Staff

Washington State Charter School Association


Thomas Franta

Tom Franta joined WA Charters as CEO in 2014. A United States Marine Corps veteran, Tom has spent the majority of his career supporting public education….

Tom Franta joined WA Charters as CEO in 2014. A United States Marine Corps veteran, Tom has spent the majority of his career supporting public education. Before leading WA Charters, Tom served as the Director of Office of New Schools for Minneapolis Public Schools, where he oversaw a portfolio of innovative school options.  Previously, he served as the Associate General Counsel at the Charter Schools Institute of the State University of New York, one of the nation’s most reputable charter school authorizers. Before that, Tom was and education lawyer in private practice, primarily representing students, teachers, and school districts.

Following his service in the Marine Corps, through the GI Bill, Tom became the first in his family to earn a college degree at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh, and was later awarded a law degree from the Syracuse University College of Law. Tom recognizes the transformative power that a great education can have, and fundamentally believes that all students are capable of excelling in public school as long as adults take the time to understand their individual needs and have the flexibility to meet those needs.

A native of upstate New York, Tom resides in King County with his wife and two children, both of whom attend their local public school.

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Rekha Bhatt

Rekha is the Director of School Services at the Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters). Previously, she was a founding Director of Curriculum and…

Rekha is the Director of School Services at the Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters). Previously, she was a founding Director of Curriculum and Instruction at an independent charter school in Brooklyn, New York, and later served as the school’s Director of Operations. Rekha began her career in education in West Philadelphia, where she taught high school English and earned her M.S.Ed at the University of Pennsylvania. Rekha is committed to working for equity in public education to improve outcomes for all students.

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Blanca Chavez

Blanca serves as WA Charters’ Operations Manager. Blanca’s background is in higher education, having previously worked with the University of Washington’s College of Education Early…

Blanca serves as WA Charters’ Operations Manager. Blanca’s background is in higher education, having previously worked with the University of Washington’s College of Education Early Childhood and Family Studies program.  A Leavenworth, WA native, Blanca is passionate about providing quality public education to students in Washington state. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington, and recently finished her Masters of Science in Human Resource Management and International Relations from the University of Kent in Canterbury, United Kingdom. She also served as a Student Ambassador during her Master’s program in the UK, working with the university and local students and inform them about higher education.

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Nancy Durham

Nancy is the Finance Manager at WA Charters. Nancy became involved in public education and youth development while working at the KIPP Foundation and the…

Nancy is the Finance Manager at WA Charters. Nancy became involved in public education and youth development while working at the KIPP Foundation and the Forum for Youth Investment, which provide education and programs to underserved communities throughout the nation. Inspired by the dedication of the students in charter school communities, Nancy returned to college after a decade-long hiatus to earn a degree in Accounting from Bowie State University, a historically black university in Bowie, MD.

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Bill Kiolbasa

As Chief Finance and Operations Officer, Bill believes deeply that school quality is driven by effective teachers and in-touch leaders, both of whom are fostered…

As Chief Finance and Operations Officer, Bill believes deeply that school quality is driven by effective teachers and in-touch leaders, both of whom are fostered by the autonomy and accountability charter schools provide. Bill joined WA Charters from Future Is Now Schools, a nationwide effort to increase teacher involvement in the issues affecting their schools and districts. Prior to Future Is Now, he worked at Civitas Education Partners in Chicago, managing the EMO’s financial function while also leading research and benchmarking efforts for the organization’s human capital strategy. Bill’s first work with charter schools came as a volunteer baseball coach while working in venture philanthropy at The Chicago Public Education Fund. Bill received a BS in Accounting and Sociology at the University of Notre Dame and earned CPA credentials while beginning his career in public accounting.

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Francesca McDaniel

Francesca, or Franki, serves as WA Charters’ Parent Engagement and Advocacy Coordinator. Previously, Franki worked within Seattle Public Schools, facilitating family and student engagement and…

Francesca, or Franki, serves as WA Charters’ Parent Engagement and Advocacy Coordinator. Previously, Franki worked within Seattle Public Schools, facilitating family and student engagement and created professional development programming focusing on race and equity. A champion for all kids, Frank maintains close relationships with the students, families, and community leaders she formerly served, while she embraces the chance to engage new families in her work at WA Charters. She received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Seattle Pacific University, where she focused on public policy and women’s studies. Franki is a strong advocate for quality public education, women’s rights, and race and equity, having previously volunteered with organizations in her hometown of Los Angeles, and is currently active as a volunteer to local efforts here in Seattle.

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Maggie Meyers

As the Director of Communications, Maggie drives the development of, manages, and implements all communications functions at WA Charters to broaden the reach and deepen…

As the Director of Communications, Maggie drives the development of, manages, and implements all communications functions at WA Charters to broaden the reach and deepen the impact of the organization’s messaging and programming. Maggie received her B.A. from Bowdoin College and earned her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction degree from the University of Washington, where she specialized in the area of Language, Literacy and Culture. Maggie is deeply committed to reducing inequities and closing opportunity and achievement gaps, and this commitment drives her work at WA Charters. Maggie has worked in children’s book publishing, as a magazine coordinator, a substitute teacher, and for the Manhattan Youth Downtown Community Center. She joined WA Charters in February 2014.

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Mitch Price

Mitch is a founding team member of WA Charters. Previously, he worked on the successful statewide ballot measure campaign in support of Initiative 1240, which…

Mitch is a founding team member of WA Charters. Previously, he worked on the successful statewide ballot measure campaign in support of Initiative 1240, which authorized the creation of charter public schools in Washington. Prior to that, Mitch was a researcher at the University of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Public Education, where his work focused on education law and policy. Mitch has also worked as an attorney, a college admissions and financial aid counselor, and a substitute teacher.

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Amy Van

Amy is Project Manager for the Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters). She has a background on community development and engagement, having previously served…

Amy is Project Manager for the Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters). She has a background on community development and engagement, having previously served at the Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs, and remains active within local Asian Pacific American community-based organizations. Amy advocates for grassroots efforts committed to education reform and civic engagement. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies with a focus on development.

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Happy Valentine's Day! Share if you <3 your local charter school! ... See MoreSee Less

We're hosting a night just for educators! Join us February 22 to meet the school leaders who are hiring for 2017-18! Learn more and RSVP at wacharters.org/teach. ... See MoreSee Less

A new charter public school opened in Seattle! Summit Atlas in West Seattle serves grades 6-9 in 2017 and will soon expand to 6-12. Learn more: wacharters.org/enroll-seattle/ ... See MoreSee Less

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