The Charter School Leadership Awards honor African American charter school leaders and advocates who are spearheading the movement to give parents and students high-quality public school opportunities.
In 2018, we honored eight inaugural award recipients at the #BringTheFunk award ceremony, emceed by Roland S. Martin during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference. The awards were given in partnership with The 74, Education Reform Now, Walton Family Foundation, and 100 Black Men of America, Inc.
Donald Hense, Friendship Charter Schools
Donald Hense is the founder and chairman of the board of Friendship Charter Schools, the largest group of public charter schools in the nation’s capital, serving more than 4,200 students on 11 campuses.
Margaret Fortune, Fortune School
Margaret Fortune is president and CEO of Fortune School, a network of K-12 public charter schools in Sacramento and San Bernardino counties with a mission to close the African-American achievement gap. The California network currently encompasses seven public charter schools with a combined enrollment of more than 1,700 students.
Tim King, Urban Prep Academies
Tim King is founder, president, and CEO of Urban Prep Academies, a nonprofit organization operating a network of public college-prep boys’ schools in Chicago (including the nation’s first all-male charter high school) and related programs aimed at promoting college success. One hundred percent of Urban Prep graduates — all African-American males and mostly from low-income families — have been admitted to four-year colleges or universities.
Shantelle Wright, Achievement Prep
Shantelle Wright founded Achievement Prep in 2007 as a Building Excellent Schools fellow and has led the school to be one of the top-performing schools in D.C. since its inception. She has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work in urban education.
Charlene Reid, Excellence Community Schools
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.
U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II serves as a pragmatic voice for supporting investment in innovation for the 21st century, advancing a world-class education system, and empowering hard-working families. Having served for 12 years on the City Council of Missouri’s largest municipality, Kansas City, Cleaver was elected as the city’s first African-American mayor in 1991. He is a member of the House Financial Services Committee, the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, and also a senior whip of the Democratic Caucus. During the 112th Congress, Cleaver was unanimously elected the 20th chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA)
Congressman Dwight Evans has dedicated his life to the cause of urban renewal, working tirelessly to provide economic and educational opportunity to those who too often live in the shadows, the poor and underserved. Over the course of 36 years in the Pennsylvania Legislature, Evans earned a reputation as a pragmatic leader who knows how to put public policy above politics. Evans is also the founder of the West Oak Lane Charter School in Philadelphia, the first unionized charter school in the state of Pennsylvania.
U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries represents the Eighth Congressional District of New York, an area that encompasses large parts of Brooklyn and a section of Queens. In Congress, Jeffries has emerged as a relentless advocate for social and economic justice. He has also has been a longtime supporter of quality, nonprofit public charter schools in New York. As an outspoken critic of one-size-fits-all education, Jeffries has embraced innovations that led to the educational outcomes of college matriculation and career readiness for families in his district.