The WA Charters Board of Directors is pleased to announce that effective July 1, 2022, Rekha Bhatt, Haid Bloxham, and Natalie Hester will be stepping into the roles of Co-Presidents to lead WA Charters in our next chapter. The co-presidency model is an innovative approach that centers equity, disrupts the status quo, and actively works to dismantle traditional power structures through distributed leadership. We are grateful to antiracist leaders and local organizations who have gone first and inspired this model. This distributive leadership will be reflected not only at the executive level, but across the entire organization.
We are deeply grateful to Patrick D’Amelio for his contributions to the organization and sector throughout his five-year tenure. We have made progress, but the work is not done. In fact, there is an urgent need to keep moving forward because students need community-rooted, identity-affirming schools now. We believe full-heartedly that Rekha, Haid, and Natalie are the right team to lead us toward our organizational vision of an anti-racist, student-centered public education system accessible to all students.
The Washington state charter public school sector is small but mighty. Since its inception, our sector has demonstrated its nimbleness, forward-thinking, resilience, and deep commitment to equity, and we have continually navigated change while centering marginalized students, families, educators, and communities. We are entering a critical period in which we need leaders who deeply know the context, understand the work, and embrace our organizational values of antiracism, collaborative partnership, cultural humility, and educational justice.
In Rekha, Haid, and Natalie, we have a trio of leaders that bring rich, diverse perspectives and experiences. These three women – all proud mothers – have already been leading the sector as senior vice presidents in their respective domains of School Programs, Finance and Administration, and Policy. Together, they are the right team to lead us through our bold new strategic plan.
Rekha Bhatt will serve as Co-President, Innovative Schools. Rekha brings over seven years of committed, mission-driven leadership at WA Charters, including serving as Interim ED in 2017. As the lead of our body of programming, Rekha brings experience as a former teacher and school founder, and deep charter school incubation and operations expertise.
Haid Bloxham will serve as Co-President, Finance and Operations. Haid is deeply experienced in K-12 funding and finance, including federal and state charter funding and makes decisions rooted in the interest of our member schools, sector, and students.
Natalie Hester will serve as Co-President, External Affairs. Natalie has been a long-time advocate for public education and offers expertise in family- and community-centered policy and grassroots organizing. Her deep relationship building serves as a bridge between legislators and communities. Natalie has been an integral member of the state’s charter public school movement since its inception as a founding charter parent, school cofounder, and board member.
Rekha, Haid, and Natalie’s deep familiarity with the sector and our stakeholders and their mission-aligned mindsets will be critical to the stability and success of our organization. We are grateful for their leadership as we advance toward our mission of centering students and delivering antiracist, community-rooted public education to Washington families and communities.