As part of its mission to advocate and support the development of high-quality charter public schools, the Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters) today announced it has selected the following candidates for its 2018-2019 WA Charters School Leadership and Design Fellowship. Fellows will design a community-responsive school and write a charter application for submission to an authorizer in March 2019 or March 2020. If authorized, they will open their schools in August 2020 or 2021.
“We are thrilled to be supporting four talented leadership teams as they build out their vision for high-quality charter public schools and make their visions a reality for Washington state kids,” said WA Charters CEO Patrick D’Amelio. “We know that one size does not fit all kids when it comes to public education. We have high confidence that each of these new, innovative models will create excellent options for students for whom traditional options are not a perfect fit.”
Notably, two of the schools being incubated are seeking to open in regions where there are not currently charter school options—Bremerton and Wenatchee.
About the fellows:
Catalyst Public Schools | Co-Founders: Amanda Gardner and Tatiana Epanchin
Proposed School Type and Location: K-8 in Bremerton, WA
About: Catalyst will offer families an innovative learning model that puts the needs of each student at the center. Hallmarks of the Catalyst model will include small group instruction, hands-on, project based learning, and dynamic supports to ensure that each and every student, regardless of their background, thrives. A focus on social-emotional learning and leadership development will ensure that students become positive change makers in our community and world.
About the Co-Founders: An opportunity gap-closing charter school founder, Amanda Gardner led Boston Preparatory Charter Public School and UP Academy Charter School of Boston, two of the top-performing schools in Boston, MA. Most recently, Amanda served as the Vice-President of Schools at Innovate Public Schools. Tatiana Epanchin founded and leads School Leader Lab, which builds school leadership capacity in high-performing charter schools in Washington, D.C. Previously, Tatiana served as a senior vice president for Teach for America, and as an award-winning principal, founding principal, and regional superintendent for the Bay Area at Aspire Public Schools.
Anticipated Opening Date: August 2020
Columbia Prep | Co-Founders: Rick Wray and Sara Rolfs
Proposed School Type and Location: 6-12 in Wenatchee, WA
Sara Rolfs and Rick Wray
About: Columbia Prep is designed to meet a need for an additional public school option identified in the Wenatchee Valley. A lead partner and integral part of the regional strategic action plan “Our Valley Our Future”, Columbia Prep’s middle and high school model is rooted in a competency-based learning framework. Key tenets of the model include: place-based education, social and emotional learning, and professional development and collaboration for teachers, who will also serve as student mentors. As part of a larger regional collective impact vision, Columbia Prep seeks to be a year-round community learning center that serves, and is informed by, Wenatchee students and families.
About the Co-Founders: Rick Wray is a seasoned nonprofit leader, having founded, fundraised for, and managed operations of multiple education-focused organizations. Sara Rolfs is a longtime Wenatchee resident who has launched several successful education-focused efforts in the community.
Anticipated School Opening Date: August 2021