Charter School Hall of Fame

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The National Alliance is proud to welcome the following distinguished inductees into the National Charter School Hall of Fame, which was established to recognize individuals and organizations for pioneering the development and growth of charter schools, implementing innovative ideas, and inspiring others in the movement.

Margaret Fortune

Margaret Fortune is President/CEO of Fortune School. In 2010, under Fortune’s leadership, the organization launched a network of K-12 public charter schools in Sacramento and San Bernardino counties with the mission to close the African American achievement gap. The network currently includes seven public charter schools with a combined enrollment of more than 1,500 students. Fortune also operates the Rex & Margaret Fortune School of Education, a graduate school that credentials teachers and school administrators for over 50 public school systems with the goal of addressing the state’s teacher shortage by producing quality, diverse teachers in high-need subject areas. The graduate school’s charter school leadership program has also been critical in developing a pipeline of strong educators in the movement. In 2017, Fortune opened an early college high school in partnership with Cosumnes River College and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo focused on science, technology, engineering, art and math. Students are able to earn a high school diploma and associate’s degree upon graduation. Fortune is a state and nationally recognized education advocate. She led the efforts that resulted in the State of California budgeting a new $300 million block grant in 2018 for the lowest-performing students. A graduate of UC Berkeley and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Fortune served as education adviser to two California governors. Fortune is a Trustee Emerita of the California State University, a Pahara-Aspen Fellow, and board chair for the California Charter Schools Association. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for her substantial contributions to the field of education.

Joe Nathan

Joe Nathan has been an inner city public school aide, teacher and administrator. Student, parent and professional groups have given him awards for his work. More than 20 state legislatures and several Congressional committees have invited him to testify. Nathan has helped write several major laws, including Post Secondary Options and the nation’s first charter public school law. He served as a local PTA president in St. Paul, and a member of the Minnesota State PTA board. He has written 2 books named “must read” by the American School Board journal, along with a third, and edited a fourth. More than 30 newspapers including Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Atlanta Constitution, and Detroit News have published guest columns he wrote.

Between 1989 and 2004 he wrote a weekly column carried by 3 of Minnesota’s 4 largest daily papers. He now writes a twice-a-month column carried regularly by about 20 suburban and rural Minnesota newspapers. It often appears on local and national websites. Nathan has appeared on more than 400 television and radio programs including “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” McNeil/Lehrer News Hour” and “All Things Considered.” He earned a B.A. from Carleton, MA and PhD from the University of Minnesota. Nathan has been married for 42 years to a recently retired St. Paul Public School teacher. The Nathan’s 3 children all attended and graduated from St. Paul Public Schools.

Fernando Zulueta

In 1997, Fernando Zulueta joined parents and community members to establish one of Florida’s first charter schools—Somerset Neighborhood School. He went on to found Academica in 1999 – a network that has grown to more than 180 charter schools serving approximately 90,000 students across the country. Academica’s schools have been recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools, ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s Best High Schools, and College Success Award winners by Great Schools. In 2005, Fernando received the “Cervantes Award” sponsored by Nova Southeastern University for his contributions toward excellence in the education of Hispanic students and in 2018 he received the American Dream Award presented by the Center for Education Reform.



  • Camino Nuevo Charter Academy 
  • IDEA Public Schools
  • Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School


  • Malcolm "Mike" Peabody
  • Caprice Young
  • Greg Richmond

Read about our 2017 honorees.


  • Bill Kurtz
  • Dr. Rod Paige
  • Kim Smith

Read about our 2016 honorees.


  • Mary Landrieu
  • Deborah McGriff
  • Nelson Smith

Read about our 2015 honorees.


  • Chester “Checker” Finn, Jr.
  • Doris & Donald Fisher Fund
  • Eva Moskowitz

Read about our 2014 honorees.


  • Lisa Graham Keegan
  • Linda Moore
  • Walton Family Foundation


  • City Academy High School
  • Jim Griffin
  • Eric Mahmoud
  • John Schroeder


  • Donald Hense
  • Joel Klein
  • Jim Peyser


  • Norman Atkins
  • James Goenner
  • John King


  • Josephine Baker
  • KIPP Charter Schools
  • Don Shalvey


  • Linda Brown
  • Yvonne Chan
  • Ember Reichgott Junge


  • Howard Fuller
  • Sonia Gutierrez
  • Ted Kolderie
  • John Walton