National Education Reformer to Build System of Nashville Charter Schools

Press release from the Office of Mayor Karl Dean; Jan. 25, 2012:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Karl Dean and the Tennessee Charter School Incubator announced today that national charter school leader Todd Dickson has been recruited to Nashville to start a network of high-performing charter schools in 2014.

The Incubator will host Dickson as its senior fellow for two years while he finalizes his plans to create a charter management organization of eight to 10 college-preparatory public charter schools focused on measurable outcomes. The schools would be located in Nashville, and Dickson intends to submit a charter application to Metro Nashville Public Schools to open at least one school in 2014.

Dickson, executive director of Summit Preparatory Charter High School in California, is well-known for educational successes with economically, ethnically and racially diverse populations. In 2010, Newsweek magazine named Summit Prep as one of the top 10 transformational schools in the country, and the school’s model was also highlighted as an education solution in the highly acclaimed documentary Waiting for Superman. Since 2007, some 96 percent of Summit graduates have earned acceptance to four-year colleges.

“Securing a highly sought-after leader in education reform like Todd is an outstanding achievement for the Tennessee Charter School Incubator and the city of Nashville,” Dean said. “Of all the places Todd could have gone, we are pleased that he has chosen Nashville to launch his charter management organization. I commend the great work of the Incubator and others to position Nashville as a top destination for those leading innovation in education.”

Mayor Dean helped launch the Tennessee Charter School Incubator in 2009 to recruit high-quality charter operators to Nashville and Tennessee. Dickson is the first national charter leader to participate in the Incubator.

“After reviewing options in other states, such as California and Colorado, I knew that Tennessee was where my wife and I wanted to be,” Dickson said. “One of the key factors in our decision was the Incubator’s fellowship offer. The opportunity allows me to develop my network and provides me with the resources and support I will need to launch my charter management organization in 2014.”

Dickson will join the Tennessee Charter School Incubator in July. The Incubator will provide training, resources and support for Dickson as he builds his professional network and develops plans for his charter management organization.

“Thanks to Mayor Dean’s extraordinary leadership in education reform efforts, the climate is right for charter schools in Nashville,” said Greg Thompson, CEO of the Tennessee Charter School Incubator. “Rebecca Lieberman, our director of talent recruitment, is leading the effort to recruit top performers like Todd to Tennessee. We firmly believe that we must have the right leadership in place in order to launch and support high-quality charter schools.”

About the Tennessee Charter School Incubator

As the first statewide charter school incubator in the country, the Tennessee Charter School Incubator was launched with one purpose: to close the education achievement gap in Tennessee by supporting the creation of high-quality charter schools in Memphis and Nashville.

Founded in 2009, the Incubator has an ambitious plan to launch 22 new, high-performing college-preparatory charter schools in Nashville and Memphis by 2015 and to provide support services to existing high-performing charters in these markets. The Incubator believes the quality of these schools will not only set a baseline for what should be demanded of all public schools in Tennessee, but also serve as a catalyst for additional aggressive reforms across the state. For more information, visit www.charterexcellence.org or follow the Incubator on Twitter @TNCSIncubator.

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