National Alliance to Award Inaugural #BringTheFunk Charter School Leadership Awards

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WASHINGTON, D.C.- On Thursday, September 13, 2018, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools will honor seven African American individuals who have distinguished themselves as exemplary leaders and trailblazers within the public charter school movement.

The honorees will be recognized at the inaugural #BringTheFunk charter school awards ceremony in conjunction with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 48th Annual Legislative Conference.

The award is sponsored by The 74, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Walton Family Foundation, #RolandMartinUnfiltered Daily Digital Show, 100 Black Men of America, Inc., and Education Reform Now. The event will be hosted by host, author, and analyst Roland S. Martin.

“We are proud to honor these African American leaders because they represent both the present and future success of the charter school movement in the 21st century,” said Ron Rice, Senior Director of Government Relations at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “These men and women illustrate daily how leaders thinking and working ‘outside of the box’ transform the lives of students.”

  • Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO) 
    Congressman Cleaver is a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus who serves as a pragmatic voice for supporting innovation in education to close the achievement gap.
  • Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA)
    Congressman Evans is a founder of the West Oak Lane Charter School in Philadelphia, the first unionized charter in the state of Pennsylvania.
  • Margaret Fortune: Fortune School
    For ten years, Margaret has served as the president and CEO of Fortune School of Education, and she continues to expand upon its model of African American student excellence.
  • Donald Hense: Friendship Charter Schools
    Donald is the founder and chairman of the board of Friendship Public Charter Schools (Friendship) in D.C. Friendship is one of D.C.’s largest and highest-performing charter school networks.
  • Tim King: Urban Prep Academies
    Tim is founder, president and CEO of Urban Prep Academies, a nonprofit organization operating a network of public charter college-prep schools for boys in Chicago, including the nation’s first all-male charter high school.
  • Dr. Charlene Reid: Excellence Community Schools
    Charlene’s schools teach 1,420 students across six campuses in two states and have received the National Blue Ribbon award.
  • Shantelle Wright: Achievement Preparatory Academy
    Founder of Achievement Preparatory Academy, Shantelle led the school to be one of the top performing schools in D.C. while its location remains in one of the most under-resourced neighborhoods in the city.

The congressional awardees were selected based on their federal support and commitment to high-quality, high-performing public charter schools within their communities. The African American charter school leader awardees were selected based on their demonstrated leadership, their commitment to the cities they serve and their school’s academic results and progress in closing the achievement gap. These standard bearers are prolific leaders advocating for charter school students across the nation.

About Public Charter Schools
Charter  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