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SUNY charter institute director to depart for New Orleans

The executive director of the State University of New York’s charter authorizer, Jonas Chartock, is leaving to lead a New Orleans-based teacher training program as it expands around the country, SUNY officials announced today.

Beginning in January, Chartock will head up the “Leading Educators” project. The group currently runs a professional development program in New Orleans aimed at keeping strong teachers in the classroom by grooming them for leadership positions that don’t take them away from students.

UPDATE: Chartock just weighed in with more details on the program. He will be charged with expanding the program around the United States, though he said that the group hasn’t yet finalized the first school districts and charter school chains where the program will initially grow. The national expansion won’t necessarily mean replicating the New Orleans program exactly as it is now, Chartock said, and part of his job will be to adapt the model for teachers in other school systems.

The program in New Orleans is currently part of New Leaders for New Schools, the Manhattan-based group whose co-founder, Jon Schnur, served as an advisor to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, but will become an independent non-profit, Chartock said. The “Leading Educators” program is modeled after a similar teacher training program launched in the United Kingdom by Jay Altman, who now runs a charter network in New Orleans.

Chartock, who has led SUNY’s charter authorizer since 2008, saw the institute through this spring’s battle over raising the state’s cap on charter schools. He will also be leaving at a challenging time for charter schools and their authorizers, which are adjusting to revisions to the charter law.

Chartock is set to finish his work at SUNY in November, and SUNY officials said today they intend to launch a national search for his replacement.

SUNY Charter Schools Institute Director Tapped to Lead National Non-Profit Focused on Teacher Leadership

Albany – SUNY Trustees Chairman Carl Hayden and Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher congratulated Jonas S. Chartock on his exemplary leadership as he announced his departure from the SUNY Charter Schools Institute to develop an innovative non-profit organization. Chartock will step down from his role as Executive Director of the SUNY Charter Schools to become the Chief Executive Officer of New Orleans based Leading Educators, an organization focused on supporting and developing teacher-leaders as change agents to ensure high academic achievement for every student. Chartock will lead the organization’s national expansion.

Chartock, 35, is a nationally recognized authority on education reform, school choice, and the professional development of quality teachers. Chartock has led the Charter Schools Institute with distinction, making quality improvements to Institute practices, expanding the Institute’s collaboration with state and national charter and educational organizations, and refining and executing the authorizing policies of the SUNY Board of Trustees.

Chartock will leave the Institute on November 15, 2010 and will assume his duties as Leading Educator’s first CEO on January 10, 2011.

SUNY will begin a national search for Chartock’s replacement.

“Jonas has led SUNY’s Charter Schools Institute with integrity and an unbeatable energy and enthusiasm for doing this work of charter authorizing right,” said SUNY Board Chairman Carl T. Hayden. “He has successfully navigated the Institute through challenging times, all the while continuing to seize new opportunities for moving the organization to the next level. He will be greatly missed.”

“It comes as no surprise that Leading Educators would turn to SUNY as the source for its first CEO” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “I know Jonas will bring the expertise and innovative thinking he demonstrated at the Charter Schools Institute to his new role. We will miss him and wish him all the best.”

Prior to joining the Institute, Chartock was the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Charter School Policy Institute (CSPI) in Austin, Texas, a position he held since 2005. At CSPI, Chartock led a high quality, web-based policy and research enterprise dedicated to better understanding the concept of school choice. Prior to joining CSPI, Mr. Chartock served as Executive Director of Teach For America in Houston, Texas, where he was responsible for ensuring the effectiveness of over 500 first- and second-year teachers. He began his professional career as a teacher through Teach For America in the Compton Unified School District in Compton, California.

Julie Mikuta of NewSchools Venture Fund and a board member of Leading Educators, said, “We are thrilled that Jonas will lead the expansion of Leading Educators. This innovative organization will help schools keep the strongest teachers in the field, by effectively training them to lead other teachers in their schools to produce high levels of student achievement. Jonas brings a rare combination of skills and experiences that will enable Leading Educators to serve teachers and school systems nationwide.”

“This is a most exciting and bittersweet transition,” said Chartock. “SUNY has more than earned its reputation as a national exemplar in charter authorizing and it has been my privilege to lead this dynamic organization. I hope to continue my support of the Institute and all of the wonderful people I met in my time there in my new role, dedicated to creating teacher-leaders for the benefit of all public schools.”

The National roll-out of Leading Educators is a partnership with Absolute Return for Kids, Teaching Leaders U.K., New Leaders for New Schools, NewSchools Venture Fund, and FirstLine Schools.

“I am excited to work to bring to scale a unique program that develops and retains our best teacher leaders in order to help more teachers significantly raise student achievement in their classrooms and across their schools,” explained Chartock.

Mr. Chartock is an Ed.D. candidate at the University of Texas at Austin, with an anticipated degree date of spring 2011. 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.

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