Press Release: National Charter School Hall Of Fame Member & Accomplished Researcher Among Charter Forum Speakers

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Update: Watch the Livestream video recording of this event:

BOSTON – A member of the National Charter Schools Hall of Fame and an accomplished education researcher will be among the speakers at “Best Practices from Urban Charter Schools,” a Pioneer Institute forum to be held at Boston’s Omni Parker House hotel on Wednesday, May 4th from 8:00-9:50 a.m.

Deborah McGriff will deliver the keynote address at the event. McGriff is a managing partner with NewSchools Venture Fund, where she focuses on closing the demographic gap between students, executive leaders and governing boards. She has led expansion efforts for low-income and working class students’ access to high-quality charter schools in 17 of the nation’s largest cities. She was the first female senior district administrator in Cambridge, Milwaukee and Detroit. She also founded and was acting president/vice chair of the Black Alliance for Educational Options. Last year, McGriff was inducted into the National Charter Schools Hall of Fame.

Cara Stillings Candal, a former high school English teacher and test and curriculum development specialist at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, will make a policy presentation at the event. She was a founding team member at the National Academy of Advanced Teacher Education, where she continues to consult. Candal is also an adjunct faculty member in educational leadership and policy studies at the Boston University School of Education and a Pioneer Institute senior fellow.

The keynote and policy presentation will be followed by a panel moderated by WCVB NewsCenter 5 State House Reporter Janet Wu. The panel will include Jeanne Allen, a senior fellow, founder and president emerita of The Center for Education Reform, and Kevin Andrews, who was founding headmaster of Boston’s Neighborhood House Charter School. Previously, Andrews was a school principal in Newton and Brookline and president of the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association.

Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, where he focuses on topics such as education, equal opportunity and civil rights, will also serve on the panel. He is the author of Tough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battles over Schools, Unions, Race, and Democracy. Kahlenberg will be joined by Fitchburg Public Schools Superintendent André Ravenelle, who is the current president of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents.

There will be time for audience questions after the addresses and the panel discussion.

Welcoming remarks will be delivered by Pioneer Institute Executive Director Jim Stergios.

The event is co-sponsored by Harvard Kennedy School’s Program on Education Policy and Governance, the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association, the Center for Education reform, SABIS®, the Black Alliance for Educational Options, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, and Families for Excellent Schools.

The event is free and open to the public, and will be available for live online viewing. To attend, please register online.


Pioneer Institute is an independent, non-partisan, privately funded research organization that seeks to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts through civic discourse and intellectually rigorous, data-driven public policy solutions based on free market principles, individual liberty and responsibility, and the ideal of effective, limited and accountable government.