As we kick off 2018, the horizon is bright for both public charter schools and our association. As interim CEO, the prospect of selecting a permanent leader for TCSA is exciting. I am actively involved with the search committee to ensure we attract top candidates that share our passion for public charter education.  The association staff, board members, and committee leaders are making good use of time while the CEO search is underway. In the next few weeks, I will be hitting the road to visit with charter leaders to learn more about what we can do to improve our services and meet the needs of all TCSA member schools.

There are a lot of things we can be proud of at TCSA during our first decade. Our advocacy gains from last session – the first ever state facilities funding and the passage of the “minutes” bill from last legislative session are historic. In 2017, TCSA reviewed nearly 6,700 bills, provided more than 1,895 hours of training, and had more than 1,600 attendees at our annual conference. We can’t rest on past success. Now is the time to take stock of what works well at TCSA, but also focus on the future and ways we can be even more effective in the coming years.

Everything is on the table – from the way we set our legislative agenda, to the type of professional development we offer, to how we stay in touch and operate as a member led organization. Are there ways to make the member council more relevant to you, or ensure our legislative agenda addresses your concerns?  Do our trainings provide what your management team seeks? I don't believe you should fix what isn't broken, or make change simply for change sake, but we can always be better, stronger, and more efficient.  So now is the time to speak up, step forward, and share your ideas about the future of TCSA.

In the coming weeks we will launch several working groups that will re-envision core areas of operation: advocacy, training and services, and the member council. I encourage you to attend the next council meeting on February 1st. We will have more details at that meeting, and begin work on our advocacy agenda for the 86th Legislature. Now less than a year away, it's time to focus on our future legislative goals. We will also discuss the rulemaking underway at the TEA regarding district-charter partnerships.

It's my privilege to volunteer as your interim CEO. This is one way I can give back to the association that’s worked hard to advance public charter schools in Texas. Stay tuned, but more importantly – get involved in shaping the future of TCSA. Working together, our next decade will be even better than our first.

Knight Office Solutions (KOS) is a locally-owned and operated authorized dealer for Ricoh, Sharp, and Lexmark products and services. We’re proud to announce that we’ve recently joined the TCSA network of solution providers. We’re honored to fill the void and serve as TCSA's turnkey solutions provider for copiers and printers. KOS has been working with Trinity Charter School since 2014 and recently added Wayside Schools to our growing list of charter school partners.  In fact, TCSA's own office copier is from KOS. As a local business, we felt it was important to grow and be an integral part of our community. We can’t think of a better way to do that than to provide products and services to one of the most important institutions of any community…public charter schools.

I was fortunate enough to meet Chad Riley, Director of Growth and Strategy, and Zac Ziebarth of Wayside Schools at a time when they’re both working hard to reduce the schools’ operating cost, planning a strategy for sustainable growth, and doing their due diligence to ensure that the schools’ budget is astutely allocated. In Wayside Schools’ particular case, Chad commented that “after years of being underserved and overcharged,” KOS “was able to analyze our situation and provide the best hardware and maintenance solutions for our growing Charter School’s needs.” Our starting point is always to analyze, crunch the numbers, and share the information we’ve learned from our cost-analysis with potential clients before any “sale” is ever mentioned.

During the sales stage with Wayside Schools, KOS was hit was the devastating news of losing one of our beloved technician, Cathy Standage. It took an emotional toll on all of us but no one was hit harder than our owner, George Ross. When he found out I had the opportunity to work with a public charter school, he made a commitment to establish a scholarship in Cathy’s name and recently presented Chad Riley with the check to honor that pledge.

We understand you have many options when it comes to copier companies and we hope Knight Office Solutions will be the starting point in an honest evaluation of your school’s document management cost and needs. Please feel free to contact us, we’ll do most of the work to ensure that the benefactor of competition is YOU.

TCSA member schools should contact Troy Nguyen at 512-617-7080 ext. 137 or troyn@kosaustin.com

For general inquiries about TCSA's Solution Providers, contact Nadia Luna at 512-584-8272 or nluna@txcharterschools.org

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