10 Notable CMOs

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. 

Tom - Speaking Engagements

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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