The Charter Network Accelerator is an intensive cohort-based training program for charter management organization (CMO) leaders that draws on the tools, practices and lessons learned from high-performing CMOs with the goal of dramatically increasing the number of top-quality seats for students across the country. Achievement First, YES Prep and Aspire Public Schools are partnering to lead this project. For more information, please read our overview and recent press release.
Charles A. Tindley Accelerated Schools
Marcus Robinson is the chancellor and chief executive officer of EdPower, a non-profit organization that operates the Tindley Charter Network (a network of high-performing Accelerated Schools) and a Turnaround School Academy (Arlington High School) in Indianapolis.
Mr. Robinson spent several years in college admissions, first assisting and then leading campus-wide efforts to diversify two selective liberal arts colleges in the Midwest. Realizing that he was often meeting students too late to help them prepare and get accepted to college, Mr. Robinson returned to the classroom as a teacher at the middle and high school levels in both public and private institutions. He has written curriculum, piloted innovative instructional programs and worked diligently to improve the academic progress of students. Mr. Robinson completed the Experiential Program for Preparing School Principals at Butler University. The Tindley Schools are among the most successful in Indiana, and EdPower’s Turnaround School Academy is making significant academic progress. In addition to his work at EdPower, Mr. Robinson is a consultant on issues concerning school reform, school culture and school administration.
Benjamin Marcovitz is the founder of Sci Academy and the chief executive officer of Collegiate Academies. Mr. Marcovitz began design of Sci Academy in 2007 during his participation in New Schools for New Orleans' incubation program for high-impact charter school founders. Since its opening, Sci Academy has led the district and often outperformed the state in high school performance. This success prompted the creation of the Collegiate Academies network to replicate the Sci Academy model of open-enrollment, college preparatory high schools. Today, Collegiate Academies operates three high schools in New Orleans and serves 890 students. Mr. Marcovitz has taught in New Orleans, Washington, DC, and Boston, MA. He holds a B.A. from Yale University and an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In addition to his work at Collegiate Academies, Mr. Marcovitz serves on the faculty of Leading Educators, and presents on organizational leadership with Future Leaders in the United Kingdom, as well as the Newark Charter School Fund and various charter networks in New Orleans and nationally. In 2013, Mr. Marcovitz was one of three principals to receive the inaugural Ryan Award from the Accelerate Institute in Chicago, which honors principals who have demonstrated accelerated results in underserved school environments over the last three years.
Jay Altman is the chief executive officer of FirstLine Schools, a non-profit organization whose mission is to create and inspire great public schools in New Orleans. FirstLine Schools directly operates charter schools (independent state schools), focusing on turning around failing schools. He is also the founder and board chair of Leading Educators, a professional development program for teacher-leaders working to create high performing open admissions urban schools by partnering with schools and districts in five regions across the United States. From 2005 to 2008, Mr. Altman worked in London as director of education for ARK Schools, developing a network of academies (independent state schools) and helping develop training programs for leaders of open admissions urban schools including Future Leaders, a program for aspiring principals of urban schools, and Teaching Leaders, a program for mid-level school leaders. Prior to this, he was a co-founder and a school leader of New Orleans Charter Middle School, the first charter school in New Orleans.
Harvest Network of Schools
Eric Mahmoud is the chief executive officer of the Harvest Network of Schools, which includes Seed Academy, Harvest Preparatory School, Best Academy and Mastery School. He is an educational expert and author with over 25 years of experience in educational administration.
Mr. Mahmoud was inducted into the National Charter School Hall of Fame in 2012. His schools, Harvest Preparatory School and Best Academy, are two nationally recognized schools that are featured, (along with Mastery School) in Soledad O'Brien's series Black in America 6. In 2013, Best Academy was the recipient of the National School Award from the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC) for being one of the top five schools in the country educating boys of color. In 2011 and 2012, Harvest Preparatory School was ranked as the number one "Beating the Odds" school in the state of Minnesota for its performance in reading and math. In 2012, Mr. Mahmoud received the University of Minnesota Dean's Outstanding Achievement Award, and Harvest Preparatory School and Best Academy received the Minnesota Business Partnership's Minnesota Futures Award, which is given to the top two schools in the state of Minnesota.
Mr. Mahmoud has co-authored (with Jeffrey Hassan) the book “Best in Class: How We Closed the 5 Gaps of Academic Achievement.” This new book reveals how Eric and Ella Mahmoud grew from leading 10 children in their inner-city home daycare in north Minneapolis to creating a nationally recognized network of schools serving over 1,200 students. The book provides the reader a view of what's possible when adults believe in children and are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that they are successful.
Mr. Mahmoud has been married to Dr. Ella Mahmoud for the past 27 years, and they have four children. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering. His commitment to academic excellence is reflected in his passionate pursuit of policies and programs that support teachers, empower parents and inspire students. He believes, fundamentally, that all children deserve, and must receive, a high-quality education.
LEAD Public Schools
Chris Reynolds is originally from Knoxville, Tenn. He earned a B.S. from the University of Tennessee and an M.B.A from the University of Michigan. Mr. Reynolds received his C.P.A license in Georgia in 1992, and has taught accounting and auditing at the college level. His most memorable teaching experience was the two years he spent teaching eighth grade in Leesville, La. as an early member of Teach For America. Previously, he was the chief financial officer and director of network development of the Henry Ford Learning Institute, a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Ford Motor Company funded charter management organization that created a network of four charter high schools in Detroit, Chicago, and San Antonio, including two facilities renovations (over 200,000 total sq. ft.) that earned LEED Gold and Platinum designations. His corporate experience includes six years as the CFO for Zingerman's Community of Businesses, the nationally renowned specialty food organization based in Ann Arbor, Mich., as well as a variety of consulting engagements with entrepreneurs, charter schools, and nonprofit organizations. He and his wife, Gwen, have two sons, Marcus and Nathan.
Lesley Esters Redwine is the chief executive officer of InspirEd Education, a charter management organization in Detroit. InspirEd Education is a non-profit charter school management organization that is creating a network of achievement gap- closing public schools in Detroit, Michigan. In 2005 Ms. Redwine joined Achievement First. As vice president of external relations, Ms. Redwine was a valued senior leader and visible spokesperson for the organization, managing new school and site development, authorizer relations and compliance, student admissions, governance, legislative relations, and parent advocacy for Achievement First’s Brooklyn geography. Previously, Ms. Redwine served as president and CEO of the New York Chapter of the Black Alliance for Educational Options. Prior to BAEO, Ms. Redwine served as a project director at Agenda for Children Tomorrow (ACT), a multi-million dollar community-collaborative project in the South Bronx. In 2000, Ms. Redwine was selected to the National Urban Fellows, where she served as special assistant to a member of the former New York City Board of Education. She has also served as a policy analyst at The After School Corporation and an adjunct professor in nonprofit management at City College in New York City. Ms. Redwine is also an attorney, and formerly worked at Lewis & Munday, P.C. and in a private criminal defense practice. Since returning to Detroit, Ms. Redwine has been awarded Crain Communication’s 40 under 40 award and is a member of Leadership Detroit, Class XXXIV. Ms. Redwine grew up in northwest Detroit and attended Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School’s Math Science and Applied Technology (M.S.A.T.) program. She earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan, a J.D. from University of Detroit Mercy and an M.P.S from Baruch College's School of Public Affairs. Ms. Redwine's greatest joy is her family which includes her daughter, Ellison and husband, Eric.
A proud product of the New York City public school system, Ian Rowe is a social entrepreneur and leader who has worked for more than 20 years in the public, private and nonprofit sectors to effect positive change in the lives of young people worldwide.
As chief executive officer of Public Prep, he provides the strategic direction for the network of single-sex elementary and middle public schools that are determined to put their students on a predictive path to earn a degree from a four-year university. Prior to Public Prep, Mr. Rowe was the deputy director of postsecondary success at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where he worked to increase college completion rates among low-income young adults. Prior to his work at Gates, Mr. Rowe worked for MTV as the senior vice president of strategic partnerships & public affairs. There, he helped develop global and domestic campaigns, such as “Get Schooled,” which used the power of media and popular culture to motivate young people to graduate from high school and go to—and succeed in—college.
Prior to working at MTV, Mr. Rowe worked as the director of strategy and performance measurement at The White House USA Freedom Corps office, which formed after September 11th to encourage every American to make a lifetime commitment in service of others. He was also a part of Teach For America in its early days, where he helped develop a comprehensive portfolio model of assessment that measured teacher effectiveness as a function of gains in student achievement.
Mr. Rowe graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School before earning a B.S. in computer science engineering from Cornell University and an M.B.A from Harvard Business School. He is an Echoing Green Fellow and a Harvard Initiative for Social Enterprise Fellow. Mr. Rowe is a member of the Board of Advisors for the Harlem Children’s Zone Asthma Initiative, a founding board member of the NYC Special Education Collaborative, a current member of the Harvard Graduate School of Education Visiting Committee and a founding board member of Malaria No More.
Lars Beck is the founder and chief executive officer of Scholar Academies, a charter management organization that focuses its work on the turnaround of low-performing schools. Launched in 2010, Scholar Academies currently educates 2,700 students across six schools in Philadelphia, Pa., Washington, D.C. and Trenton, N.J., and has been approved to open a cluster of Memphis schools in 2015 as part of Tennessee’s Achievement School District. From 2005-2010, Mr. Beck served as the chief executive officer of Scholar Academies’ flagship school, Young Scholars Charter School. During this time, he directed the efforts that turned Young Scholars from a struggling academic program into Philadelphia’s highest performing charter middle school for five years running.
Prior to his work in education, Mr. Beck spent more than 10 years working in the publishing, brand marketing and sports marketing industries. During this time, Mr. Beck founded the Boulder, Colo. chapter of Stand Up For Kids, a national non-profit that supports homeless youth. Currently, he serves on the boards of the Philadelphia Outward Bound School and Philadelphia Charters for Excellence. A graduate of Duke University, Mr. Beck and his wife, Kathryn, live in the Philadelphia area with their two children, Colin and Bjorn.
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