K-12 Education Biography
Former Minnesota State Senator Ember Reichgott Junge is author of Minnesota’s 1991 first-in-nation charter school law, a winner of the 2000 Innovations in American Government Award from Harvard University’s JFK School of Government. The 18-year legislator served as Senate Assistant Majority Leader before stepping down from publicservice in 2000.
In honor of the 20th anniversary of chartering, Reichgott Junge wrote Zero Chance of Passage: The Pioneering Charter School Story, a candid memoir of her challenging journey of pioneering the first charter school law from idea to national movement. The book has won multiple national awards, including 2013 Grand Prize Winner of Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards, and Third Grand Prize Winner for Nonfiction Books in the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards (www.ZeroChanceOfPassage.com).
Reichgott Junge is an international education policy leader and spokesperson for charter public schools, having presented in 34 states, Guam, Canada and India. She consults with K-12 education, chartering, business and philanthropy entities around the U.S. She is past founding board member of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, and current board vice chair of Maryland-based Charter Schools Development Corporation (CSDC), copublisher of Zero Chance of Passage. She was inducted into the National Charter Schools Hall of Fame in 2008, and received the Brian Bennett Education Warrior Award from Democrats for Education Reform in 2012. She served as founding board chair of Level Up Academy, a Minnesota charter school that opened in fall, 2015.
As President of Ember Communications, Inc., Reichgott Junge is a national speaker and trainer on leadership, messaging, strategic communications, and public services redesign for leaders in business, nonprofit and government sectors. In addition to public service, she draws on over twenty-five years of experience in business and nonprofit law, five years as nonprofit executive for a large human services organization, twelve years of media messaging as frequent television political analyst, former radio host, and editorial writer, and lifetime of board service, including Citizens Independent Bank, Twin Cities United Way, and Minneapolis Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Ember received her BA from St. Olaf College (Northfield, Minnesota), JD from Duke University Law School (Durham, North Carolina), and MBA from University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN). She is an avid ballroom dancer and co-founder of the nonprofit that is bringing Dancing Classrooms of Mad Hot Ballroom fame to Minnesota fifth and eighth graders. She most enjoys spending time with her husband, Michael Junge.