texas.  The school has the unique mission of being a liberal arts and sciences school in Downtown Dallas, using the downtown resources as a learning laboratory. Pegasus serves students in grades K-12. Ms. Lannen currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Texas League of Community Charter Schools, a statewide member association of Texas open-enrollment charter schools and operators. Additionally, she serves on the board of Charter Schools Now, the Texas Charter School Association’s affiliated 501(c) (4) organization. Ms. Lannen was one of the Founders and Board Members of the Association of Charter Educators, the first Association dedicated to the interests of Texas Public Charter Schools and their students. She has been a trainer and charter school course provider for other charter school officers and directors.

Richard Lee

Academy of the City Charter School

Woodside, New York

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. 

Andrew Lewis

Georgia Charter Schools Association

Atlanta, Georgia

Andrew, an education and political consultant, worked for the Georgia Charter Schools Association (GCSA) for over 12 years, the last six as Executive Vice President over advocacy and policy. Andrew has been instrumental in the passage into law of numerous charter school related bills, including the 2009 “Georgia Charter Schools Commission Act,” allowing for a statewide alternative authorizer of charter schools.  After the Georgia Charter Schools Commission Act was declared unconstitutional in 2011 by the Georgia Supreme Court, Andrew played a pivotal role in reestablishing this statewide alternative authorizer of charter schools by passage of a constitutional amendment.  The “Charter Amendment” as it came to be known, received the necessary two-thirds majority by the Georgia House and Senate before receiving nearly 60% approval by Georgia voters in November 2012.  This was the first statewide, charter school specific referendum to be passed in United States. After nearly a decade in the sports entertainment industry, Andrew pursued a career in education, first as a classroom teacher, then with GCSA. Andrew left GCSA in the fall of 2017.

David Lockett

Lake Wales Charter Schools

Lake Wales, Florida

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.

Keri Melmed

Highpoint Academy

Aurora, Colorado

Keri Melmed is High Point Academy’s Chief Academic Officer/Principal. She has been working in education for over 20 years, both as a classroom teacher and in school leadership; in various schools in California, New York, and Colorado. Since Fall of 2013, Keri has led the High Point Academy community. Prior to coming to High Point Academy, Keri was the Principal of a “start up, turn around” charter school in Denver Public Schools in Far Northeast Denver. Starting from ground zero, Keri established a professional learning community, and modeled best practice through hands on coaching with her teaching staff. Keri built trust between families and the school during the foundational years. Prior to working in DPS, Keri was the Administrative Director at Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning, a hub of innovation, where her work focused on student character development and building strong school culture. She engaged students in taking ownership and personal responsibility for their learning and their behavior. Keri empowered staff and families to work together to ensure that the needs of students were being met both academically and socially.

John Merrow

Former Education Correspondent, PBS NewsHour

New York, New York

John Merrow began his career as an education reporter with NPR over 40 years ago and in 2012 became the first journalist to receive the prestigious McGraw Prize in Education. John’s work has taken him from community colleges to kindergarten classrooms, from the front lines of teacher protests to policy debates on Capitol Hill. John is a contributor to USA Today, the NY Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times and Education Week. John publishes the educational blog, “The Merrow Report” and his latest book is Addicted to Reform: A 12-Step Program to Rescue Public Education.

Ricardo Mireles

Academia Avance

Los Angeles, California

Ricardo Mireles is the founder of Academia Avance, a college preparatory charter public school serving families in LA’s Highland Park since 2005. Academia Avance now serves over 400 students in grades 6-12. The charter was renewed by the Los Angeles County Board of Education in 2010, and again by the State Board of Education in 2015. Ricardo has taught at the UCLA School of Public Policy and Social Research, and at the Don Bosco Technical Institute.

Joe Nathan

Center for School Change

St. Paul, Minnesota

Joe Nathan is an author, and has been an inner city public school aide, teacher, and administrator. He has helped write several major laws, including Post Secondary Options and the nation’s first charter public school law. Joe appeared on more than 400 television and radio programs including “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” McNeil/Lehrer News Hour” and “All Things Considered,” and has had guest columns published in over 20 newspapers, including WSJ, USA Today, Atlanta Constitution, and Detroit News. He served as a local PTA president in St. Paul. Joe writes a biweekly column carried by 20 suburban and rural Minnesota newspapers. 

Christopher Norwood

Florida Association of Independent Public Schools

Miami, Florida

Christopher Norwood is the Founder of the Florida Association of Independent Public Schools and the Governance Institute for School Accountability (GISA). Norwood is the former Executive Director of Lawyers for Children (Florida), he 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. Norwood Chair’s the City of Miami Education Advisory Board and serves on the Audit and Budget Committee of Miami-Dade Public Schools.

Emanuel Pariser, Ph.D.

Maine Academy of Natural Sciences

Hinckley, Maine

Emanuel has spent his entire career working in Maine on behalf of students at risk.  As Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Community School in Camden he lived with, taught and counseled young people at a turning point in their lives for 36 years.  He has also played a central role in the development and growth of Maine’s Alternative Education Association and the Maine Department of Education’s Office of Dropout, Truant and Alternative Education. In 2010 Emanuel received his PhD in education and psychology from the University of Maine, Orono.  His doctoral thesis was about the importance of student-teacher relationship in student retention and learning with students at-risk. In 2010 Emanuel was one of the founders of the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences at Good Will Hinckley.  After it’s first year he helped to write the successful application to become Maine’s first Charter High School. He is currently consulting with Threshold, the School’s newest program which reaches out to pregnant, parenting and socially anxious students who have dropped out of school or who are habitually truant.

Robert Pilkington, Ed.D.

Village Green Virtual Charter School

Providence, Rhode Island

Robert Pilkington, Ed.D. is a long time Rhode Island charter school leader, founder of the RI League of Charter Schools, former teachers union official and charter school designer and operator. Village Green is Dr. Pilkington’s fourth RI Charter School and schools based on his design have also been started in New Hampshire and Washington, DC. He is a licensed Superintendent in Rhode Island and the longest serving administrator in the RI Charter School movement. He has a demonstrated track record of starting and sustaining local charter schools, demonstrates consistent student achievement, and creates positive school cultures and professional learning communities for teachers and staff.

Stacey Prohaska

Circle of Seasons Charter School

Fogelsville, Pennsylvania

Stacey is Director of Development & Community Relations for Circle of Seasons (COS) Charter School in Fogelsville, Pennsylvania. At COS, Stacey manages the school’s capital fundraising, public relations and enrollment. She was hired in 2015 to lead a fundraising campaign to purchase the school property, a successful effort that concluded with the purchase in May 2017, in only the school’s fourth year of operation. Stacey also guided Trustees, administrators and faculty in the creation of the school’s first Strategic Plan, and created the Circle of Seasons Foundation, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to inspiring philanthropic support of the school. She serves on the Development Committee of the national Alliance for Public Waldorf Education. Prior to Circle of Seasons, Stacey served as Executive Director of the Allentown School District Foundation (ASDF), which was established to inspire support for the urban public school district in which she resides. At Circle of Seasons Charter School, Stacey found her passion: inspiring support for innovation in public education for the benefit of all children.

Kelli Pryor

Baxter Academy for Technology and Science

Portland, Maine

Kelli Pryor serves as executive director of Baxter Academy for Technology and Science in Portland, Maine. The STEM-focused, project-based high school opened its doors in 2013 to 126 students. Now, in its fifth year, the school has grown to its cap enrollment of 400 and is renovating an old brick bakery into a 21st-century schoolhouse that features science and engineering labs, as well as a central fabrications lab. The school just received a ten-year term for its renewed charter contract. Ms. Pryor’s background is in journalism and screenwriting. She directed Portland’s CAFAM Chinese School for more than a decade and became the founding board chair of Baxter Academy because her twin daughters wanted a STEM option for high school.

Mary Rumpz

Townsend Community School

Castalia, Ohio

Mary Rumpz has started two successful dropout prevention credit recovery charter schools over the past decade. She has worked in all aspects of both programs from educator, home visit officer, EMIS coordinator (management of the student information system), enrollment, contributed significantly to the initial design of the computer program used to capture data, to her current position as chief operations director. Even though Ms. Rumpz did not have a background in education, she came into the educational environment with real world experiences that enabled her to operate schools that have been designated as exemplary in their State, as well as been run in a fiscally responsible manner. She worked to design a 21st century learning facility that not only meets the academic needs of the at-risk student but, more importantly, their social and emotional needs. Ms. Rumpz’ mission has never wavered from providing underprivileged students with an opportunity to receive a high school diploma and expand on the possibilities for their future.

James Vira

Lawrence Group

New York, New York

James Vira, AIA, LEED AP is the founder of VIRALINE Architecture LLP. With more than 20 years of experience focused on the design and construction of institutional projects, He has developed a diverse portfolio that includes work for charter, public, and private schools, colleges and universities, and international corporations. He has worked on complex, large-scale projects at all stages of the design process and applies the same professionalism, creativity, and rigor to all of his projects, regardless of size. James is a published and award-winning designer. His ability to synthesize client needs, budget, and building technology into compelling designs is one of his key strengths.

Heather Vuncannon

Uwharrie Charter Academy

Asheboro, North Carolina

Heather Vuncannon is the founder of Uwharrie Charter Academy located in rural Asheboro, North Carolina. With STE3AM (Entrepreneurship, Environment, and Engineering) and Project-based learning at its core, the school continues to drive innovation in the region by disrupting the current rhetoric in traditional education with its “out-of-the-box” teaching and learning strategies. Heather earned her master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and later her school administration degree from High Point University. She has lead Uwharrie Charter from the first day it opened in 2013 but truly enjoys working with new leaders, teachers, and staff as they do their work with unmatched passion and conviction. She and her team speak at the state and national levels on their future-centered, STEAM model designed around intrepid leadership and closely integrated with the surrounding community. Heather enjoys spending time with her family and volunteering her time within the local Rotary club as well as chairing the board of directors for a homeless shelter. Her heart resides with Uwharrie Charter but she hopes to raise awareness for community charter schools in rural America through her passion and advocacy efforts.

Dr. Richard Welles

Coalition of Community Charter Schools

Long Island City, New York

Dr. Richard Welles is Co-Director of C3S. Rick has over 4 decades of experience in public, private and charter education K-12, as assistant superintendent, principal, staff developer, and elementary and English teacher. For several years Rick was a regional vice president of a charter Educational Services Provider working with charter school boards and leaders in New York, DC and Philadelphia. Rick has deep experience in leadership training and recruitment. Dr. Welles presently serves as co-founder and chairman of the Board of Trustees of Academy of the City Charter School in Woodside and is also Executive Director of the Open School Project.

Peter Wieczorek

Northwest Passage Charter High School

Coon Rapids, Minnesota

Peter Wieczorek is the Director of Northwest Passage Charter High School in Coon Rapids, MN. He received his B.A. in Outdoor Education from the University of Minnesota, a secondary Life Science certificate and an M.A. in Education from Goddard College in Vermont. He has been an educator and youth worker for over 25 years, working in a variety of traditional and non-traditional settings including schools, YMCA camps, nature centers, and other youth serving organizations. Peter has been a leader in the progressive education movement contributing to trainings, seminars, and conferences around the country. He is a passionate educator dedicated to sharing his love of science and providing students with 21st century skills.

Steve Zimmerman

Coalition of Community Charter Schools

Long Island City, New York

Steven Zimmerman is Co-Director of C3S. Steve has founded two charter schools in Queens—Our World Neighborhood Charter School, where he served as board chairman for five years and, most recently, Academy of the City Charter School. He was an elementary school teacher in the inner-city of Chicago during the Model Cities Program years and later worked for 15 years in educational publishing, first as a science editor and later as principal of BookLinks, a company that provides ESL, bilingual and design services for US school publishers. Steve is also the founder an educational technology startup and has spent the last several years working on a digital collaborative tool for authentic assessment.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

© 2019 Coalition of Public Independent Charter Schools

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