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The 20th Annual California Charter Schools Conference and Anniversary Celebration, held March 11 - 14, 2013 in San Diego, was host to 3,500 charter leaders, supporters, advocates and parents, and featured many highlights, including a look back at 20 years of the movement.

  • General Session Emcee Ref Rodriguez, Founder and CEO, Partners for Developing Futures
  • A recorded welcome address by The Honorable Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education
  • Keynote addresses by:
    • Jed Wallace, President and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association
    • Michelle Rhee, Founder and CEO, Students First
    • Geoffrey Canada, Children's Advocate and Founder and CEO, Harlem Children's Zone
  • Featured speakers included: Congressman George Miller, Senior Democrat of the House Education and Workforce Committee and Penny Schwinn, Founder and Head of School at Capitol Collegiate Academy in Sacramento.
  • Charter School Parent Summit, hosted by Corri Ravare, CEO, Families that Can - More than 400 parents representing schools from across the state gathered to learn from each other how parents can be effective advocates for their schools and their children.
  • Student Performances by The Classical Academies, King Chavez Primary Academy and Tara James and Vairon Perez, Gompers Preparatory Academy
  • Announcement of the recipients of CCSA's Susan Steelman Bragato Scholarships:
    • Beatriz Arias, Oakland Unity High School
    • Maryam Atty, Liberty Charter High School
    • Steven Colin, Camino Nuevo High School
    • Jackie Ho, Lighthouse Community High School
    • Brandon Khuu, The Preuss School UCSD

Legacy Awards

The Legacy Awards recognize the extraordinary contributions of people that have sustained the charter school movement. CCSA Legacy Awards recognized 30 distinguished awardees in four categories--charter school operators, supporters, funders and elected officials.

The first two awards remember the inspired efforts of two pioneers of the movement who are no longer with us--Sue Bragato, who helped to create California's first charter school, the San Carlos Charter Learning Center in 1993 and Brian Bennett, who was the force behind the development of more than a dozen charter public schools including the launch of some of the earliest charter schools in California after the Legislature authorized them in 1992.

Operators--California operators are inspirational and dedicated leaders who have consistently proven that all children can learn at the highest levels and, despite the challenges that face public schools. Reflecting the diversity of charters that exist in California - geography, of students served, and of school type - CCSA's Legacy Award for Operators underscores that this movement is truly about diversity and inclusiveness:

  • Mary Bixby, Founder and President at Altus Institute - A Network of Charter Schools (San Diego, CA)
  • Judy Burton, Alliance College Ready Public Schools (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Yvonne Chan, Vaughn Next Century Learning Center (Pacoima, CA)
  • Jackie Elliot, Partnerships to Uplift Communities (PUC) (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Ref Rodriguez, Partners for Developing Futures and PUC(Los Angeles, CA)
  • Gene and Sandra Fisher, Watts Learning Center (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Pat Golding, Hickman Community Charter Schools (Hickman/Fresno Area, CA)
  • David Patterson, Board Member, Placer County Board of Education and Superintendent/Executive Director with Athlos Academies, and founder and executive director emeritus Rocklin Academy Family of Schools (Rocklin/Placer County, CA)
  • Rick Piercy, The Lewis Center for Educational Research (Apple Valley/Inland Empire, CA)
  • Ana Ponce, Camino Nuevo Charter Academy (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Larry Rosenstock, High Tech High (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Don Shalvey, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and previously, Aspire Public Schools (Palo Alto, Oakland, Berkeley, Empire, Modesto, Stockton, Sacramento and Los Angeles, CA)
  • Irene Sumida and Joe Lucente, Fenton Charter Public Schools (Lakeview Terrace/Los Angeles, CA)
  • Ting Sun and Charlie Leo, Natomas Charter School (Sacramento, CA)
  • Johnathan Williams, Accelerated School Community of Schools (Los Angeles, CA)

Charter School Supporters--The California charter movement has been fortunate to be galvanized by remarkable support organizations and their leaders that both get schools started and help to keep them running efficiently:

  • Vicki Barber, the El Dorado County Office of Education
  • Anita Landecker, ExEd
  • Paul Minney, the Law Offices of Minney, Young and Corr
  • Ted Mitchell, CEO of the New Schools Venture Fund
  • Eric Premack, the Charter School Development Center
  • Caprice Young, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation

Funders--California has been supported at high levels by an incredible group of funders. The resources they provide have sustained the movement through strategic and varied investments in schools and supporting advocacy at the local, state and federal levels. The Legacy Awards are in appreciation for their ongoing investment in our work and our children:

  • Eli and Edythe Broad
  • The Family of Doris and Donald Fisher
  • Bill and Melinda Gates
  • Michael and Susan Dell
  • Mr. Reed Hastings
  • The Walton Family

Elected Officials - California is fortunate to be home to two elected officials who not only opened charter schools but who also on a daily basis advocate for our movement; one is serving at the local level as a Mayor and the other is the highest-ranking official in the state: Governor Jerry Brown and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. CCSA's Legacy Award celebrates the commitment of Governor Brown and Mayor Johnson who generously invested their time creating innovative programs for kids and their communities.

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 goals of the Hart Vision Awards are to recognize and honor annually individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in education.

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