It’s been a busy few months at TCSA. Congratulations to the 10 new directors who have joined the TCSA Board!

JoAnn Gama with IDEA Public Schools and Chuck Cook with Responsive Education Solutions have joined the TCSA Board as Large Standing Member School Directors. Charter operators who educate 20,000 or more students in Texas are entitled to a standing seat on the TCSA Board. 

Virginia Lannen with Pegasus School of Liberal Arts and Sciences was elected by the membership in January as an additional Small Standing Member School Director. This newly added Small Standing School director position was created in correspondence to the Responsive Education Solutions Large Standing School seat.  Alfredo Segura with New Frontiers Academy was also elected by the membership in October 2017 to the Small Standing School seat that corresponds to the Large Standing School seat to be held by IDEA Public Schools. Virginia and Alfredo will serve a two year term as Small Standing School directors.  Large and Small Standing School directors are also members of the Elected Advocacy Committee.

Dr. Jennifer Goodman, formerly elected Member Council Vice-Chair, was appointed by the board to serve as the Member Council Chair in lieu of Chuck Cook once he assumed his directorship as a Large Standing Member School in February. The Member Council Chair also serves as a director on the TCSA Board and is a member of the Board Nominations Committee and Elected Advocacy Committee.

William Glasgow, with Prime Investments, who has served on the TCSA Board since 2009 as a Business Community Director was re-elected in December for an additional  term. William also serves as the Vice-Chair and is a member of the Nominations Committee.

Chris Barbic with the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the founder of Yes Prep and one of the founding TCSA board directors, was re-elected by the Board of Directors in December to serve as a Business/Community Director on the TCSA Board.

Claire Cormier Thielke, the COO of Interests, LP, the global real estate developer and property manager was elected by the Board of Directors this month to serve as a Business/Community Director on the board. Her expertise in construction management and real estate is sure to give TCSA valuable new expertise.

George Pedraza with Wells Fargo Public Finance, and one of the founders of Brooks Academy of Science and Engineering, was elected by the Board this month to serve as a Business/Community Director.

Joe Hoffer, a partner with Schulman, Lopez, Hoffer & Adelstein, LLP and one of TCSA’s attorneys in school finance litigation, was elected by the Board of Directors this month to serve as a Business/Community Director.  Joe is well known in the charter school community and will bring valuable expertise in charter law and policy to the TCSA Board.

Yvette Ostolaza is a corporate lawyer who runs the Dallas office of Sidley and Austin, one of the largest international law firms in the U.S. Yvette was elected by the Board of Directors this month to serve as a Business/Community Director. Yvette will bring strong corporate and law firm relationships in Texas and nationally and business and legal expertise.

Please click here to read full bios for each of our directors.

The TCSA Nominations Committee is pleased to announce the 2018 Special Election Nomination Slate for the Standing Small School Board of Director position. The slate is available on the voting page of the TCSA Quality Portal.

Electronic voting, and candidate information is available now on the voting page. As a reminder, charter leaders are the designated voting representative and only small member schools are eligible to vote in this special election. Voting closes at 12 midnight CST on January 31st, 2018. Election results and any runoff (if necessary) will be conducted by paper ballot at the Member Council Meeting in Austin on February 1st, 2018 (Register here for the Feb. 1st Member Council Meeting)..

We encourage you to read more about the candidates on the voting portal.

Questions? Please contact Maria-Theresa Sigua at


Standing Member School Small Board of Director (1 vacancy)
David Ray, St. Anthony
Eva Sankey, Basis Texas - San Antonio
Howard Davis, Chaparral Star Academy
Jo Ann Simmons, University of Texas at Tyler
Rebecca Good, Legacy Preparatory
Virginia Lannen, Genesis School (Pegasus)

TCSA Members, 

TCSA will hold a special election to elect a second Small Standing Member School representative to the TCSA Board of Directors. Please note there is a short time frame for this special election. Nominations are due January 19, 2018 and voting begins January 23, 2018. Election results and any run-off (if necessary) will be held on February 1, 2018 at the TCSA Member Council Meeting.

In accordance with Section 3.2 of the TCSA Bylaws, the TCSA Board of Directors recently approved a Large Standing Member School Directorship for Responsive Education Solutions (RES) as RES has reached a student enrollment of over 20,000 students. Pursuant to Section 3.5 of the TCSA Bylaws, a Small Standing Member School Directorship shall be created for each Large Standing Member School Directorship created. Small Standing Member School Director positions are elected by the membership and subject to charter leadership two year term periods.

The Candidate Nomination Form is attached here. You may also access election forms and information through the TCSA Quality Member Portal.

Forms may also be submitted via email to or online through the TCSA Quality Portal or through Survey Monkey. Candidate Nomination Forms are due no later than January 19, 2018. If you wish to include a bio and campaign video for voters to view, please submit both along with your completed nomination form. Please note that you must be a 2018 charter holder member and small school to participate in this special election. Small schools are defined as a charter holder that educates 1499 students or less in Texas.

If you would like to nominate someone other than yourself, please reach out to that potential candidate and ask him or her to complete the Candidate Nomination Form.

If you have any questions or have problems accessing the voting pages on our portal, please contact Maria-Theresa Sigua at


The 2017 Nomination Slate was recently announced and there are a total of 14 positions open for TCSA’s leadership election this year.  The slate is available on the voting page of the TCSA Quality Portal and charter leaders must log in to view the voting page.

Electronic voting, candidate bios, and campaign videos will be available on the voting page on September 21, 2017. Charters leaders are the designated voting representative for its charter and charters are permitted to only vote for leadership positions within their own size and charter mission categories. Voting closes at 12 midnight CST on October 11, 2017, and election winners will be announced at the Annual Meeting and Member Council Luncheon at the 2017 Texas Charter Schools Conference on October 12, 2017.

We hope that every eligible member participates in this election, and we encourage you to learn more about the candidates from their videos.  Additionally, please reach out to candidates directly with any outstanding questions or concerns. 

If you have questions about the election, please email Maria-Theresa Sigua at


Member Council Vice-Chair (1 vacancy)

Jennifer Goodman, Odyssey Academy


Board Member - Large School Representative (3 vacancies)

Aaron Kindel, Great Hearts Texas

Brent Wilson, Life School

Eddie Conger, International Leadership of Texas

Mark Larson, KIPP San Antonio

Matt Abbott, Wayside Schools

Recy Dunn, YES Prep


Board Member - Small School Representative (1 vacancy)           

David Ray, St. Anthony

Michelle Bonton, The Rhodes School

Rebecca Good, Legacy Preparatory Charter Academy


Board Member - Standing Member School Small Representative (1 vacancy)

Alfredo Segura, Jr., New Frontiers Charter School


Elected Advocacy Committee – Large School Representative (2 vacancies)

Lisa Freeman Schutz, Brooks Academy

Samuel Goessling, IDEA Public Schools


Elected Advocacy Committee – Small School Representative (2 vacancies)

Alexis Neumann, Rapoport Academy

David Ray, St. Anthony

John Armbrust, Austin Achieve

Michelle Bonton, The Rhodes School

Ron Nelms, Calvin Nelms Charter Schools

Virginia Lannen, Pegasus School of Liberal Arts


Elected Advocacy Committee - College Preparatory Representative (1 vacancy)

Alexis Neumann, Rapoport Academy

Matt Abbott, Wayside


Elected Advocacy Committee - Dropout Recovery Representative (1 vacancy)

Brady Schott, Winfree Academy Charter Schools


Elected Advocacy Committee – Early Childhood & Elementary Education Representative

(1 vacancy)

William Clark, Stepping Stones Charter Elementary


Elected Advocacy Committee – Specialized Mission Representative (1 vacancy)

Virginia Lannen, Pegasus School of Liberal Arts

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.

Since its founding, the Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA) has sought out independent directors with a passion for education and a desire to improve the lives of Texas students to serve on the TCSA Board of Directors.

For four years, Secretary Rod Paige has served as our Chairman, and we are forever grateful for his time and dedication to the mission of TCSA and his tireless efforts on behalf of Texas public charter school students. As his responsibilities have increased in his new role as Jackson State University's Interim President, Secretary Paige has stepped down as Chairman of the Board. TCSA and the students of Texas have benefited from his leadership and commitment to provide Texas families a choice in public education to best meet the needs of their children.

I am thrilled to announce that the TCSA Board of Directors has elected Tom Castro to serve as Chairman and as a community and business representative on the TCSA Board of Directors. Tom is an experienced businessman having run a media company, oilfield service company, and managed private equity. He has worked on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. but equally important, Tom has devoted countless hours to organizations educating America's children, and serves on the Board of Yes Prep Public Schools in Houston, the National Board of Teach for America, and Spellman College in Atlanta. He has formerly served as a board member for the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., the National Council of La Raza in Washington, D.C., and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition in Chicago. Tom resides in Houston with his wife, Jacqueline, a native of Bogotá, Columbia, and their two teenage children.

Tom has the experience and heart to help TCSA continue its momentum as we navigate our next chapter. We are thrilled to have Tom as part of TCSA and look forward to his leadership as our new chair.

After almost a decade of outstanding and unfailing service, our founding executive director, David Dunn, will conclude his leadership at the Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA) in October.

David had a huge task when we asked him to help create our Association in 2008 and no one could have done a better job. Under his leadership:

  • Public charter school student enrollment increased from 90,000 students in 2008-09 to nearly 250,000 in 2015-16, averaging a 13 percent increase annually as compared to two percent growth by the overall public school system. Sixty-seven percent of these students are economically disadvantaged.
  • Parental demand for charter schools swelled significantly to include an additional 141,000 waiting list students, far outpacing existing capacity.
  • Membership in the Association has grown to cover almost 90 percent of all students educated in charter schools in Texas.
  • TCSA developed the Quality Framework, the first comprehensive self-improvement process designed specifically for charter schools, which is a condition of membership in the Association.

In addition, David’s advocacy expertise drove important policy advances for Texas charter schools, most recently:

  • Charter schools’ access to the Permanent School Fund (PSF) Bond Guarantee Program was again expanded during the recently concluded 85th Texas Legislative Session. Charter school participation in this program has already realized a savings of about $10.5 million annually for the next 25 years. It is anticipated that savings will increase four-fold over the next five years, allowing charter schools to better utilize those dollars for classroom and expansion purposes.
  • Support for charter schools in the Texas Legislature has advanced in important ways, including a resounding 144 to 3 defeat for a proposal to defund charter schools during the most recent Texas Legislative Session.
  • Advances were made in prior sessions, including passage of SB 2 in 2013, which raised the cap for charters and also increased accountability. In 2011, TCSA also worked on the passage of legislation providing charters access to the PSF Bond Guarantee Program for the first time.
  • As one of the foremost public school finance experts in Texas, David was an integral part of the plaintiff group representing students in a case that reached the Texas Supreme Court. While the state’s highest court dismissed the group’s claims, the Court recognized the rights of charter school students to an adequate, suitable and efficient education.

David has done a great service for the children and families of Texas by devoting his wisdom, experience and in-depth policy knowledge to our cause. We fully intend to build upon his achievements and continue the progress he has begun under new leadership later this year.

The TCSA Board of Directors has appointed an executive search committee, headed by founding board member, Lori Fey—and also featuring Mike Feinberg, Alfredo Segura, and Kathleen Zimmermann—to lead the process for selecting a new executive director.

We are determined to find a leader who, like David, has the focus to tackle critical issues, a passion for providing quality education options, and the integrity to accomplish our objectives in ways that reflect the TCSA’s values.

David is leaving TCSA to launch a new venture, D2 Strategies, LLC, where he will continue supporting our cause as a consultant in education and other important domestic policy issues.

We want to thank him again for championing our efforts and wish him all the best in his future endeavors. David – you will be very missed.