California Charter School Conference Celebrates 20 Years: 3,000+ Charter Leaders, Teachers and Parents Gather in San Diego

March 9, 2013

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(March 8, 2013)--More than 3,000 Charter leaders gather to celebrate people, innovation and academic achievement in California's charter schools. With one in seven of the nation's charter schools located in California, the three-day annual conference draws the charter movement's best and brightest leaders and is the largest state charter school conference in the country.

This year is the 20th anniversary of the California Charter School Act - California was the second state in the country to approve charter schools after Minnesota and is now home to more charter schools than any other state.

Cultivating innovation and sharing best practices are vital to a movement rich in diversity and committed to accountability. In addition to 150+ workshops and many special events, there are celebrations designed to recognize excellence, refuel passion and reignite imagination.

Staff and some participants will arrive Monday, March 11. To get a jump on your conference coverage or attend a session, contact Vicki Grenz at (916)949-9659. Follow us on twitter at @calcharters, #charterconference.

Speakers at the 20th Anniversary Charter Schools Conference include charter founders, education reform leaders, parents, teachers and elected officials.


Jed Wallace, President and Chief Executive Officer, CCSA Leader of the California Charter Schools Association that supports the charter movement comprised of 1,063 schools serving 484,000 students.

Congressman George Miller, the Senior Democrat of the House Education and Workforce Committee and a leading advocate in Congress on education, labor, the economy, and the environment. He has served on the Education and Workforce Committee since first coming to Congress and was its chairman from 2007 through 2010.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, the first native Sacramentan and the first African American to be elected to the office. The Mayor has taken on a range of national leadership positions, including his current roles as Second Vice President of the US Conference of Mayors, Vice President of the National Conference of Black Mayors, and Chair of US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's Education Reform Task Force. Before taking public office, Kevin led a diverse career as a professional athlete, entrepreneur and nonprofit executive. Kevin served as Chief Executive Officer of St. HOPE (Helping Others Pursue Excellence), a nonprofit organization he founded in 1989 and led until January 2008.


Michelle Rhee, CEO and Founder, StudentsFirst Michelle began her career as a Teach for America corps member in Baltimore. Through her own trial and error in the classroom, she gained a tremendous respect for the hard work that teachers do every day. In 1997, Michelle founded and led The New Teacher Project, which recruits and trains teachers to work in urban schools. More recently, from 2007 to 2010, Michelle served as chancellor of District of Columbia Public Schools. Under her stewardship, D.C. schools experienced increases in student achievement, a rise in graduation rates and an upswing--for the first time in decades--in enrollment. Penny Schwinn, Founder and Head of School at Capitol Collegiate Academy in Sacramento. She also serves as a Board Member for the Sacramento County Office of Education, a Commissioner for Sacramento County Parks and Recreation, and a member of the Sacramento Youth Commission

Charter School Parent Summit - More than 400 parents representing schools from across the state will come together to learn from each other how parents can be effective advocates for their schools and their children. Learn more about CCSA's parent advocacy work at


Geoffrey Canada, Children's Advocate and Founder & CEO of Harlem Children's Zone In his 20-plus years with Harlem Children's Zone, Inc., Geoffrey Canada has become nationally recognized for his pioneering work helping children and families in Harlem and as a passionate advocate for education reform. The National Book Award-winning author Jonathan Kozol has called Canada, "One of the best friends children have, or ever will have, in our nation."

About the CCSA Conference The California Charter Schools Conference has run annually for 20 years, offering resources, guidance, and advocacy support to a charter school movement that has grown to more than 1,000 schools serving 484,000 students. More than 220 exhibiting companies will be on hand, promoting resources to support charter schools.

The California Charter Schools Conference begins Tuesday, March 12 and concludes Thursday, March 14, 2013. For a detailed schedule of other sessions or events, please visit To easily thumb through each day's schedule, download the free conference app by searching for "Conf Services" in the App store--look for the grey and white "CS" icon.

Follow us on twitter at @calcharters, #charterconference.

About the California Charter Schools Association
The California Charter Schools Association is the membership and professional organization serving 1,063 charter public schools and more than 484,000 students in the state of California. The Vision of the California Charter Schools Association is to empower parents and educators to unleash a new era of innovation within public education so that highly autonomous and accountable schools of choice provide quality learning opportunities for all California students. For more information, please visit