Charter School Trailblazers

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For more than 25 years, education’s most innovative community leaders, and principals have gone above and beyond to meet the needs of children in their community. The charter school supporters, coming from diverse racial, socio-economic, and political backgrounds, are united by their shared belief in the life-changing an excellent public education has on all children. Take a moment to meet those whom have paved the way for the charter school movement.

2018 Charter Schools Hall of Fame Awardee

Maquita Alexander is the executive director at Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School (Yu Ying), the only Chinese Immersion, International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program school in Washington D.C. Yu Ying is a high performing, inquiry based school with a highly diverse student body opened in the fall of 2008. Under Ms. Alexander’s leadership, Yu Ying has become one of the most sought after schools in the District of Columbia with its standardized test scores in the among the highest in the city.

2018 Rising Champion for Charters

Congressman Adriano Espaillat of New York, a member of the US. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, was recognized with the inaugural Rising Champion for Charters in 2018. Congressman Espaillat was a proponent of more charter school funding in Fiscal Year 2018 negotiations, culminating in $400 million for Charter School Program funding. He has many charter schools in his district and understands firsthand how these schools can serve as a lifeline to students who need them most.

U.S. Congressman Adriano Espaillat

2018 #BringTheFunk Charter School Leadership Awardee

Dr. Charlene Reid is the CEO of Excellence Community Schools, a charter management organization with schools in the Bronx, New York, and Stamford, Connecticut. Bronx Charter School for Excellence was subsequently recognized as the highest-performing K-8 non-magnet public school in New York state and, in 2012, was named a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education.


Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker is the former chief of staff to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He helped organize the 1963 “March on Washington,” and the 1963 protests in Birmingham, Ala., which led to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. His concern for educational excellence as a continuation of his civil rights activism led him to advocate for a charter school in the Harlem community, where he co-founded the Sisulu-Walker Charter School of Harlem, the first charter school in New York approved by the State University of New York.