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.
Two Rivers Public Charter Schools
Jessica Wodatch is a founder and executive director of Two Rivers Public Charter School, one of the highest performing and most in-demand charter schools in Washington, D.C. An expeditionary learning school, Two Rivers serves students in preschool through eighth-grade, and will expand to add an additional elementary campus in 2015. Two Rivers’ nationally recognized, high-quality professional development was featured in the book “Data Wise in Action” and its excellent teaching staff and deeper learning model were recently celebrated in the Education Week article, “Is Intellectual Courage the Key to Great Teaching?”
Prior to her work as the founding principal of Two Rivers, Ms. Wodatch served as a school leader at two special education schools in D.C. as well as a researcher with Policy Studies Associates. She began her career as a third0grade teacher in the Bronx through Teach for America. She serves on the boards of Friends of Choice in Urban Schools (FOCUS) and the Alliance of Securities and Financial Educators (ASAFE). Ms. Wodatch was also appointed to the Mayor’s Bullying Prevention Task Force and is a guest lecturer at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Macalester College and a master’s degree in education administration from George Washington University. Ms. Wodatch was awarded the Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Scholarship in 2012 and was recently named a finalist for Expeditionary Learning’s Silverberg Leadership Award.
Brooklyn Prospect Charter Schools
Daniel Kikuji Rubenstein is the co-founder and Executive Director of Brooklyn Prospect Charter School. Since its opening in 2009, Brooklyn Prospect has been dedicated to excellent teaching, the International Baccalaureate Program, and succeeding with students who sit side by side with classmates from radically different backgrounds.
In addition to his work at Brooklyn Prospect, Mr. Rubenstein has been instrumental in forming the National Coalition of Diverse Charter Schools, a coalition of over 30 charter organizations and advisors dedicated to creating successful integrated public choice schools. An educator since 1992, he served in various teaching and administrative roles at Collegiate School in New York, SEED Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., and School Year Abroad in Beijing. In 2002, Mr. Rubenstein received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching for his work at SEED. His work in charter schools has been documented in USA Today, Education Next, ABC’s Nightline and PBS’ Life 360. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Hamilton College, and master’s degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University and St. John’s College.
Milwaukee College Prep
Robert Rauh is the CEO and former founding principal of Milwaukee College Prep. During his tenure at Milwaukee College Prep, it has grown from a small, one-campus organization to more 1,800 students at four campuses in Milwaukee.
Mr. Rauh began his teaching career as a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, teaching at a school in West Los Angeles. He then served as a middle school teacher, athletic director and head basketball coach at his alma mater, Brookfield Academy, for six years. He also previously served as the principal of Urban Day School, then the largest school participating in the Milwaukee Parental Choice (voucher) program.A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Mr. Rauh earned his master’s degree in education leadership through the Klingenstein Fellowship at Teachers College, Columbia University. He also serves on the boards of Schools That Can Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Charter School Advocates and City Year Milwaukee.
Stacey Shells is the founder and CEO of ReGeneration Schools, a charter management organization with a mission to create strong college-prep and performance arts schools. ReGeneration currently serves 1,500 students in grades K-8 across three campuses on the South Side of Chicago. Over the past two years of turnaround, ReGeneration has increased state test scores 10 percentage points in ELA and 17 percentage points in math despite an over-20 point drop statewide since introduction of the Common Core.
Prior to her work at ReGeneration, Ms. Shells was the managing director for Victory Education Partners in Chicago. She also served as a principal with Uncommon Schools, where she opened two charter schools in Rochester, N.Y. Under Ms. Shells’ leadership, her founding cohort of students at Rochester Prep ranked sixth in the state of New York for English Language Arts in 2008. Ms. Shells earned a bachelor’s degree from Hampton University, a master degree from Johns Hopkins University and master’s degree from Pace University. She is an alumna member of Teach For America, and her work in urban education has been featured in the books “Teach Like a Champion” by Doug Lemov, and “Leverage Leadership” by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo.
Roblin Webb, founder and chief executive officer of Freedom Preparatory Academy Charter Schools. Ms. Webb founded Freedom Prep in the fall of 2009 with a class of approximately 100 sixth- graders. Freedom Prep has now grown to three schools serving almost 700 elementary, middle and high school students.
As a practicing education lawyer for a city school district, she began her work in pursuit of educational equality and opportunity. Through her legal work, she became determined to find a way to make a deeper impact and see real progress towards her vision for the children of Memphis. Ms. Webb also served as deputy director with New Leaders for New Schools. There, she recruited educators to become school leaders and created community partnerships. Ms. Webb’s goal is to measurably and dramatically close the achievement gap in Memphis between black and white and rich and poor. Ms. Webb graduated from Rhodes College with a bachelor’s degree in urban studies. She earned her J.D. and master’s degree in politics and public affairs from Rutgers University.
Eli Kramer is the executive director of Hiawatha Academies, a network of K-12 charter schools in south Minneapolis. Hiawatha Academies currently has four schools with more than 1,000 students. Its mission is to prepare all its students with the knowledge, character and leadership skills to graduate from college and serve the common good. Mr. Kramer has been the executive director of Hiawatha Academies since 2012. During that time, the size of the network has roughly tripled in size. The schools have consistently received awards and recognition for their results in reversing educational inequity in Minneapolis from the Star Tribune, the Minnesota Department of Education, and the Minnesota Business Partnership.
Mr. Kramer started his work in education through Teach for America, as a teacher in the Bronx in 2003. After six years of teaching in district elementary and middle schools in New York City, he joined Uncommon Schools as a founding dean of curriculum and instruction. He then returned home to Minneapolis and worked with both Hiawatha Academies and the Harvest Network of Schools as a leadership consultant. Mr. Kramer holds a bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard University, a master's degree in education from Bank Street College, and an advanced degree in educational leadership from Brooklyn College.
Margaret Fortune is the president and CEO of Fortune School. Under Ms. Fortune’s leadership, the organization launched a network of public charter schools located in California’s Sacramento and San Bernardino counties. The K-12 school system is focused on closing the achievement gap by preparing students for college starting in kindergarten. The network currently includes five schools (four K-8 campuses and one 6-8 middle school) with combined enrollment of more than 1,250 students, and it has approval to open six more schools. Fortune also operates a graduate school of education, credentialing teachers and school administrators with a focus on charter school leadership, called Fortune School of Education.
A graduate of University of California, Berkeley and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Ms. Fortune served as an education advisor to two California governors. She broke new ground in 2003 when she turned around Sacramento High School, changing the 1,600 student campus into a charter school. The college-going rate has increased from 20 percent before the reform to more than 80 percent today. Ms. Fortune currently serves as a trustee of California State University and is a member of the board of directors for the California Charter Schools Association. Ms. Fortune is also a Pahara-Aspen Fellow and a member of the first emerging CMO cohort through the Charter School Growth Fund.
Voices College-Bound Language Academy
Frances Teso is the CEO, executive director and founder of Voices College-Bound Language Academy located in San Jose, Calif. Voices is a K-8 dual immersion public charter school serving historically underserved students. Voices has outperformed nearby county district schools, closed the achievement gap for English Language Learner and Hispanic students, and stands as one of the top three highest-performing dual-language schools in California. The flagship school’s success led to the 2014 transition into the Voices College-Bound Language Academies Charter Management Organization. In a short time, Ms. Teso has been able to raise close $1 million to support the growth of the organization and the simultaneous opening of two new charter schools this fall.
Ms. Teso holds a bachelor of science in child development and a master’s of elementary education from San Jose State University. Her graduate work focused on stg the effects of language, culture and society on schooling. In particular, her research examined a new transformational model for staff development. Ms. Teso is a National Board Certified Teacher, and in 2005 she was accepted into the prestigious New Leaders for New Schools principal training program. She has worked as a university instructor, principal coach, school administrator, instructional facilitator and dual immersion teacher
More information about the members of the first cohort of the Charter Network Accelerator can be found here.
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