National Math and Science Initiative CEO and 2018 Hall of Fame Inductees Headline Day Two of National Charter Schools Conference

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Walton Family Foundation leader announces $100 Million in new grants to support diverse and innovative school models and leaders at second day of #NCSC18

Austin, TexasThe National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (National Alliance) is proud to host day two of the National Charter Schools Conference. Today’s programming includes a distinguished slate of speakers and a momentous announcement from the Walton Family Foundation.   

Dr. Bernard Harris, National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) CEO will speak about his nearly 25 years in math and science education advocacy and the importance of access to high quality education.  A veteran astronaut and Mayo Clinic-trained physician, Harris is a trailblazer and will encourage our nearly 4,700 attendees to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Harris join us today—a true icon in STEM education and the math and science field, in general,” said National Alliance CEO Nina Rees. “As the first African-American to complete a space walk, Dr. Harris is an inspiration to aspiring STEM students everywhere.”

The National Alliance is also excited to honor three schools and four school leaders as the 2018 National Charter Schools Hall of Fame inductees. This year’s honorees--Camino Nuevo Charter Academy and CEO Ana Ponce, IDEA Public Schools and Co-Founder, President and Superintendent Jo Ann Gama and CEO and Founder Tom Torkelson, and Yu Ying Public Charter School and Executive Director, Maquita Alexander—will share brief remarks about their contributions to empowering students by providing high-quality public school options.

Camino Nuevo is a small network of charter schools, IDEA Public Schools is a larger Charter Management Organization, and Yu Ying is a single-site charter school. 

And finally, the Walton Family Foundation’s K-12 Education Director Marc Sternberg will share the foundation’s strategy to build and expand on two decades of school startup grants to fuel the growth of high-quality schools across the country. In a white paper released today, Rooted in Opportunity: The Walton Family Foundation’s Approach to Starting and Growing High-Quality Schools, the foundation outlines its strategy to continue grants to proven organizations, like those that help create successful charter schools, with an expanded focus on innovative school models to meet the learning needs of all children.

In a statement released today,  Sternberg announced grants totaling more than $100 million that will allow educators and leaders to launch hundreds of schools in the coming years.

“Thanks to courageous school founders – overwhelmingly teachers who have a vision for what school can be – we know that quality schools that put children on a path to college and career success at scale are possible,” said Sternberg. “But the simple truth is that a great school remains out of reach for too many families. So we’ve got to do more – more to support educators with a passion and plan for something better, more for families who look to schools as a pathway to opportunity. And in order to build on two decades of work, we need partners old and new in philanthropy and positions of civic leadership who share a vision for the day when all children have access to a school right for them.”

To learn more about the Walton Family Foundation announcement or to hear Dr. Harris’s remarks and the Hall of Fame induction, watch live on the National Alliance’s Facebook Live feed beginning at 3:30 CST.


About Charter Public Schools
Charter public schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Since 2010, many research studies have found that students in charter schools do better in school than their traditional school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.

About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit