Richard Riordan, Former CA Secretary of Education, L.A. Mayor Receives Supporter of the Year Award at 18th Annual Charter Schools Conference

March 8, 2011

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For Immediate Release

Contact: Vicky Waters, CCSA
(415) 505-7575

SAN DIEGO, California.--The California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) today honored former California Secretary of Education and Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan with the Hart Vision Award for Supporter of the Year due to his unparalleled contributions to education, and his support to Inner City Education Foundation (ICEF) Public Schools in Los Angeles in their time of need.

"Mayor Riordan has been a major education philanthropist and activist for the past two decades. He's lead the way in supporting major education reform in Los Angeles," said Jed Wallace, president and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA). "We are proud and honored to recognize his contributions to public education, especially charter schools, and look forward to his continued work."

"Every child has a God-given right to a quality education. Charter schools offer children just that," said Mr. Riordan. "I am proud to support the charter school movement, so as to ensure that more children have the tools to compete in our complex society. That's why we stepped in to save ICEF."

Last fall when ICEF Public Schools faced considerable financial challenges, Riordan stepped into the fray leading a major emergency fundraising effort to keep the network of high-performing South Los Angeles schools open. His actions directly resulted in ICEF keeping its key programs intact.

Riordan, who was Mayor of Los Angeles from 1993 to 2001 and also served as Secretary of Education under former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, continues to support the ICEF organization to ensure that it remains financially sustainable in the midst of the state's ongoing fiscal crisis.

Mayor Riordan was an early supporter of efforts to reform the Los Angeles Unified School District as a founder of the Los Angeles Alliance for College Ready Public Schools, which now operates 18 high performing charter schools in the lowest-income neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Riordan was also a founding board member for LA's Best, an innovative and nationally recognized after school program.

In 1981, he created the Riordan Foundation. The mission of the foundation is to ensure that all children become successful readers and writers by the end of second grade. The foundation has distributed $49.3 million in grants, distributed 27,000 computers to schools in 40 states and purchased more than 180,000 books for school libraries. The Hart Vision Awards aim to annually recognize and honor individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in education. The awards were established in 1995 in honor of Gary K. Hart, a retired California State Senator and former California Secretary of Education. While serving as state senator, Hart sponsored the legislation that established California charter schools.

Last year's recipient of the Hart Vision Award for Supporter of the Year was Governor Schwarzenegger.

About the California Charter Schools Association*

The California Charter Schools Association is the membership and professional organization serving 912 charter public schools and more than 365,000 students in the state of California. The Vision of the California Charter Schools Association is to usher in a new era in public education so all students attend independent, innovative, accountable schools of choice. The Mission of the California Charter Schools Association is to influence the legislative and policy environments, leverage collective advocacy, and provide resources to support our members in developing and operating high quality, charter schools reflective of California's student population. For more information, please visit

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