Hart Vision Award for Charter School Volunteer of the Year is Shared by Meadows Art and Technology Charter School Parents Tommy & Cheryl Kitahata

March 13, 2013

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Contact: Vicki Grenz
(916) 949-9659

SAN DIEGO, California (Mar 13, 2013) --Today, the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) presented the annual Hart Vision Award to the outstanding Charter Volunteer of the Year, to Tommy and Cheryl Kitahata, parent volunteers with Meadows Art and Technology Charter School (MATES), founded in the Thousand Oaks area of Los Angeles in 2009.

"Cheryl was a founding board member who spent countless hours drafting the school charter and shaping the curriculum," said Brenda Priske, executive director of MATES. "Thanks to Cheryl's profound influence, the project-based thematic curriculum was infused with art and technology taught by teachers who shared our school's educational philosophy."

Under Cheryl's leadership, the school implemented "Friday Focus," offering third through fifth grade students a choice of activities such as school newspaper, dance, jazz band, art class, improvisation, reader's theater, radio programs, school-wide post office, gardening as well as math and science activities.

Sharing his wife's dedication to the school, Tommy Kitahata's work readying the school helped us before we opened our doors," reported Priske. "As a firefighter and member of the National Rescue Team, Tommy has been a valuable resource on safety matters including school disaster preparation and staff CPR/First Aid Training."

"Volunteers like Mr. and Mrs. Kitahata strengthen the foundation of charter public schools of choice," said Priske, "Their efforts benefit children throughout our community."

Past winners of the Hart Vision Volunteer of the Year Award include Erika Ross from L.A.'s WISH Charter School in the Westchester area of Los Angeles (2012); 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 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.

The award was presented at the California Charter Schools Association's 20th anniversary conference held March 12-14, 2013 in San Diego. For a detailed schedule of other sessions or events, please visit http://www.charterconference.org/2013/program/.

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 www.ccsa.org.