Largest-Ever Convening of Diverse Charter School Leaders Comes to Capitol Hill

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools kicks off its fourth annual School Leaders of Color (SLOC) Capitol Hill Action Initiative. This largest-ever convening of Black, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American charter school leaders who lead high-performing, high-quality schools are in Washington to demand continued funding to meet parental demand for the growth of charter schools across the nation, and to spotlight how the charter school model is closing the achievement gap.

“It is critical for Congress to hear directly from the charter school leaders who are on the ground every day making a high-quality public education a reality for all students,” said National Alliance President and CEO Nina Rees. “We know charter schools are serving diverse students exceptionally well. According to Stanford University’s CREDO, Black students in urban charter schools gained 36 additional days of learning in math and 26 additional days of learning in reading per year as compared to their district school peers. And for Hispanic students, charter schools generate learning growth equivalent to 22 extra days in math and 6 extra days in reading annually. For low-income Hispanic students, these numbers rise to 48 extra days in math and 25 extra days in reading. The SLOC gathering is an essential opportunity for our nation’s leaders to hear how school leaders of color are leveraging the charter school model to meet the needs of students in their communities who have been underserved for decades.”

Today, this cohort of nearly 50 charter school leaders from 18 states will convene to discuss best leadership practices through engagement with leaders from across the country and strategies for advocacy and will end the day with a reception at the Capitol Visitor Center with members of Congress, the media, and education advocates. Tomorrow, they will return to Capitol Hill to meet with their respective members of Congress, congressional, caucus, committee leadership and their staff to advocate for public charter schools.

This year’s cohort includes the following participants:

  • Maquita Alexander - Executive Director, Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School, Washington, D.C.
  • Alicia Alvarez – Principal, Alta Vista High School, Tucson, AZ
  • Daniela Anello - Head of School, D.C. Bilingual Public Charter School, Washington, D.C.
  • Mashea Ashton - Founder and CEO, Digital Pioneers Academy, Washington, D.C.
  • Eric Anderson – Executive Director, Sussex Academy, Georgetown, DE
  • Raymond Ankrum, Sr. – Principal and Executive Director, Riverhead Charter School, Calverton, NY
  • Troy Boyd – Director of Advancement, Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men, Chicago, IL
  • LaKendra Butler – School Leader and Founder, STRIVE Collegiate Academy, Nashville, TN
  • Dr. Latrisha Chattin – Director, Susie King Taylor Community School, Savannah, GA
  • Sarah Davis – Middle School Humanities Teacher, Resurgence Hall Charter School, College Park, GA
  • Freddy Delgado – Superintendent/Principal, Amigos Por Vida (Friends for Life) Public Charter School, Houston, TX
  • Sharif El-Mekki – Principal, Mastery Charter School-Shoemaker Campus, Philadelphia, PA
  • John Esa – Board President, Redmond Proficiency Academy, Redmond, OR
  • Dr. Narciso Garcia – Superintendent, Vanguard Academy Charter School, Pharr, TX 
  • Balty Garcia – Director, Mexicayotl Academy, Nogales, AZ
  • Nicole Goodman – Principal, Scuola Vita Nuova Charter School, Kansas City, MO
  • Amanda Johnson – Executive Director, Clarksdale Collegiate, Clarksdale, MS
  • Tish Johnson – Managing Director, External Relations and Communications, BRICK Academy, Newark, NJ
  • Rafiq Kalam Id-Din – Founder and Managing Partner, Ember Charter School for Mindful Education, Innovation and Transformation, New York, NY
  • Dr. Frances Kellar – Director of New Teacher Support, Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, Los Angeles, CA
  • Dominique Lee – Founder and Chief Executive Officer, BRICK Academy, Newark, NJ
  • Tysie McDowell-Ray – Co-Founder and Chief Academic Officer, Crossroads Charter Schools, Kansas City, MO
  • Jamar McKneely – Chief Executive Officer, InspireNOLA Charter Schools, New Orleans, LA
  • Emilio Pack – CEO, STEM Preparatory School, Los Angeles, CA
  • Onya Parker – Family Engagement Coordinator, Purpose Preparatory Academy, Nashville, TN
  • Luis Perales – Chief Executive Officer / Change Leader, Changemaker High School, Tucson, AZ
  • Quentin Phipps – State Representative and Director of Advocacy, Excellence Community Schools, Middletown, CT
  • Kristine Rivera – Director of Family and Community Engagement, Excellence Community Schools, New York, NY
  • Dr. B. Charvez Russell – Executive Director, Friendship Academy of the Arts, Minneapolis, MN
  • Robert Spencer Vice President of Schools, Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, Los Angeles, CA
  • John Taylor – Executive Director, Booker T. Washington Academy, New Haven, CT
  • Maurice Thomas – Founder and Executive Director, Milwaukee Excellence, Milwaukee, WI
  • Tikoya Tipton – Dean of Scholars, Purpose Preparatory Academy, Nashville, TN
  • Doron Townsell – Partner, EMBER Charter School for Mindful Education, Innovation and Transformation, Brooklyn, NY
  • Elsie Urueta – Founder and Executive Director, Tulsa Honor Academy, Tulsa, OK
  • Kathleen Wang – Principal, Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion, Hadley, MA
  • Maya Woods-Cadiz – Superintendent, American Indian Model (AIM) Schools, Oakland, CA
  • Abdullah Zaki - Head of School Thurgood Marshall Academy, Washington, D.C.

For media interested in attending tonight's reception or interviewing a SLOC participant, please RSVP to Shaelyn Macedonio at

About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization 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