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Charter School 101

DL21C’s Education Committee presents:

“Charter Schools 101: How they Function, Who Funds Them, Who Runs Them”


Jonas Chartock, Executive Director, SUNY Charter Schools Institute
Andrea Zayas, Principal, La Cima Charter School (Brooklyn, NY)
with comments from Jim Rex, South Carolina Supt. of Public Instruction and Candidate for Governor

About the speakers:

Jonas S. Chartock is Executive Director of the Charter Schools Institute of the State University of New York. Mr. Chartock previously served as the Founding President and Chief Executive Officer of the Charter School Policy Institute (CSPI), a think-tank in Austin, Texas. Prior to joining CSPI, Mr. Chartock served as Executive Director of Teach For America in Houston, Texas, where he was responsible managing both a regional staff and board of directors dedicated to ensuring the effectiveness of over 500 first- and second-year teachers. He began his professional career as an elementary school teacher through Teach For America in the Compton Unified School District in Compton, California. Mr. Chartock is an Ed.D. candidate at the University of Texas at Austin. He holds an Ed.M. in School Leadership from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education; an M.A. in Education: Curriculum and Instruction from Chapman University; and a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

Andrea Zayas is the Principal and Founder of La Cima Elementary Charter School.  Founded in the summer of 2008, La Cima currently serves 200 kindergarten, first and second graders in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. Prior to launching La Cima, Andrea was an elementary school teacher, administrator and charter school authorizer in New York City. She joined the Office of New Schools at the NYC Department of Education to develop and implement the comprehensive accountability system used to evaluate and monitor NYC charter schools. Andrea managed several successful charter school start ups, from application through opening, for a national charter management organization.  She serves on the Advisory Board of Partners for Developing Futures, a new social venture investment fund that primarily invests in the start-up of high-potential minority-led charter schools and charter networks. Andrea earned her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University, and an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is the proud parent of seven-year old Mila, one of La Cima’s founding scholars.

Jim Rex is the current South Carolina Superintendent of Education and Candidate for Governor. Under his leadership, South Carolina has become a national leader in single-gender education, increased the number of public Montessori schools, and increased the number of magnet and charter schools. At the same time, Rex has demanded tough new accountability measures, including firing bad teachers, rewarding talented teachers with better pay, and holding local school boards accountable for using taxpayer dollars wisely.  The Department of Education budget has been cut by 20% under his leadership, but despite these cuts, his innovations and accountability measures are showing promising signs of success.  Under Rex?s leadership, SAT scores have risen more than any state in the nation, and South Carolina was named the number one state in the nation for improving its on-time high school graduation rate.  On September 15, 2009, Rex announced his candidacy for South Carolina governor. (www.jimrex.com)