Following are 10 notable education leaders and their charter management organizations:

1. Larry Rosenstock, High Tech High: the best example of applied and integrated learning I’ve seen. 

2. Dacia Toll, Achievement First: the best operator in the business—it’s the relentless pursuit for excellence through execution that makes AF the best performing network.

3. Eva Moskowitz, Harlem Succes: a great example of a tight network (common school design with strong execution management).

4. Irasema Salcido, Cesar Chavez; I love the public policy focus (particularly given the Washington DC location) and how Irasema’s team has integrated it throughout the curriculum. 

5. Don Shalvey, Aspire: paired elementary and secondary schools with strong college press.  Don is a gem and has the largest music collection in the charter business.

6. Steve Barr, Green Dot: piloting a thin employment contract, parent organizing, and more school level flexibility

7. Dave Domenici and James Foreman, Maya Angelou and See Forever Foundation:  a great high support alternative school model in Washington DC.

8. Rosemary Perlmeter, Uplift and Tom Torkelson, IDEA: two partner Texas networks focused on International Baccalaureate—high quality schools that hold very high standards.

9. Howard Fuller (and now Gerard Robinson), BAEO: Howard borrowed the Edvisions model (like Big Picture) and recruited African American leadership to create quality urban alternatives. 

10. JC Huizinga, National Heritage: a for-profit operator that has quietly achieved scale with quality traditional schools.   Educational management companies (including Mosaica, Leona, Edison, etc) now serve more kids than CMOs.

Honorable mention: KIPP and Big Picture aren’t technically CMOs but both large and important ‘franchise’ charter developers.  KIPP is important for scaled quality.  Big Picture is a pioneer in personalized learning .   

Other high quality CMOs include Perspectives and Noble in Chicago; Friendship in Washington DC; Envision in San Francisco; PUC, ICEF, and Alliance in LA; and others I forgot to mention.  The good news is that the list gets longer every year. 

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Tom Vander Ark is author of Difference Making at the Heart of Learning, The Power of Place, Better Together, Smart Parents, Smart Cities and Getting Smart. He is co-founder of Getting Smart and Learn Capital and serves on the boards of Education Board Partners, 4.0 Schools, Digital Learning Institute, Latinx Education Collaborative, Mastery Transcript Consortium and eduInnovation. Follow Tom on Twitter, @tvanderark.


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