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

For Immediate Release | October 22, 2013

WA Charters fellow Kristina Bellamy-McClain will lead meetings in Tacoma to discuss community needs and answer questions about public charter schools

TACOMA – A series of public forums will take place in Tacoma to engage communities and families in the process to open high-performing public charter schools. Kristina Bellamy-McClain, a long-time public school educator and senior fellow with the Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters), will lead three community forums at Bates Technical College to discuss community needs and answer questions about charter schools.

Bellamy-McClain will host community forums at the following times.

Wednesday, October 29, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. (Light dinner)
Bates Technical College Auditorium
1101 S. Yakima Ave
Tacoma, WA 98405
Also featuring: Green Dot Public Schools and Summit Public Schools

Wednesday, November 13, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. (Light dinner)
Bates Technical College Auditorium
1101 S. Yakima Ave
Tacoma, WA 98405
Note: Location may change

Saturday, November 16, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (Breakfast)
Bates Technical College South Campus
2201 S. 78th Street
Tacoma, WA 98409

The forums are taking place in October and November as Bellamy-McClain works to put together an application to open a charter school before the deadline on Nov. 22. Applications from Bellamy-McClain and other hopeful charter school operators must be submitted to the Washington State Charter School Commission or to Spokane Public Schools, the first district approved to be a charter school authorizer. Twenty-three individuals and organizations sent in their letters of intent on Oct. 22 to be considered. Charter schools in Washington state must be operated by a nonprofit organization.

Bellamy-McClain is interested in opening a Kindergarten through Eighth grade school that engages all students through a rigorous college-prep curriculum and arts integration.

Bellamy-McClain has worked in public education for more than 13 years. Prior to being named a WA Charters fellow, she was principal at Emerson Elementary School, a high-poverty school in Southeast Seattle. She began teaching through Teach for America and went on to teach in Lynwood, California, and Anchorage, Alaska, before becoming a principal. She earned a master’s degree in education, educational leadership from the University of Alaska Anchorage and another master’s degree in elementary education from Loyola Marymount University.

As a senior fellow with WA Charters, Bellamy-McClain has received coaching on writing a charter school application and recruiting strong board members. She also participated in learning 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 approved 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