Introducing Newest Network Members: Part 2
June 13, 2018

Earlier in June, we introduced eight of the Network’s newest members. Today we’re excited to share details about even more, including:

Members include a range of single state advocacy organizations and organizations supported by national networks like Teach Plus and 50CAN. This also marks the first state charter associations to join the Network. Network leaders, in partnership with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, developed criteria for state charter associations to demonstrate alignment with the Network’s core values.

You can find a complete list of new members and partners here. Meanwhile, follow this Twitter list to see a real-time feed of member and partner activity. Also, make sure you’re subscribed to our bi-weekly Game Changers email to follow significant policy advances across the country.

Black Education Strategy Roundtable

Steve Smith, Executive Director

Black Education Strategy Roundtable (BESR) is the only Washington-based organization with a specific focus on the education of black students. Through advocacy in coalition with others, BESR works to improve public education from early learning through higher education.

In 2009, BESR helped establish a statewide mechanism to address the achievement gap in Washington state. They developed and passed legislation creating the Educational Opportunity Gap Oversight & Accountability Committee (EOGOAC). This committee recommends policies and strategies to the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Professional Standards Board, and the State Board of Education to eliminate the achievement gap.

They are currently working to expand academic acceleration programs and early warning systems in all school districts across the state, implement the state’s ESSA plan, with focus on producing strong teachers and principals in each school building who can engage and effectively instruct black students, and improving the instruction of all students.

Colorado League of Charter Schools

Ben Lindquist, President

The Colorado League of Charter Schools (the League) is a non-profit, membership organization dedicated to supporting charter schools across Colorado. The League is committed to helping these schools reach higher levels of student performance and overall success by providing information and resources, including technical support, advocacy, public relations assistance, professional development and more.

Their 2018 policy priorities include advancing legislation related to increasing funding, supporting charter facilities, and defending/increasing flexibility.

Over the years, some of the League’s most significant contributions have come in the areas of strong accountability and high standards. The Colorado Growth Model, which became a national model for how to measure academic growth replicated by multiple states across the country, originated out of the League. In more recent years, the League has been a consistent voice advocating for stronger state accountability for chronically failing schools and districts. During the just-completed legislative cycle, they worked closely with state partners and reform organizations to develop and drive legislation aimed at strengthening Colorado’s accountability system to ensure more regular and assertive action is taken.


Amanda Aragon, Executive Director

NewMexicoKidsCAN, founded in 2017, is designed to serve as a catalyst and conduit to advocate for community-informed, student-centered, and research-backed education policies that work best for the children of New Mexico.

Since launching they have released “The State of Education in New Mexico,” a report detailing the current education environment in the Land of Enchantment and “The Future of Education in New Mexico,” a road map to guide New Mexico to the education system of the future.

They are currently working to ensure the New Mexico Public Education Department completes annual updates to the New Mexico Educator Equity Plan and makes those updates available to the public; pass legislation to create an additional pathway to allow highly effective & exemplary teachers to earn a Level III license without a master’s degree; and ensure the New Mexico Public Education Department releases Teacher Prep Report Cards for all New Mexico teacher preparation programs. They are also working to strengthen New Mexico authorizing practices to ensure charter schools are held accountable to clear, objective, and measurable performance outcomes to earn the right to continue serving students.

NewMexicoKidsCAN is the first PIE Network member in the Land of Enchantment.

Teach Plus California

Sarah Lillis, Executive Director

Teach Plus California strives to shape education policy in California with the insights and expertise of excellent teachers. They are dedicated to training teachers to become effective advocates and connecting them to opportunities.

They are currently working to advance legislation on tenure reform, institute a more robust and transparent state accountability system, support early career teachers, and ensure teachers are trained to support emerging bilingual students. They are also working to address inequitable distribution of effective teachers and retaining and supporting teachers of color.

Teach Plus has worked with other leaders to advocate for improving California’s dashboard and including academic measures at all levels and targets for closing gaps in the state’s ESSA plan. They have also supported teacher leaders as they push to ensure teachers are leading in the newly defined state system of support for struggling schools.

While there is much work to be done, Teach Plus California continues to work with a diverse coalition of social justice, education, and community partners, to push for a more robust public debate on accountability.

Teach Plus Indiana

Carlotta Cooprider, Executive Director

Teach Plus Indiana prioritizes evaluating teacher voice around the following issues: ESSA implementation, early childhood education, teacher leadership, career pathways, teacher preparation, and teacher retention.

One of their most recent significant accomplishments revolves around ESSA. They released a ESSA policy brief in 2017 that included teacher voices from across the state. Those recommendations were then implemented into the state’s plan and teacher focus groups were credited in the state’s ESSA plan as a strong form of teacher engagement.

The Tennessee Charter School Center

Maya M Bugg, President & CEO

The Tennessee Charter School Center (TCSC) is the primary charter support organization in Tennessee. Founded in 2013 with the merger of the Tennessee Charter School Incubator and the Tennessee Charter Association, TCSC is leading the movement for effective policy, excellent schools, quality operators & informed communities. TCSC provides leadership on developing key state and local policies on behalf of public charter schools; targeted school programming that enhances school quality and accountability; advocacy and guidance around strong authorization processes and quality metrics; and ongoing education to promote diversity and awareness for public charter schools.

They work to support quality and cultivate innovation in public education by providing ongoing, comprehensive support to the growing charter sector in Tennessee and focusing on collaboration with all public schools to support excellence.

Washington State Charter Association

Patrick D’Amelio, CEO

The Washington State Charter Schools Association seeks to address opportunity and achievement gaps by advocating for and supporting a robust sector of high-quality charter public schools through strategic communications, legal and political ground game, parent organizing, school incubation, and member services.

They believe a strong sector of high-quality charter public schools will show what is possible for students when schools use resources creatively and are built to be responsive to students’ needs in a legal and political environment where all great public schools can thrive.

While they recently helped advance work related to funding and foundational relationship building for future advocacy activity, they continue to lead coordination of legal defense of the current charter public school law. Their most recent legislative goals include advocating for appropriate charter sector funding, defending against charter opponents’ efforts to reduce current or block future funding, and building relationships with key legislative stakeholders.



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    Ashley Schmidt

    Ashley is PIE Network's Senior Director of Member Engagement & Communications

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