The Texas Charter Schools Association’s (TCSA) Board of Directors recently elected me as Chairman and as a community and business representative on the Board, and I am honored to serve in this new role. Since I am new to TCSA’s board, I want to take this opportunity to share with you a little about my background and some reflections on this organization.
While my professional experience includes running a media company, oilfield service company, and managing private equity, helping students access an excellent education is a personal priority for me. I know first-hand the value of a quality education and how it can change someone's life. My parents exercised choice in selecting parochial school for me and my siblings, and I was the first in my family to attend college on a full scholarship to Harvard University. My education has served me well and I attribute my success in part to what I learned in the classroom and the high expectations my teachers set for me and my classmates, all of whom came from working families. I strongly believe that a child’s zip code should not determine their future.
This is why I am on the National Board of Teach for America, the Board of Spellman College in Atlanta, and the Board of Yes Prep Public Schools in Houston. This is why I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as the new Board Chairman for TCSA. I hope to bring my community and business experience with my passion for education to help students across this great state.
I recently attended my first TCSA board meeting and I am excited about the future of the organization. First and foremost, TCSA is student-focused and this team seeks to support public charter schools that meet the needs of students whether it is a college preparatory campus focused on STEM or a charter at a residential treatment center. TCSA works to provide services such as training, legal guidance, and the Quality Framework to its member schools that ultimately lead to increasing student outcomes. I am thrilled to be a part of an organization whose mission is to help students achieve their highest potential and work towards their dreams.
As you know, a large component of TCSA’s work is representing students attending public charter schools at the State Capitol through advocacy efforts with the Legislature. During this past regular session, TCSA was able to accomplish much for students including passage of bills to safeguard funding of charters with the Minutes of Instruction bill and separately, legislation that increased the capacity for the Permanent School Fund Bond Guarantee Program. While we are currently in a special session, TCSA continues to work on behalf of its members on the chief priority—securing facilities funding for public charter schools.
Now, more than ever, it is important that we work together as a unified voice for the students of this state and provide them with a seat in the classroom that best meets their needs. This includes public charter schools of every mission and type—we must advocate for students attending public charter schools to receive equitable funding and help address the thousands of children on a waiting list to attend a public charter school. We must also come together to protect our flexibility and practices of innovation. Texas students are counting on us and we must continue to work on their behalf.
I would like to recognize both Rod Paige and David Dunn for their tireless efforts on behalf of students and families. Under their leadership, the charter sector and TCSA have successfully grown and I look forward to continuing the work they began as we seek a new Executive Director to take us into the future.
Again, I am honored to serve as the new TCSA Board Chair and have the opportunity to work with you, our partners, and the TCSA staff in providing Texas families an option within public education through public charter schools.
Click here to learn more about Tom Castro.