My Opening Farewell

Two weeks ago I started a new job as interim Executive Director of Academy of the City Charter School in Woodside—a neighborhood in western Queens where Archie Bunker presumably lived back in the 1970’s but whose more recently arrived immigrant population has turned into the beautiful American mosaic. It's also smack in the middle of the COVID-19 epicenter of the country. I didn't expect to find myself in my current position but the same could be said about anyone right now. No one is where they expected to be, and we’re all carrying a share of the burden for protecting and healing our families, community, nation, planet.

Taking on this new job-and-a-half meant, however, that I've had to step down as director of CPICS. But I step down leaving this organization in the very capable hands of Violet and Edward, and under the guidance of a terrific board of trustees, representing some of most inspiring independent charter schools from the west down to the east. You should check out these folks here.

Please note: I’m stepping down; I'm not going away. I’ve been told that I can now use the title “Founder” after my name, which makes me very happy. And I continue to meet by video every morning with Violet and Edward which also makes me very happy. I intend to be a sentimental and occasionally cranky cheer leader. And I will continue to write blog pieces which our new executives may need to edit because I will now feel less constrained in my opinions and you should feel free to disown them. I can be strident and you can have plausible deniability: “We don’t really believe that; that’s just Uncle Founder cutting loose.” Works for me.

Seriously, the education issues over which I've obsessed before—from the corrosive effect of over-testing to the oxymoronic scale-and-replication obsession of the Silicon Valley boys—feel more urgent than ever, and the potential for self-managed, community-based, public chartered schools to lead the way in innovative, democratic, progressive education is greater than ever.

CPICS begins its 2020-2021 registration drive this week. We know that lean times are upon us and budgets will be tight but PLEASE continue to support the organization through your membership. It’s the best shot we have of moving policy in the right direction.

You can still reach me at szimmerman@indiecharters.org My new job has me up to my eyeballs in alligators (I used to live on the edge of the Everglades) but I want to hear from you anyway.

Stay safe, embrace science, fight for your kids and families. Save the world.

This is my opening farewell.

by Steve Zimmerman, CPICS Founder


© 2020 Coalition of Public Independent Charter Schools

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