Our Board of Directors is composed of member schools representatives, and philanthropy and community representatives that guide and advance TCSA’s mission. The Advocacy Committee assists the TCSA and the Board in achieving the TCSA legislative priorities during the Texas Legislative sessions.

Join our efforts to strengthen and support the public charter school movement in the great state of Texas by running for a one of the 2019 TCSA board seats or serve on the Advocacy Committee! The TCSA nominations and election process begins on August 3rd.  There are eight leadership seats up for election this year:

TCSA Board of Directors (3 vacancies):

  • Small School Representative (2 vacancies)
  • Standing Member School Small (1 vacancy)

TCSA Elected Advocacy Committee (5 vacancies):

  • Member Council Vice-Chair (1 vacancy)
  • Large School Representative (1 vacancy)
  • Small School Representative (1 vacancy)
  • University Representative (1 vacancy)
  • RTC/JDC Representative (1 vacancy)

To review eligibility and role definitions for these positions, please refer to Attachment B and Attachment C of the TCSA Board of Directors and Members Council Nomination and Election Policy, which is found on the TCSA Quality Member Portal.

All seats have a 2-year term, except for the Member Council Vice-Chair that is a 1- year term this election cycle.  After completion of the 1-year term, the Member Council Vice-Chair will then move to the Member Council Chair for a 2-year term.  All elected positions must be current TCSA members by December 31, 2018 as their leadership term begins January 1, 2019.

All nominations, campaigns and voting will be conducted electronically via the Member Portal Page.

This year, with the approval of the Board of Directors, there will be two additional standing seat positions added to the board. KIPP Texas, with over 20,000 students enrolled, is now eligible for a Large Standing Member seat and pursuant to the TCSA Bylaws, a Small Standing Member seat will also be created for the additional Large Standing Member seat. The Small Standing Member seat is an elected position, which is included within this election cycle.

2018 TCSA NOMINATION AND ELECTION TIMELINE

Candidate Nomination form released

Aug. 3

Candidate Nomination Forms due

Sept. 3

Candidates are notified of eligibility

No later than Sept. 10

Deadline for Candidates to submit campaign videos and bios

Sept. 21

Nomination Slate announced

Sept. 25, 2018

Campaign videos and bios released

Oct. 5, 2018

Electronic voting begins

Oct. 5, 2018

Electronic voting closes

Oct. 24, 2018

Election Winners Announcement at Annual Meeting at Member Council Meeting at Conference

Oct. 25, 2018

Any Run Off Election will be conducted at Annual Meeting by paper ballot

Oct. 25, 2018

New leadership terms begin

Jan. 1, 2019

**Note, only members present at annual meeting will be able to cast a paper ballot vote in a run off election.

How to Nominate and Vote Online

All nominations, campaigns and voting are conducted via the TCSA Quality Member Portal.

First, click here to log into the TCSA Quality Member Portal.

Second, click on ‘Membership Voting’ in red font at the top right hand corner of the page.  Here you will find the links to (1) the Candidate Nomination Form and (2) cast your vote in the 2018 TCSA Election. 

For your reference, this page also contains the 2018 TCSA Election Timeline, FAQs, the TCSA Bylaws and Nomination and Election Policy, which sets forth leadership eligibility requirements.

If you have forgotten your password to the portal, please click on the top right hand corner of the page that says “Forgot password” to generate a new password. 

Questions or problems? Please contact Janie Muñoz at jmunoz@txcharterschools.org or 512.584.8272.

Also here is the jpeg of the table if it gives you any problems:

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I am writing to share the news of my resignation as General Counsel of TCSA and to announce Christine Nishimura’s transition to the role. Christine and I have worked closely together as the TCSA Legal team for the past few years, and I know TCSA will be in good legal hands under her leadership.

This announcement is bittersweet for me as TCSA has been my professional home for almost six years. It has been an honor and a privilege to have worked with and on behalf of our member schools, and the public charter school students of Texas. I have enjoyed the relationships I have formed with our schools and the many colleagues, partners and members of the TCSA family with whom I have had the privilege to work over the past several years.

Looking back on my time with TCSA, we have achieved many successes on behalf of the charter school movement and I am proud to have played a key role in this important work, including TCSA’s efforts in the rewrite of our charter law in 2013, and fighting for equitable funding and the constitutional rights of charter school students at the Texas Supreme Court. My last day with TCSA is July 31st. I look forward to my next professional adventure, and look forward to continuing the work, relationships and friendships I have made in the public charter school sector.

With my departure, I am happy to announce that Christine will be stepping into the role of TCSA General Counsel. Christine started out as Director of Legal and Policy, and then transitioned to the Deputy General Counsel role. She came to TCSA as an expert in special education, student discipline, and foster care law. Christine was instrumental in our successes during the 85th Legislative Session, including leading the charge to fix the ‘minutes’ issue for our membership. Christine’s rich knowledge of the charter law and her relationships at TEA and at the Capitol will continue to serve TCSA well.

Have an outstanding graduate or alumnus whose story you would like to share? Let us know about it!

Not only is TCSA looking to share these stories, but the National Charter Alliance is seeking to promote them as well. If you have stories on your school websites, let us know through social media using the hashtag #charterswork. Email a copy of the story to me at pramati@txcharterschools.org.

In addition to stories about your graduates, we'd also like to know what programs our member schools are running through the summer. Please contact me with those stories, or any other ideas that help promote the good and innovative work our members are doing. Thank you!

We are excited to announce an upcoming opportunity for our independent and small charter management organizations to apply for the Replicating Great Options Strategic Growth Institute.

Led by Bellwether Education Partners, in conjunction with the Walton Family Foundation and TCSA, this six-month experience is designed to aid in the development of a five-year strategic plan that will then serve as the foundation for future growth.

Up to six schools will be selected to participate in a cohort experience with intensive organization-level work, including an on-site visit, weekly video conference check-ins, and several in-person convenings. Two informational webinars will be hosted on Monday, Aug. 13th at 4 p.m. and Thursday, June 16th at 7:30 a.m. to help interested schools learn more. The deadline to apply is Monday, Aug. 27th.

Charter school leaders from throughout the state are welcome to apply, but organizations from Ft. Worth, Houston, and San Antonio are particularly encouraged to participate. To apply for the Replicating Great Options Strategic Growth Institute, please follow this link. You may also contact me for information at enguyen@txcharterschools.org.    

Last month, Christine Nishimura, Deputy General Counsel for TCSA, provided information about charter school emergency management plans to the House Public Education Committee's School Safety Hearing.

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Christine discussed the need for schools to be prepared for all emergencies, especially in light of recent tragedies in Santa Fe. As part of her testimony, Christine discussed how charter schools work with the Texas School Safety Center and local law enforcement to ensure charter schools have emergency management plans that are both flexible and reliable.

Christine answered questions about charter schools’ ability to contract with law enforcement agencies, security professionals, as well as the schools ability to select a school marshal or school guardian. Christine also talked about TCSA’s support to charter schools through training opportunities and access to model emergency management plans.

If you have any questions about creating emergency management plans or receiving school safety training, do not hesitate to reach out to TCSA for resources and upcoming training opportunities. TCSA is thankful for the opportunity to provide testimony at the House Public Education Committee. But more importantly, we are proud to support all public schools in ensuring that all students have a safe and welcoming school environment.

As you may have heard, four new schools will begin operations in August, 2019 as Generation 23 charters as a result of action taken on June 15th by the Texas State Board of Education.  These schools began a rigorous authorization process in September 2017 and successfully completed both an external application review as well as extensive interviews by Texas Education Agency staff and members of the State Board of Education before being recommended for a charter by Commissioner Mike Morath in May, 2018.  At maximum enrollment, these schools will make the goal of public school choice possible for over 4,200 Texas students.

Two of the schools are slated to open in the Houston/Harris County area including Bloom Academy, headed by CEO Courtney Sales, opening as a K-1st school with a projected enrollment of 180 and a maximum K-5th enrollment of 1,080.  Reve Preparatory, led by CEO Traci Thibodeaux, will open as a K-1st school with a projected enrollment of 180 and a maximum K-8th grade enrollment of 1,620.  Promesa Academy, led by CEO Ambika Dani, is set to open in San Antonio, starting as a K-1st school with a projected enrollment of 176 and a maximum K-5th enrollment of 1,056. Finally, the Elementary School for Education Innovation, led by CEO Dr. Miranda Condra, will open in Lubbock as a K-2nd school with a projected enrollment of 270 and a maximum K-5th enrollment of 540.  After fulfilling any contingencies set forth by TEA, the new charters will receive an initial contract for five years of operation, subject to maintaining successful academic and financial accountability.  

Of the four schools selected, three contracted with TCSA and received either extensive application development and review services prior to submission or preparation for TEA interviews after completing the external review process. All of the schools will have the opportunity to participate in a series of year zero “launch” trainings, offered at no cost to the schools by TCSA through a Walton Family Foundation grant in order to prepare the schools for their August 2019 opening.

As a reminder, TCSA provides a number of services for teams that are considering starting a charter school.  We strongly encourage prospective applicants to attend a TCSA Charter Start training to learn more about the application process and everything that is involved in starting a school.  So far this summer, 17 application teams have participated in regional Charter Start trainings in Dallas and Houston. The next Charter Start training is scheduled for Wednesday, July 25th in Austin. 

TEA Commissioner Mike Morath shared important information this last week on Hurricane Harvey-affected schools in a press release as well as the accompanying information in Chapter 10 of the 2018 Accountability Manual.  In summary, if a campus that meets at least one of the Hurricane Harvey criteria receives an Improvement Required rating, the campus will be labeled Not Rated. If a district or open-enrollment charter school meets at least one of the Hurricane Harvey criteria and receives a B, C, D, or F rating, the district or open-enrollment charter school will be labeled Not Rated.

Commissioner Morath’s letter on school safety provides a wealth of information that charter leaders should be aware of as you plan for the 2018-19 school year.  If you haven’t read the letter, I highly recommend you do so as there are a number of school safety-related resources that you can access immediately.  In addition, the letter notes that ESSA funding for Title IV has increased by about $62 million dollars for Texas schools for 2018-19.  The additional funds  can be used to make school safety improvements on campuses, including counseling and mental health programs, addressing ways to integrate health and safety practices into school or athletic programs, and disseminating best practices and evaluating program outcomes relating to any LEA activities to promote student safety and violence prevention.

The letter addresses coordination and cooperation with local law enforcement, and my experience as a charter superintendent in East Texas affirms that this is not only a great idea, it’s an easy thing to do.  During the course of each summer I would invite our local police and fire departments to our campus to do an extensive walk-through of our buildings.  The officers and firefighters got the benefit of knowing our buildings for future reference, and they were able to provide a lot of helpful information to our administrative staff on best practices for safety, security, and building evacuations.  In addition, I realized that our law enforcement and firefighters got a chance to know a little bit more about our school including what ages of students we served, enrollment numbers, and special programs – everything we assumed that other people knew about our school but that they may not actually have understood until they saw our campus and met our personnel. 

TCSA is committed to assisting member schools in meeting your safety and security training needs.  This summer, we are offering at no-cost to member schools four on-demand courses in our training portal related to student safety and security:

 Active Shooter Threats – Best Practices for School Safety – a discussion of actions that schools can take now to minimize potential threats to student safety;

School Safety and Security in Today’s Challenging Environment - steps to take in emergency situations of all kinds;

Health and Safety Overview - an overview of policies and procedures charters will need to be compliant with state law in the area of health and safety including immunizations, EpiPens, suicide prevention, asthma, SBEC reporting, school visitors, open carry, school notices and asbestos management.

Special Topics in Health and Safety, which presents the Texas School Safety Center K-12 Standard Response Protocol (SRP) Toolkit and offers guidance and resources for incorporating the Standard Response Protocol into a school safety plan for critical incident response within individual schools in a school district or charter school.

We hope that you take advantage of these free resources as well as those in Commissioner Morath’s letter.  We will also have a number of safety and security-related breakout sessions at our TCSA Conference October 24-26 in Houston.  As always, please reach out to TCSA so we can be a resource to help you in your efforts to keep your charter schools safe and secure!

 

 

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AUSTIN – The Texas Charter Schools Association this week announced the hiring of Starlee Coleman as the organization’s new Chief Executive Officer.

Prior to coming to TCSA, Coleman founded SchoolForward LLC, a public affairs firm in Washington, D.C. that advances education reform policy objectives. The firm advises a number of high-profile clients, including the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Tom Castro, chairman of the TCSA Board of Directors, said the organization undertook an extensive search for its new CEO. “Our search committee and board considered many outstanding candidates from Texas and nationally,” Castro said. “We are excited that Starlee will be our new CEO. She has a strong track record working with public charters around the country. Starlee is a great communicator and executive. She will be a terrific ambassador to tell the Texas charter story as we grow to serve more Texas families.”

Prior to her work with SchoolForward, Coleman served as Vice President for Communications for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, developing public relations campaigns to help pass and improve public charter school laws throughout the country. Her campaigns focused on the growing successes public charters have enjoyed nationally.

“Texas has grown one of the most promising and exciting charter school communities in the country,” Coleman said. “Texas charter schools focus on students and support teachers with the freedom and flexibility to teach. I am excited to lead the organization’s efforts to build on this success and provide services to the dedicated and talented educators and their charter schools.”

Born in Texas, Coleman earned her Bachelor of Arts in English at Arizona State University in 1998 and was part of the University’s Honors College.

“TCSA’s future is in great hands with Starlee,” said Chuck Cook, Interim CEO of the TCSA. “Starlee brings a wealth of experience both with public charter schools and working with elected officials. She’s going to be an outstanding leader for the TCSA team.”

Coleman is married to Texas-native Michael Coleman, a Baylor University graduate. The couple has an 8-month-old daughter, Autumn.

Coleman will assume the CEO position starting Sept. 4, but will be attending the National Charter Schools Conference, which will be held in Austin next week.

The 2018 National Charter Schools Conference is less than three weeks away! There's still time to register for the conference, which will be held here in Austin June 17-20. See keynote speaker Dr. Bernard Harris, CEO of the National Math & Science Initiative and a former astronaut, who is leading the initiative’s efforts to improve teacher effectiveness and student achievement in STEM education. For more information, visit http://ncsc.publiccharters.org.

We are looking to celebrate our 2018 public charter school graduates! Please send your high school graduation photos to pramati@txcharterschools.org.

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