We are thrilled to announce the 2017 Champions for Charters during our National Charter Schools Week celebrations!
Each year, we recognize the local, state, and federal elected officials who lead the charge to give parents and students better public schools and the freedom to choose the school that works best for them. We are honoring a record-breaking 19 charter champions in 2017 – a true indicator that support for the charter school movement is stronger than ever.
State Representative Dan Burke, Illinois
Representative Dan Burke, Illinois has been a champion for the Illinois charter school community for years. He understands that the funding charter public schools receive is inequitable compared to district-managed schools and has advocated to address these systematic inequities for the seven charter schools and 4,623 charter school students in his district.
Governor Matt Bevin signed HB 520, Kentucky’s charter school legislation, into law, making Kentucky the 44th state to give students in need access to charter schools.
State Representative John Carney, Kentucky
As House Education Chairman and the primary bill sponsor of HB 520, Representative Bam Carney worked tirelessly to pass Kentucky’s charter school law in 2017.
State Senator David Givens, Kentucky
As Senate President Pro-Tempore, Senator David Givens successfully led the passage of Kentucky’s charter school bill through the Senate in 2017.
State Representative and Speaker of the House Jeff Hoover, Kentucky
As Speaker of the House, Representative Jeff Hoover supported the passage of Kentucky’s charter school bill.
State Representative Phil Moffett, Kentucky
Representative Phil Moffett has been one of Kentucky’s long-time champion of charter schools, as both a successful businessman, philanthropist, and lawmaker.
State Representative Jonathan Shell, Kentucky
As House Majority Leader, Representative Jonathan Shell helped lead the passage of Kentucky’s 2017 charter school bill through the Kentucky House.
State Senator Stephen West, Kentucky
As a long-time supporter of charter schools, Senator Steve West was a co-sponsor of Kentucky’s 2017 charter school bill.
State Senator Mike Wilson, Kentucky
For many years, Senator Mike Wilson sponsored and passed charter school legislation through the Senate. He was a co-sponsor of the 2017 charter school bill that passed into law.
State Representative Jonathan Windy Boy, Montana
State Representative Johnathan Windy Boy has served in the Montana legislature for 15 years. Rep. Windy Boy is a member of the Chippewa Cree tribe and sees charter schools as a way to create better educational opportunities for students living on and near reservations. In 2017, he introduced legislation to create an independent statewide authorizer for charter schools, which at the time of our awards ceremony has passed the House and is awaiting action in the Senate.
State Assemblyman Troy Singleton, New Jersey
Assemblyman Troy Singleton sits on the New Jersey legislature’s education and budget committees. As an outspoken supporter of quality schools for all children, he does not differentiate between public delivery systems. Assemblyman Singleton deserves this award for his work, not only on behalf of public school options, but because he champions the idea that a great education can be one’s passport to the future.
U.S. Senator Cory Booker, New Jersey
Senator Cory Booker has advocated for charter schools dating back to his time on the Newark, City Council. As a U.S. Senator, he has supported the expansion of high-quality charter public schools, encouraged foundational and private investment to support district public schools, and refuses to allow mediocrity in the education systems created for our children.
U.S. Representative Tom Cole, Oklahoma
As chairman of the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee, Representative Tom Cole has gone above and beyond to make sure that federal funding for charter school creation, replication and expansion meets the growing demands of families who want better schools for their children.
Senator Anthony Williams has served in the Pennsylvania state Senate for nearly 20 years, following a ten-year career in the state House. During his time in office, he helped craft Pennsylvania’s original charter school law and has advanced the interests of charter school students and families.
Mayor James Diossa, Rhode Island
Mayor James Diossa of Central Falls, RI has made education a priority throughout his time on the Central Falls City Council and in the mayor’s office. He is a steadfast supporter of charter schools and in addition to his full-time duties at city hall, Mayor Diossa is the Chair of Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy Charter School.
U.S. Senator Tim Scott, South Carolina
As a member of the Health, Labor, Education and Labor committee, Senator Tim Scott has consistently supported school choice for families in South Carolina and around the nation. Having experienced a lack of educational option growing up, Senator Scott is passionate about school choice and advocates for charter schools in federal legislation.
State Delegate R. Steve Landes, Virginia
Chairman of the House of Delegates Education Committee, Del. Landes was a longtime supporter of charter schools and in 2017 became a patron for the charter school bill in Virginia. Del. Landes' steady leadership to gain passage through committee and the House floor was critical to the bill's success.
State Senator Mark D. Obenshain, Virginia
A longtime advocate for charter school expansion in Virginia, Senator Mark Obenshain is a relentless leader and advocate for improving his state’s charter school law. As charter school legislation moved through the assembly in 2017, Sen. Obenshain worked his caucus tirelessly, ultimately securing the 21 votes needed to pass the Senate.
State Senator J. Chapman Petersen, Virginia
A supporter of charter schools in his private practice, Senator Chap Petersen broke with his caucus as the only Democratic Senator to vote for the 2017 charter school bill. With two Republicans voting no, Sen. Petersen's vote was the critical 21st vote needed to pass the bill through the Virginia Senate.