Charter Schools USA: Putting Students First

That theme came through loud and clear at the Charter Schools USA Summit August 9 in Orlando, Florida, where I had the honor of presenting the pioneering charter school story. Imagine 3,500 educators sitting by school at tables in a gigantic conference exhibit hall in Orlando. Imagine them being connected by television simulcast with 500 more educators in Chicago. And imagine a day filled with inspiration, recognition, and success stories from their students that made every teacher in those rooms feel like the hero he or she is.


A rousing school “roll call” of those educating over 50,000 students in 57 schools across seven states

A message from Dr. Steve Perry, Keynote speaker: “If the children are not learning, it’s because you aren’t teaching them…..You are the person who can make a child love himself….What you do today in your class does matter…true teachers have the ability to take the kids to places they fear and you fear….”

A laser focus on four priorities to accomplish mission: 1) Focus on the Fundamentals, 2) Build the Team, 3) Drive Towards the Goal, 4) Make a Difference (and tweet them to the world!)

An honored “New American Hero” from each CSUSA school, and multiple nominees for “New Educator of the Year”

A new school in disaster-torn Haiti supported by The Giving Tree

A founder and CEO like Jon Hage who is “Floridian of the Year” to his peers and “Duck Commander” to his team (pictured below)

Founded in 1997, CSUSA is one of the largest and fastest-growing education management companies in the nation, with a record of outstanding results with all students, particularly low-income and minority students. That does not surprise. If you invest in dedicated educators to encourage them to be the leaders they are, their students will excel. It was a remarkable day. What a joy to share this celebration of chartering and all it can be!