On Thursday, October 19, members of the Georgia Charter Schools Association’s Board of Governance gathered at The Garage in Atlanta’s West End for a board governance orientation meeting. The Garage is the newest location for Monday Night Brewing, which was co-founded by CEO Jeff Heck, the husband of GCSA Board Vice Chair Hannah Heck.
During the meeting, board members heard from Russ Simnick, the senior director of state advocacy and services for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (pictured on the right). Simnick gave board members an overview of the current national policy landscape for charter schools and Georgia’s place within the overall charter movement. He said Georgia is currently ranked 24 out of 44 states in a report the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools issues annually to measure each state’s charter school law against a model law intended to support the growth of high-quality charter public schools. He says to improve, Georgia needs to provide more equitable funding to charter schools.
Georgia Public Policy Foundation President and CEO Kelly McCutchen (pictured on the right) addressed charter school myths and realities. He told board members charter schools are well positioned to assist students with the jobs of the future, because they will rely heavily on creativity. McCutchen says this is the perfect time for charter schools to thrive because they are allowed flexibility and can focus on innovation in the classroom. He also shared his personal experience with starting Tech High, a math-and science-focused charter school that was located in Atlanta.
The meeting was presided over by GCSA Board Chair Frank Morris (Pictured at the top with board members). Board Vice Chair Hannah Heck gave a presentation about board duties, conflicts of interest and guidelines (pictured left).
Board members learned about Georgia Charter Schools Association’s school services, advocacy work, finances and new school development efforts from GCSA President and CEO Tony Roberts (pictured on the right), GCSA Vice President of School Services Elisa Falco, GCSA Vice President of New School Development Aarti Sharma and Chief Financial Officer Lisa Rawls.
The orientation meeting ended with a school panel featuring three charter school leaders (L to R): Alisha T. Morgan, Executive Director of Ivy Prep Academies; Amana Academy Executive Director Ehab Jaleel and Westside Atlanta Charter School Principal Delana Reeves. Panelists shared their current challenges and some of their successes. They also told members what they liked about Georgia Charter Schools Association and what areas GCSA can focus on for growth. The panelists represented both locally approved and state approved charter schools and had varying years of service as a charter school leader.