Chartered Schools Expand in the Tar Heel State

As a Duke Law graduate, I always love returning to North Carolina, where I had the chance to keynote the North Carolina Charter Schools Conference on July 15-16, 2013 in Greensboro, hosted by the North Carolina Public Charter Schools Association. Entitled “Crowning our Educators!” this well-attended conference illustrated the vibrant new chartering sector in North Carolina with 130 charters opening in the fall of 2013 and at least 25 more already approved for 2014. This expansion came about when the North Carolina legislature eliminated the “cap” on chartered schools several years ago.

Parents and teachers are responding with great passion! I had the chance to talk with many of them at the conference, as well as the organizations that support them. One of them is PNC Financial Services of PNC Bank, which has a long history of supporting chartered schools with their facilities financing needs, and supporting birth to five and school readiness initiatives with the wonderful work of their foundation, Grow Up Great. PNC generously sponsored my NC keynote presentation and 300 books for attendees to take home to share with others, including their school libraries. It was great fun to visit with charter school board members, teachers, and friends at the PNC booth to sign books and hear their stories. Two PNC Vice Presidents, Keith Chatterton of Institutional Investments and Jeremy Fisher of Public Finance (pictured below), joined me at the booth throughout the conference. Jeremy also was a panelist for a conference discussion on facilities financing, a great need right now in North Carolina.

Indeed, facilities development and financing brought us together, originally. I am board vice chair of Charter Schools Development Corporation (CSDC), copublisher of my book, and the leading nonprofit provider of services for financing and developing chartered schools. PNC Bank has been a long-time partner to CSDC in this effort in the eastern United States. We are all passionate that every child deserves a quality facility in which to learn! PNC’s foundation, Grow Up Great, was generous as well for its early grant to CSDC for the original costs of my book, Zero Chance of Passage.  There is no question that PNC is a financial institution with leaders and employees who have real passion for education and for helping children Grow Up Great with the tools and opportunities they need to succeed. Check it out at