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Meet 7 Changemakers Who Are Raising Their Voices for Public Education

Veney: This National Charter Schools Week, celebrating school choice and advocates' passion for making sure every child gets a quality education.

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools/Eamonn Fitzmaurice

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During National Charter Schools Week 2024, May 12-18, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, in partnership with the students, parents, teachers, leaders and advocates of the public charter school community nationwide, celebrates the vital role charter schools play in public education as well as the people in the movement advocating for more and better for all kids. This year, the National Alliance is proud to recognize seven Charter School Changemakers — parents, educators and a student — who are not afraid to raise their voices and fight for what they believe in.

Jametrice Powell McAdams

Jametrice Powell McAdams, a parent of a charter school student from Hueytown, Alabama, says, “Raising my voice for all charter schools starts with me raising my voice for my son’s charter school. Raising my voice means standing up for my son’s future. Raising my voice means being an active fighter against the school-to prison-pipeline statistics. Raising my voice means my son gets a fair shot at a quality education.”

Julia Rivera-Tapia

Julia Rivera-Tapia, charter school parent and administrator from Las Cruces, New Mexico, says, “Advocating for charter schools has become one of the most important responsibilities I have. I believe that every family deserves the freedom to choose the best school for their children, and charter schools offer that option. As a parent myself, I have seen the transformative effect that charter schools can have on children’s academic and personal growth. My three children have been studying in charter schools since the beginning of their academic journey, and I have personally witnessed the positive impact it has had on their lives, enabling them to achieve great success in their studies while retaining their bilingualism and becoming amazing individuals.”

Zak Domingello

“Raising my voice for charter schools means making sure all families have a choice to send their students to a school that best represents them. When I raise my voice for charter schools, I am doing so for our community and our students, who deserve the opportunities we provide and the ability to navigate and make informed choices about their child’s future. More people need to be aware of the power of community and culturally grounded education,” says Zak Domingello, executive director at Ricardo Flores Magon Academy in Denver.

Eric Pettigrew

Former Washington State lawmaker Eric Pettigrew says, “As a member of our state House, I became an advocate for charter public schools — which I believe provide a great complement to traditional public schools, especially for students of color. This past legislative session, as our lawmakers considered what policies to advance, I continued to advocate for these unique public schools and urged my former colleagues to ensure that all students across Washington state have access to a public school that meets their needs.”

Cheryl Stahle

Cheryl Stahle, academic administrator at West Virginia Virtual Academy in Parkersburg, says, “My ‘why’ as an advocate for charter schools is deeply rooted in the belief that every child deserves the opportunity to succeed and reach their full potential. Charter schools teach children that anything is possible when they embrace the unknown without fear. I am passionate about empowering young people to shape their own destinies and showing them the unlimited possibilities that are only constrained by their imagination. Through my work in charter schools, I strive to be a quiet disrupter and leave a legacy of transformative change in the lives of students and families.”

Dr. Chris Her-Xiong

“Public charter schools such as the Hmong American Peace Academy are transformational,” says Dr. Chris Her-Xiong, founder and executive director of the Milwaukee school. “The scholars are transformed from at-risk to ambitious, independent thinkers and prepared to succeed in college and in life. The families are transformed through the children taking strides toward success, opting out of the cycle of poverty and lack of opportunity. The communities served by the schools are transformed through shared ambitions and experiences. The cities are transformed through the proof that turnarounds are possible and that education can deliver on its promise of prosperity. To transform a life is to transform our world, and that is why I advocate for charter schools.” 

Daniyal Hussain

Daniyal Hussain, a high school senior at Cottonwood Classical Preparatory Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico, says, “Something that makes me most excited about the future of public education is the aspect of student advocacy. I originally thought that because I was a high school student, no one would want to listen to what I had to say. That was far from the truth. In fact, I was able to attend recent legislative meetings where I could say what I truly thought was important. I am excited for the future where we will have more students speaking out and more people wanting to listen to students about what is truly needed for public education.”

When we raise our voices, more people hear us. That’s why we raise our voices to advocate for charter schools. We need everyone to hear us screaming from the rooftops: Every student deserves a high-quality public education.

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