Professional Services

Providing guidance to authorizers of all sizes and in all geographies.

Services We Offer

Authorizer Development provides direct, professional services to improve authorizer practices. Since 2009, we’ve provided guidance to authorizers that, together, oversee more than half of our nation’s charter schools. We have worked with authorizers of all sizes and in all geographies—some oversee fewer than five charter schools while others oversee more than 500. We can adapt our strategies to meet the needs of any authorizer—both staff and board—and its community.

Authorizer Startup, Planning, and Development

How do authorizers create a brand new agency? What happens when leadership changes composition or direction? We work with authorizers at all stages of development—from the moment they come into existence to good-to-great transitions, including strategic planning, board and staff orientation, budget modeling, and organizational restructuring.

Client Sampling

  • State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia
  • Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board
  • New Mexico Public Education Commission
Authorizer Testimonial

Tom Hutton
Executive Director, Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission

“If NACSA was able to achieve this degree of success while navigating Hawaii’s complex political, policy, and cultural challenges, I believe the organization is well positioned to improve authorizer capacity anywhere in the nation.”

Due Diligence

The best way to know whether a management organization is going to open a great new school is by knowing whether the schools they already operate are great. We produce customized reports that enable authorizers to understand a management organization’s operations and outcomes, and our Charter Operator Tracker (Beta) now helps authorizers do this work on their own.

Client Sampling

  • State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia
  • District of Columbia Public Charter School Board
  • Washington State Charter School Commission
Authorizer Testimonial

Jenna Hodgens
President, FACSA
Director of Charter Schools, Hillsborough County Schools

“As authorizers, we do everything we can to ensure the charters we approve have the best chance at success; this tool will be invaluable to Florida authorizers as we evaluate proposals for new schools.”

Application Decision Management

Choosing which schools to open is arguably the most important decision an authorizer makes, and one of the most difficult. We know this from experience—we’ve managed the evaluation of nearly 500 charter school applications, having launched this work in one of the most challenging environments, post-Katrina Louisiana. Since then we have helped authorizers across the country and internationally to establish sound processes for approving new schools that both recognize community needs and put children before politics. We advise at every step and can lead in any way, from developing the materials to managing the complete process, including presenting recommendations to the board.

Client Sampling

  • Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Department for Education, United Kingdom
  • Ministry of Education, New Zealand
Authorizer Testimonial

Chris Barbic
Former Superintendent, Tennessee Achievement School District

“We would not even be close to the kind of progress we have made in a short time without your efforts.”

Performance Management

NACSA develops and implements comprehensive performance management systems that allow authorizers to establish high expectations for schools and hold them accountable for results. Our expertise helps authorizers strike the right balance between school autonomy, and protecting student and public interests.

Client Sampling

  • Connecticut Department of Education
  • Orleans Parish School Board
  • Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission

Authorizer Evaluation

Every organization can benefit from having a mirror held up to its practices and having practical suggestions for improvement. We’ve conducted more than 60 in-depth assessments for authorizers large and small across the country. We deliver focused assessments and clear, actionable guidance based on our unique evidence-based protocol and national standards for quality authorizing.

Client Sampling

  • Texas Education Agency
  • Miami-Dade County Public Schools
  • District of Columbia Public Charter School Board
Authorizer Testimonial

Steve Canavero
Interim State Superintendent, Nevada Department of Education

“The evaluation process has been an absolute game changer. It has not only enabled me to make the tough decisions that authorizers must make, but also allowed for the rationale behind those decisions to have added merit.”

For more information about these services, please contact Erin Reddy, Manager of Authorizer Development.

Our Consultants

William Haft

Vice President of Authorizer Development

William is a pragmatic change agent. He founded NACSA’s Authorizer Development division to advance charter school quality one authorizer at a time. Under William’s leadership NACSA has: managed the evaluation of hundreds of charter school applications; developed charter school contracts and performance standards with numerous authorizers; and supported the startup and transformation of authorizers across the country.

Specialties:
  • Authorizer Startup, Planning and Development
  • Application Decision Management
Full bio

Elisa Westapher

Director of Authorizer Development

Elisa is a rationalist and counselor. A former education policy and commercial real estate attorney, Elisa brings expertise to her authorizing clients, including detailed assessments of authorizer policies, practices and comprehensive due diligence reports on experienced operators. She believes authorizing can help close the achievement gap for low-income and minority students.

Specialties:
  • Authorizer Evaluations
  • Due Diligence
Full bio

Katie Piehl 

Director of Authorizer Development

Katie is a connector. With experience as a state policy reformer, Katie helps create partnerships that focus on improving authorizer practices. She also helps authorizers develop model practices and then puts them to work.

Specialties:
  • Authorizer Evaluations
  • Performance Management
Full bio

Whitney Spalding Spencer

Director of Authorizer Development

Whitney is a straight shooter. A former authorizer for the nation’s third largest school district—Chicago—Whitney advises authorizers on implementation of best practices in performance management, replication, and closure.

Specialties:
  • Authorizer Startup, Planning, and Development
  • Performance Management
Full bio

Erin Reddy

Associate Director of Authorizer Development

Erin is a forward thinker who loves the details in between. With experience at the Department of Justice­­—working cases both large and small—Erin works closely with authorizers around the country, searching for new ways to support their practices and processes for new school development.

Specialties:
  • Application Decision Management
Full bio

For more information about these services, please contact Erin Reddy, Manager of Authorizer Development.

Who We've Helped

Arizona State Board for Charter Schools
Ball State University (Indiana)
Chicago Public Schools
District of Columbia Public Charter School Board
Denver Public Schools
District of Columbia Public Charter School District
Hawaii Public Charter School Board
Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission
Louisiana Department of Education
Missouri State Board of Education
New Jersey Department of Education
Orleans Parish School Board
South Carolina Public Charter School District
Spokane Public Schools
State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia
Tennessee Achievement School District
Texas Education Agency
Washington State Charter School Commission