WA Charters Announces its 2018-2019 School Leadership and Design Fellows

For Immediate Release | Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Contact: Maggie Meyers at 724-263-9826 or maggie@wacharters.wpenginepowered.com

Seattle—As part of its mission to advocate and support the development of high-quality charter public schools, the Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters) today announced it has selected the following candidates for its 2018-2019 WA Charters School Leadership and Design Fellowship. Fellows will design a community-responsive school and write a charter application for submission to an authorizer in March 2019 or March 2020. If authorized, they will open their schools in August 2020 or 2021.

“We are thrilled to be supporting four talented leadership teams as they build out their vision for high-quality charter public schools and make their visions a reality for Washington state kids,” said WA Charters CEO Patrick D’Amelio. “We know that one size does not fit all kids when it comes to public education. We have high confidence that each of these new, innovative models will create excellent options for students for whom traditional options are not a perfect fit.”

Notably, two of the schools being incubated are seeking to open in regions where there are not currently charter school options—Bremerton and Wenatchee.

About the fellows:

Catalyst Public Schools | Co-Founders: Amanda Gardner and Tatiana Epanchin

Proposed School Type and Location: K-8 in Bremerton, WA

About: Catalyst will offer families an innovative learning model that puts the needs of each student at the center. Hallmarks of the Catalyst model will include small group instruction, hands-on, project based learning, and dynamic supports to ensure that each and every student, regardless of their background, thrives.  A focus on social-emotional learning and leadership development will ensure that students become positive change makers in our community and world.

About the Co-Founders: An opportunity gap-closing charter school founder, Amanda Gardner led Boston Preparatory Charter Public School and UP Academy Charter School of Boston, two of the top-performing schools in Boston, MA. Most recently, Amanda served as the Vice-President of Schools at Innovate Public Schools. Tatiana Epanchin co-founded and co-leads School Leader Lab, which builds school leadership capacity in high-performing charter schools in Washington, D.C. Previously, Tatiana served as a senior vice president for Teach for America, and as an award-winning principal, founding principal, and regional superintendent for the Bay Area at Aspire Public Schools.

Anticipated Opening Date: August 2020

Columbia Prep | Co-Founders: Rick Wray and Sara Rolfs                                                               

Proposed School Type and Location: 6-12 in Wenatchee, WA

About: Columbia Prep is designed to meet a need for an additional public school option identified in the Wenatchee Valley. A lead partner and integral part of the regional strategic action plan “Our Valley Our Future”, Columbia Prep’s middle and high school model is rooted in a competency-based learning framework. Key tenets of the model include: place-based education, social and emotional learning, and professional development and collaboration for teachers, who will also serve as student mentors. As part of a larger regional collective impact vision, Columbia Prep seeks to be a year-round community learning center that serves, and is informed by, Wenatchee students and families.

About the Co-Founders: Rick Wray is a seasoned nonprofit leader, having founded, fundraised for, and managed operations of multiple education-focused organizations. Sara Rolfs is a longtime Wenatchee resident who has launched several successful education-focused efforts in the community.

Anticipated School Opening Date: August 2021

Cascade Public Schools | Co-Founders: Garth Reeves and Scott Canfield

Proposed School Type and Location: 9-12 in South King County

About: Cascade’s school design is focused on promoting deep inquiry through interdisciplinary, project-based curriculum and personalized learning plans. A formalized mentorship program will be developed in conjunction with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound. Social-emotional wellness is a key part of the model and will be honed using restorative practices.

About the Co-Founders: Seasoned public school administrators and former teachers, Garth Reeves and Scott Canfield have concentrated on creating positive discipline environments for students and have convened a diverse school design team that demonstrates strong capacity.

Anticipated School Opening Date: August 2021

Lumen High School | Founder: Shauna Edwards

Proposed School Type and Location: 9-12 in Spokane, WA

About: Lumen High School will provide a flexible, rigorous curriculum for teen parents who have limited schooling options available to them due to their need for childcare and social services. The school will have an on-site child development facility and a research-based curriculum for the children of the high school students. Lumen is seeking to provide wrap-around on-site services, such as life skills courses, and medical, dental, mental health, and nutrition resources and supports.

About the Founder: Shauna Edwards served as the Director of Spokane YoungLives, a nonprofit that supports teenage parents for ten years. Shauna brings a wealth of experience in education, counseling, management, and program development, and specialized understanding of teen parents and their needs as learners and parents.

Anticipated School Opening Date: August 2021