The National Association of Charter School Authorizers’ Board of Directors announced today that M. Karega Rausch, Ph.D. will serve as NACSA’s new president and CEO, effective immediately. Karega Rausch brings nearly 20 years of experience as a policy expert, charter school authorizer, and researcher.
“Karega’s dedication to utilizing evidence-based research, listening to diverse stakeholders, and improving systems for students and families—particularly those from historically marginalized backgrounds—are the leadership qualities that we need to address the challenges and opportunities facing authorizers and charter schooling as a whole,” said Sara Mead, board president. “His professional experiences and passion make him the right leader to guide NACSA’s evolution and ensure that the organization continues to play a vital role in shaping the charter community.”
Most recently, Karega has served as NACSA’s vice president of research and evaluation, where he has built an evidence base for authorizing and uncovered new trends, including authoring two landmark research projects: Reinvigorating the Pipeline: Insights into Proposed and Approved Charter Schools and Leadership, Commitment, Judgment: Elements of Successful Charter School Authorizing.
“I’m humbled by the opportunity and responsibility of being NACSA’s new CEO and ushering charter school authorizing into a new era that pushes us to get more proximate, more familiar, more responsive, and more in-tune with community needs,” Rausch said. “Now is the time to center our work on the hopes and aspirations of communities.”
Karega is a former charter school authorizer in Indianapolis, where he served both Democratic and Republican mayors. In addition to his authorizing experience, Karega has dedicated his career to fixing systems that do not work for students—particularly for students of color.
He has authored research publications and worked with school districts on racial and ethnic disproportionality in school discipline and special education. He also served on the leadership team at Indiana University’s Equity Project, a consortium of projects dedicated to better understanding and addressing issues regarding educational equity and to providing high-quality data to bridge the gap between research and practice.
“Good authorizing is nonpartisan and principle-driven, and works closely with communities to understand their aspirations for students,” said Rausch. “All communities have assets and good ideas on how to capitalize on those assets. It’s our job to listen well, and deliver educational opportunities that enable students to thrive.”
Karega earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from DePauw University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in educational psychology from Indiana University.