Friday, December 03, 2010

Nashville's enthusiasm for charter schools attracts visionaries

A similar article in Nashville, profiling Ravi Gupta, whose job openings I highlighted in my last email:

Ravi Gupta earned a Yale Law School degree, ran some of President Barack Obama's campaign offices and spent a year as a top aide to the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. At 27, he was easily qualified for a career in politics.

But what did he want to do? Start a charter school.

He applied for and won an $80,000 fellowship launched by Mayor Karl Dean to open one in Nashville.

"I was open to anywhere, as long as the need was there," Gupta said. "There is tremendous momentum, support and enthusiasm for charter schools in Nashville."

Like many others, he's stepping up to the front line of public education reform. Risk-takers armed with a strong vision, these founders hope to build experimental classrooms from the ground up to give parents another option to get their children to college.

Some are from the community, while others compete for fellowships offered by a growing number of charter management organizations.

Gupta was trained through a million-dollar incubator, which draws funding from Race to the Top winnings, the Walton Foundation and the mayor's education fund. It aims to recruit a couple of charter school leaders each year from inside the state and nationally.

After spending a year touring some of the best charter schools in the country, Gupta relocated to Nashville and is the first of two fellows spawned from the Center for Charter School Excellence. He will open Nashville Prep next fall to reach at-risk North Nashville middle school students.


Nashville's enthusiasm for charter schools attracts visionaries

Schools' founders take risks to assist struggling students

By Julie Hubbard • THE TENNESSEAN • November 29, 2010

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