We are happy to share news of our 2018 Champions for Charters—an honor that dates back to 2006, when the National Alliance first began spotlighting local, state, and federal elected officials who are leading the charge to give parents and students better public school opportunities.
Nina Rees is the president and chief executive officer of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the charter school movement. Since joining the National Alliance in 2013, Nina has enhanced the organization’s stature in Washington, D.C., deepening relationships with members of both parties in Congress, multiple presidential administrations, and across the nonprofit and advocacy spaces. Over the course of her tenure, annual funding for the federal Charter Schools Program has grown from $254 million to $440 million.
Nina has also strengthened the operational health of the National Alliance. She has reshaped the board of directors to better reflect the charter school movement and build important connections with state Charter Support Organizations, leaders of Charter Management Organizations, policymakers, and educational innovators. To ensure the National Alliance’s financial sustainability, Nina has expanded relationships with donors who are passionate about improving opportunities in public education. She also regularly speaks as an authoritative voice for the charter school movement and an education policy expert on news outlets including Bloomberg, CNBC, C-SPAN, Fox News, and PBS’s NewsHour. Her articles and opinions have been published in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. In March 2021, Washingtonian Magazine named her one of Washington's most influential people.
Prior to joining the National Alliance, Nina spent 25 years shaping education policy in the public and private sectors. She served as the first Deputy Under Secretary for Innovation and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education. In this capacity, she oversaw the administration of 28 grant programs totaling $2 billion and supporting 1,300 projects. She was also responsible for spearheading innovative federal programs and policies such as school choice, charter schools, and alternative routes to teacher certification and school leadership. Before moving to the Education Department, Nina worked in the White House as Deputy Assistant for Domestic Policy to the Vice President of the United States.
As Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at Knowledge Universe, Nina guided the partnerships and expansion strategy for a leading global education company with investments in early childhood education, before- and after-school programs, and online instruction. In the 1990s, Nina was the Heritage Foundation’s senior education analyst and chief spokesperson on education. She began her career on Capitol Hill, where she worked for then-Congressman Porter Goss.
Rees serves on the board of directors of the PIE Network, the advisory committee of the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the advisory boards of Honored and the National Association of Charter School Authorizers. She is a Pahara-Aspen Fellow and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
A native of Iran who immigrated to America at the age of 14, Nina earned her undergraduate degree at Virginia Tech and a master’s degree at George Mason University. She now lives in McLean, Virginia, with her husband and daughter.
Articles, media appearances, and testimonials by Nina Rees
Glenn Youngkin's charter school plan moves past ideology, The Washington Post
COUNTERPOINT: All Charter Schools Are Public Schools, InsideSources.com
Giving Parents School Choices podcast appearance for the George W. Bush Presidential Center
The Power of Education Can Change Lives, Sunday Night in America with Trey Gowdy
NCSC21: Nina Rees Opening Remarks, 2021 National Charter Schools Conference
Taking Stock After 30 Years of Charter Schools, Education Week
Virtual learning is the right choice for some D.C. charters, The Washington Post
A constitutional right to a high-quality public education, American Enterprise Institute
Chartered Territory, National Association of Elementary School Principals
The Union War on Charter School Philanthropists, The Wall Street Journal
Interview on Fox and Friends
The Charter School Movement Needs to Fight, Keynote Speech at 2019 National Charter Schools Conference
Testimony before the House Education and Workforce Committee at a Congressional hearing on charter schools
Blog posts by Nina Rees
A Monthly Update for October from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, including a federal update, news from the states, and a research roundup.
Our Monthly Update for September 2017 provides a federal update, news from the states, and a charter school research roundup. In her note, President & CEO Nina Rees reminds us how important it is to invite policymakers to see our schools for themselves.