A Moment in Time. A Place in History.

Less than three weeks after the 50th anniversary of the death of President John F. Kennedy, I found myself in the same Fort Worth hotel where the President and Mrs. Kennedy slept the night before that fateful motorcade ride in Dallas.  The Kennedys’ room on the 8th floor was just one floor above where I was staying.  I couldn’t help but relive that tragic moment in time as I sat by this impressive memorial to his last days.

Today’s Hilton Fort Worth (formerly Hotel Texas) is like a museum of pictures honoring itshistoric significance.  As written in one caption:  “On the morning of November 22, 1963, after giving the final formal speech of his life in the Hotel’s Crystal Ballroom and greeting thousands of spectators who had braved both rain and the early morning hour to see him in front of the hotel, the President’s motorcade departed, taking with it the final moments of a more innocent America.”

Texas:  3rd in nation in chartering

The Texas Charter School Conference took place across the street from the historic hotel, and I was pleased to be a presenter December 13.  Nearly one-tenth of U.S. charter schools are based in Texas, placing Texas third in the nation in number of charter schools (623 campuses) according to National Alliance for Public Charter Schools 2012-2013 data.  Over 100,000 students are on waiting lists in Texas!

Thanks to Piper Jaffray & Company

 My book sponsor at the conference was Minnesota-based Piper Jaffray & Company (PJC), a national leader in facility financing for charter schools.  Facilities have been my focus as well as board vice chair of Charter Schools Development Corporation (CSDC), a leading nonprofit provider of facilities financing.  PJC has been a partner with CSDC on a variety of charter school projects, so it was a delight to spend time in the PJC booth during the conference.  In the past three years, PJC led all investment banks in number of charter school transactions completed.

I am grateful that Piper Jaffray (right) generously provided copies of my book, Zero Chance of Passage:  The Pioneering Charter School Story (copublished by CSDC) to conference attendees.  While I did sign a few books at the conference, the icy weather unfortunately delayed the arrival of the books to the last day!  Not to worry—PJC will mail a complimentary book to the attendees who left a business card with us.  If you are a charter school leader in Texas and would still like a book,  just send your contact information to ember@visi.com, and I will make sure one is mailed to you.  I believe you will find the book a useful board and staff development tool, and a helpful resource for your school library.