What a grand celebration of 20 years of education reform in Washington D. C. on October 9! It was a reunion of pioneers in education reform and chartering from all over the country. Hosted by Center for Education Reform (CER), a day-long conference was followed by a world-class Gala that also celebrated the leadership of Founder Jeanne Allen who is retiring November 1. Jeanne’s legacy is her commitment to developing so many new “ed reformie” pioneers around the country. She is pictured to the left with board member Kevin Chavous. I was delighted that pioneer Deborah McGriff (right) received one of the special “Ed Reformie” awards from Rep. Alisha Thomas-Morgan of Georgia. And how great to reconnect with fellow members of the National Charter Schools Hall of Fame, Lisa Graham Keegan of Arizona and Yvonne Chan of California (below).
I attended the celebration with my colleagues from Charter Schools Development Corporation (L to R): Vice President Rebecca Secrist, Executive Vice President Michelle Liberati, CEO Al Dubin, and Board member and Hall of Famer Jim Goenner. CSDC is the leading nonprofit provider of financing and development services for charter school facilities, and I’m pleased to serve as Vice Chair of the board. CSDC is also copublisher of my book, Zero Chance of Passage.
The gentleman to my right is Jon Hage, Founder and CEO of Charter Schools USA, who invited me to join him at his table at the Gala. I was seated next to his friend, Frank Biden, President of Mavericks High, a charter school group in Florida. You can imagine how quickly our conversation turned to politics during the ongoing government shutdown…and the involvement of his brother, Vice President Joe Biden!
Education Reform is hard work. The road to reform is rocky. What fun to celebrate how far we’ve come, with people from all over the country representing all political philosophies. This was a ballroom full of inspiring people taking an extraordinary stand for change. What a night!