23rd Annual California Charter Schools Conference Highlights

March 21, 2016

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The 23rd Annual California Charter Schools Conference, held March 14-17, 2016 at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, CA, was host to more than 4,000 charter leaders, supporters and advocates. This year's conference theme, March to One Million, spoke to the growth, momentum and opportunity in California's charter school movement.

CCSACon 2016 had something for everyone. This year's conference featured charter school tours and the most relevant topics valued by charter school professionals in various formats including: plenary sessions, summits, breakout sessions, deep dives, and poster sessions. Attendees enjoyed opportunities to meet new colleagues and see old friends during networking opportunities and social activities. Approximately 300 exhibiting companies offered attendees tools, resources and cutting-edge products to meet their unique needs.

General Sessions

Keynote Speakers

  • Jed Wallace, president and CEO, California Charter Schools Association
  • Dr. Peter Diamandis, founder, chairman and CEO, X PRIZE Foundation
  • Soledad O'Brien, award winning journalist, documentarian, news anchor, producer and philanthropist

Student Performances By

  • Encore High School Boys Dance Group
  • Meadows Arts & Technology Elementary School


  • Fabiola Tucux, Alumni, Dr. Olga Mohan High School, Los Angeles
  • Andy Linares, Alumni, Dr. Olga Mohan High School, Los Angeles
  • Ivan Ramos, Alumni, Alliance Gertz-Ressler High School, Los Angeles
  • Jeniffer Quintero, Alliance Renee and Meyer Luskin Academy High School, Los Angeles, CA
  • Laura McGowan-Robinson, Senior Vice President, Regional Advocacy, California Charter Schools Association

Susan Steelman Bragato Scholarships

CCSA awarded $2,000 individual college scholarships to ten deserving high school graduates at CCSA member charter schools. The scholarship is named in honor of Susan Steelman Bragato, the co-founder of the first charter school in California and the founder of the California Network of Educational Charters (which was renamed the California Charter Schools Association in 2003).

  1. Lizbeth Cuevas, Alliance Gertz-Ressler High School, Los Angeles
  2. Anahi Gutierrez, Animo Venice Charter High School, Los Angeles
  3. Christopher Huebner, University Preparatory School, Redding
  4. Jian Hao, Oakland Charter High School, Oakland
  5. Lucerito Lopez, High Tech High North County, San Marcos
  6. Ricardo Lopez, Synergy Quantum Academy, Los Angeles
  7. Melissa Murdock, Charter University Prep, Placerville
  8. Katherine Najar Velazquez, Gompers Preparatory Academy, San Diego
  9. Michael Regla, San Jacinto Valley Academy, Hemet
  10. Keelan Winter, Springs Charter School, Temecula

Hart Vision Awards
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 goal of the Hart Vision Awards is to recognize and honor annually individuals demonstrating outstanding leadership and excellence in education. Nine awards were announced at the conference.

  • Elected Officials of the Year - Assemblymember Shirley Nash Weber, California State Assembly 79th District, San Diego, CA; and Linda Lindholm, Vice President, Orange County Board of Education, District 5
  • Charter School of the Year South - CHIME Institute, Northridge, CA
  • Charter School of the Year North - Voices College-Bound Language Academy, San Jose, CA
  • School Leaders of the Year - Malka Borrego, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Equitas Academy Charter Schools, Los Angeles, CA; and Kiumars Arzani, Founder and Executive Director, Ivy Bound Academy, Los Angeles, CA
  • Teacher of the Year - Sarah Eun, Larchmont Charter School, Los Angeles, CA
  • Volunteer of the Year - Tomasa Espinoza, Richmond College Prep Schools, Richmond, CA
  • Supporter of the Year - Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation

Post. Tweet. Tag #CCSACon
Attendees connected with their colleagues at conference via social media using the hashtag #CCSACon to share their favorite conference moments and photos.

For additional footage of the event, be sure to check out our YouTube profile and the 23rd Annual California Charter Schools playlist.