CCSA Presents Award for Volunteer of the Year To WISH Charter School Parent Erika Higgins Ross

February 29, 2012

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For Immediate Release

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

SACRAMENTO, California.--Today, the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) presented the annual Hart Vision Award to the outstanding Charter Volunteer of the Year, Erika Ross, a parent from L.A.'s WISH Charter School, founded in the Westchester area of Los Angeles in 2010.

"She works to show parents that any work they do is really powerful for kids and really listens to them so they can find their niche," said Shawna Draxton, Principal of WISH Charter. "She's a true leader and we're so lucky to have her at WISH and to learn from her."

"It's such an incredible experience to build a school from the ground up," said Erika Higgins. "WISH Charter is a dream come true. This means more to me than anything else - that my daughter is getting a wonderful education and we're part of a community we can believe in."

Ross helped to establish a school garden at the school and is an active parent leader, coordinating several different committees and working to involve parents from across the school. Her parents and husband are also active volunteers at the school. From rolling up her sleeves to help paint the school to doing outreach to local elected officials, Ross supports her daughter's school on every level.

"As charter public school parents, we need to work together to show our representatives and our community why we support charter schools - and we need to bring them here and show them that this is what we've created. This isn't for some kids - this is for all kids. All public education should be this great," said Ross.

Past winners of the Hart Vision Volunteer of the Year Award include Brian Rogers from Lighthouse Community Charter School in Oakland (2011); Peter Trueblood from North Oakland Community Charter School in Oakland (2010); and Lindsay Sturman from Larchmont Charter School in Los Angeles (2009).

The Hart Vision Awards were established in 1995 in honor of Gary K. Hart, retired California State Senator and former California Secretary of Education. While serving as state senator, Hart sponsored the legislation that established California charter schools. The goals of the Hart Vision Awards are to recognize and honor annually individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in education.

The California Charters Schools Association has hosted the Charter Schools Conference for 19 years, offering resources, guidance, and advocacy support to a membership that has grown exponentially.

The California Charter Schools Conference will officially run from Monday, February 27 to Thursday, March 1, 2012. View a detailed schedule of sessions and events.

This year's Conference theme is "You Are the Charter School Movement."

About the California Charter Schools Association

The California Charter Schools Association is the membership and professional organization serving 982 charter public schools and more than 412,000 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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