NACSA Announces Second Cohort of Authorizing Fellowship Program at University of Minnesota

Program continues to build pipeline of charter school authorizing talent

Alica Gerry, Maggie Kane and Suzanne Oh, NACSA Innovation in Education 2016-17 Fellows. (From left to right)
Alica Gerry, Maggie Kane and Suzanne Oh, NACSA Innovation in Education 2016-17 Fellows (from left to right).

Today, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) announced the second cohort of its Innovation in Education Fellowship at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. The Fellowship is the nation’s only program of its kind, designed to introduce emerging public policy leaders to charter school authorizing—the professionals responsible for approving, monitoring and renewing charter schools.

The yearlong, paid Fellowship provides hands-on authorizing experience to enhance students’ understanding of the critical issues impacting education reform. Students will be placed in local chartering offices, where they will work full-time in the summer and part-time during the academic year, while also receiving training and additional support from NACSA.

“The role of an authorizer continues to be a critical position in the nation’s education reform movement, yet recruiting talent remains a key issue for many authorizing offices throughout the country,” said Kasey Miller, Vice President of Talent and Engagement for NACSA. “The Fellowship provides students with the experience, skills and national best practices necessary to launch into authorizing careers and do the quality authorizing work that leads to great schools from the start.”

The Fellowship’s second cohort consists of three Humphrey School graduate students, Alica Gerry, Maggie Kane and Suzanne Oh, who each bring a passion for education reform to the Program based on past professional and personal experiences.

Both Kane and Oh have previously worked on issues related to equity and closing the achievement gap in the Twin Cities. By learning more about authorizing, each hopes to continue to shape schools and systems that give students and parents the opportunity to make choices about education that work best for them.

Gerry’s previous work in New Orleans studying the city’s charter reforms inspired her interest in authorizing and learning more about how authorizers carefully review applications to ensure only great schools are allowed to open. “Innovation in education is just as important as innovation in any other field, but charter schools can only encourage innovation if the right charters are getting approved in the first place,” she said.

As part of the Fellowship, students engage with authorizing leaders across the country through a series of professional development sessions, as well as at the annual NACSA Leadership Conference.

“The program is an exciting opportunity to connect with a network of authorizers doing this work across the country, as well as learn from one another about how to work within different authorizing models to create great schools with the ability to change lives,” Kane concluded.

ABOUT NACSA

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) is an independent voice for effective charter school policy and thoughtful charter authorizing practices that lead to more great public schools. Our research, policy, and consultation work advances excellence and accountability in the charter school sector. With authorizers and other partners, we have built the gold standard for charter school authorizing. Through smart charter school growth, these authorizers will give hundreds of thousands of children an opportunity for a better education each year. More at www.qualitycharters.org.