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Charter Network Accelerator

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.

Charter Network Accelerator Cohort 3

Malka Borrego
Malka Borrego is the founder and chief executive officer of the Equitas Academy Charter Schools. The network was founded in 2009 and provides quality education with the mission of college graduation for all students in the Pico Union neighborhood of Los Angeles. Malka entered the teaching profession shortly after college graduation. She has worked in educational research at the UCLA Center for the Study of Evaluation (CRESST) and in the nonprofit sector at the Long Beach YMCA as the Operations Director for an after-school literacy program. She was able to continue her interest in literacy with her work at Families in Schools as the Director of Family Literacy and provided leadership as the Executive Director for The Salvation Army-Alegria, an emergency, transitional, and permanent housing program for families with HIV/AIDS. Malka entered the Building Excellent Schools Fellowship, a rigorous, year-long training program in charter school management to successfully integrate her non-profit management and teaching experience. She earned a BS in Sociology from Pomona College and an MA in Social Science from Stanford University's School of Education.

John Glover
John Glover is the Founder & CEO of Alpha Public Schools, a network of high-performing, K-12 charter schools serving students from low-income communities in East San Jose. Alpha works in partnership with families to ensure college access and college success for its students. Alpha is a leader in the field of blended and personalized learning, operates a teacher residency program to improve diversity within the teaching profession, and incorporates a strong computer science and social emotional learning component in each of its schools. It has grown from a single school serving 160 students to four schools serving 1600 students in four years.

John worked as a financial advisor before entering the field of urban, public education. He received his bachelor’s degree from Boston College and his teaching credential from the Hufstedler School of Education at Alliant International University. He serves on the board of Navigator Schools and is an American Leadership Forum Senior Fellow. John lives in San Jose with his wife, Holly, and his dog, Riley.

Shantelle Wright
Shantelle Wright founded Achievement Prep in 2007 as a Building Excellent Schools Fellow and has led the school to be one of the top performing schools in DC since its inception. Shantelle is a well-respected school leader and has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work in urban education. Prior to founding Achievement Prep, Shantelle practiced commercial real estate law for several years at a large, well-respected Washington, D.C. law firm. She is a proud “Hamptonian” and obtained her B.A. in Sociology from Hampton University. Shantelle is also a licensed attorney, having received a Juris Doctorate from The George Washington University School of Law.

Owen Stearns
Owen Stearns is the Chief Executive Officer of Excel Academy Charter Schools, where he served as founding board chair from 2003 until 2008. Excel Academy students ranked #1 in Massachusetts for seven consecutive years. Excel has three middle schools and a high school and currently serves 1,000 students.

Prior to joining Excel as CEO, Owen was a strategy consultant for twelve years, working with nonprofit leaders to achieve large-scale social change through innovative strategies, strong organizational design and nimble leadership teams. He comes to Excel directly from the Monitor Institute, where he was an Associate Partner focused largely on educational issues. Prior to Monitor, he was a Senior Consultant with the Foundation Strategy Group (now FSG). He was also an early board member and eventually the Co-Director of The City School, which develops young leaders from public, private and parochial schools through a service-learning curriculum. Owen is a graduate of Amherst College. 

Todd Dickson
Mr. Dickson came to the field of education as a second career in 2000 after successfully building a residential real estate company in Colorado, from 1995-2000. After attending Stanford for a Master’s degree in education, he taught physics for five years at the nationally acclaimed public Hillsdale High School, the private International School of Lisbon, and Summit Preparatory Charter School (Summit Prep) before taking the role of Executive Director at Summit Prep. Under his leadership, Summit Prep was named one of the top 10 Transformational Schools in the country by Newsweek.

Mr. Dickson was recruited to Nashville by Mayor Karl Dean and founded Valor Collegiate Academies in 2012.  In it’s inaugural year, Valor was the top academic school in Nashville, and it’s economically disadvantaged scholars inverted the achievement, outpacing non-ED scholars in Nashville and the State of TN.

Mr. Dickson holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Denver where he was named the Colorado Engineering Student of the Year amongst all Colorado colleges. He was also was an All-American lacrosse player and team captain. In addition, he holds a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University. When not thinking about how to transform public education, Mr. Dickson enjoys spending time with his wife of 15 years and their three young children. He also enjoys running, surfing, and watching all things Colorado sports.

Hae-Sin Kim Thomas
Hae-Sin Kim Thomas has 18 years of K-12 public education experience.  Her recent focus before joining EFCPS has been in the turnaround space - working with school districts and charter management organizations to recreate their lowest-performing schools as the CEO of urbanED solutions.  She was also the lead organizer and co-founder of Great Oakland Public Schools, an Oakland-based education advocacy group and watchdog.  Before urbanED solutions, Hae-Sin worked for the Oakland Unified School District as a teacher, principal, school developer, and executive officer.  She led a team charged with designing and leading two foundational tenets of OUSD’s nationally-recognized reform effort – creating quality school options for families in every neighborhood and ensuring high-performing, more personalized communities of learning for children.  She facilitated the design and opening of 22 new schools, replacing 18 chronically-failing schools.  A recent external evaluation of the new schools reform work in Oakland found that new schools more frequently accelerated math and English–language arts performance when compared to other district schools and that new schools significantly outperformed the schools they replaced in academic achievement, suspension rates, attendance rates, and overall student, teacher, and parent satisfaction.

Prior to that, she was the founding principal of ASCEND, one of the five original new small and autonomous schools opened in Oakland, California, a school recognized for accelerating achievement and engaging community. Ms. Thomas started teaching in Oakland through Teach for America in 1993 and continued teaching for six years before becoming a site administrator. During this time, she also worked as the Special Education school director for the Teach for America Summer Institute. She holds a B.A in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of San Francisco, and a Master’s in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard University.

Matthew Abbott
Matt Abbott is the CEO of Wayside Schools, a fast growing college preparatory public charter school serving South Austin. Over the last four school years Matt has transformed Wayside Schools from a small single campus charter school of 240 students into a multi-campus charter district serving over 2,000 students in South Austin. Under Matt’s direction, Wayside Schools is creating the only public and comprehensive International Baccalaureate (IB) college preparatory prek-12th grade education program serving the City of Austin.

Prior to joining Wayside Schools Matt most recently served as the Director of Training Services for the Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA). At TCSA, he worked to develop, direct, and manage training and technical services programs in the areas of charter school growth, law, business operations, and academic programming.

Matt holds a B.B.A. in Business Management from Saint Edward's University and a M.A. in Public Policy and Public Administration from the University of York, in the United Kingdom. He sits on the St. Edward's University School of Education Advisory Committee, is a member of TASBO, TCSA and a 2015 graduate of Leadership Austin: Essentials and received the 2015 Austin Under Forty Award (AU40) for his success in Youth and Education.

James Cryan
James is the Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Rocky Mountain Preparatory Schools (RMP). Currently, RMP operates three campuses in the metro area and serves over 800 scholars.

RMP has been the highest performing elementary school that serves majority low-income students in Denver for the past two years. James is passionate about improving the public education system in Colorado and serves as an elected member of the Denver Public Schools Collaborative Council and board treasurer for Reach out and Read Colorado. He has been named one of Denver’s “Public Education Game-Changers” and was selected as a member of the 2015 Leadership Denver program.

Prior to his work at RMP, James received his MBA from the University of Denver, was a member of Teach for America and graduated magna cum laude from Colby College.

Emilio Pack
Emilio Pack’s two decades of experience in public education inform his belief that by investing in educators as leaders and giving them the site-level autonomy to put student needs first, we can achieve systemic reform and change.

After helping to launch, staff, and lead charters for the Alliance College-Ready Public schools, including LA’s third-ranked top-performing public high school, he founded his own high school, Math and Science College Prep. He now leads STEM Prep, a charter management network that oversees a first-of-its-kind partnership between a traditional district elementary school, and recently merged charter middle and high school. In this role, he leverages strategic community, district, and cross-network charter partnerships to increase proficiency, graduation, and college acceptance rates for students of color, while focusing on reversing the under-representation of minorities in STEM-related fields.

In 2015, Emilio Pack was profiled by L.A. Weekly Magazine as one of its People of the Year. The Los Angeles Business Journal also awarded STEM Prep the Latino Nonprofit of the Year in 2015.

Cohort 1

More information about the members of the first cohort of the Charter Network Accelerator can be found here.

Cohort 2

More information about the members of the first cohort of the Charter Network Accelerator can be found here.

Contact Us

For more information, please email us at charteraccelerator@achievementfirst.org.