News Release: School Leader Hosts Community Forums in Spokane to Discuss Charter Schools

For Immediate Release | October 16, 2013

WA Charters fellow Brenda McDonald will lead meetings in Spokane to discuss community needs and answer questions about public charter schools

SPOKANE – A series of public forums will take place in Spokane to engage communities and families in the process to open high-performing public charter schools. Brenda McDonald, a long-time public school educator and senior fellow with the Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters), will lead three forums to discuss community needs and answer questions about charter schools.

McDonald hosted her first public forum on Friday, Oct. 11. Two additional forums will take place at the Northeast Community Center, located at 4001 N. Cook Street in Spokane:

  • Thursday, Oct. 24 from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 29 from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

The forums are taking place in October as McDonald works to put together an application to open a charter school before the deadline on Nov. 22. McDonald plans to submit her application to Spokane Public Schools, the first district approved as a charter school authorizer in the state. District officials have until Feb. 24 to accept or decline McDonald’s proposal. Other hopeful charter school operators located outside of Spokane can submit applications to the Washington State Charter School Commission. Charter schools in Washington state must be operated by a nonprofit organization.

“Spokane is an amazing community that does whatever it takes to provide high-quality programs for youth. We are excited about exploring partnerships with youth agencies and the community to ensure we create a high-quality, small, personalized 6-12 school,” said McDonald, who is interested in opening Pride Prep, a free college preparatory school for sixth- through 12th-graders considered to be at risk for dropping out.

McDonald spent 20 years in education, most recently as principal of Garry Middle School, located in a low-income Spokane neighborhood. McDonald began her career as a special education teacher and math specialist in Walla Walla. She is currently working on completing her Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Washington State University, where she also earned her Superintendent Credential. She holds two master’s degrees: one in school administration from Whitworth College, and one in curriculum and instruction from Eastern Washington University.

As a senior fellow with WA Charters, McDonald has received coaching on writing a charter school application and recruiting strong board members. She also participated in trips to observe high-performing charter schools in action.

Charter schools are independent public schools that are allowed to be more innovative and are held accountable for improved student achievement. In November 2012, voters and parents came together to approve the Washington Charter School Initiative, allowing for up to 40 charter schools in the state over a five-year period.

About WA Charters

The Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters) is a statewide nonprofit organization that supports the startup of high-quality public charter schools, with a focus on serving at-risk populations and students who do not currently have access to high-performing schools. WA Charters focuses on three key areas of support: providing information about charter schools to the public at large; supporting new leaders to establish high-performing public charter schools; and building community support for public charter schools across Washington. To learn more about public charter schools in Washington, please visit