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2019 League Board Candidates
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2019 League Board Candidates

 

The Colorado League of Charter Schools is one of the strongest charter support organizations in the nation.The League's purpose is to serve, protect, champion and grow the Colorado charter sector. The League has a 25-year history of accomplishments, a remarkable leadership network, and an opportunity to transform public education in Colorado. 

 

Candidates will have an opportunity to present themselves to membership at the Member Forum at the Annual Conference, March 1 from (9:30-10:45 AM). Elections will end on March 1. Each member school is allowed one vote from a representative.

 

This year, we have three strong nominees. Learn more about each one below.

 

Wesley R. Jolly
Director of Academic Services
The Classical Academy

 

 

Wes Jolly hails from Darlington, SC. Upon graduation from the Air Force Academy in 1986, as the Outstanding American History Major, he completed Helicopter Pilot Training.  In 1995, Wes received a Master of Arts degree in U.S. History from George Mason University. After seventeen years of instructional and leadership opportunities, including helicopter unit command, Wes fulfilled a lifelong dream of teaching at his alma mater. While at the Academy, he directed and taught Introduction to Military History, Foundations of Modern America, and American Civil War courses.  During this assignment, he received the Department of History, John F. Shiner award, for Military History teaching excellence. 

Upon retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2006, with over 2,800 flight hours as a command pilot and over fifteen years instructor experience, Wes fulfilled another life goal - accepting a high school history teaching position at The Classical Academy (TCA). During seven years of teaching at TCA from 2006-2013, Wes served as the Social Sciences Department and Instructional Philosophy Lead. While teaching at TCA he was twice chosen by the National Endowment for the Humanities to attend highly selective summer programs. Wes also served, for nearly three years, as an Adjunct Professor in U.S. History at Pikes Peak Community College.  In 2013, Wes became The Classical Academy’s, Director of Academic Services, an administrative leadership position, overseeing TCA’s seven schools, on three campuses, serving over 3,700 students and 440+ staff members.  Through this role Wes is involved in all aspects of charter school operations. 

 

Q & A
1. What personal qualifications and professional strengths would you bring to the League’s board of directors?  

As Director of Academic Services at The Classical Academy’s charter schools I oversee and interact with seven schools, 3,750 students, and 449 staff.  During my career I’ve gained valuable leadership experience from a variety of opportunities provided to me during twenty years of service in the Air Force.  Additionally, I have over sixteen years of experience in education at the top-tier university, community college, and K-12 charter levels.  I have taught in charter schools, my three children have all graduated from Colorado public schools, and I understand and champion the opportunity choice provides all of us in the charter community.

2.  How would you enable the board to represent the broad cross-section of member schools and constituencies in the Colorado charter movement? How would you complement other members of the board with different perspectives than your own?

The CLCS board should represent the variety of charters within Colorado.  The Classical Academy is one of thirty charters in El Paso County and with 20+ years experience in the community we recognize the strengths and unique qualities each charter represents.  Over 13% of Colorado’s students attend charters and TCA alone represents 14% of the students in our district.  We recognize that local control is critical and that diverse and innovative methods should be encouraged and celebrated.  Charters do not look the same and that is a strength, not a liability – I will bring that perspective to the CLCS board.

3. How would you help the League address the challenges that charter schools face, especially in the current political climate?

Charters face more challenges nationally, and at the state level, than at any time in the recent past.  Many, through misinformation and a biased narrative, paint charters as a drain monetarily on public education, and that somehow we lack the same accountability.  I fear that narrative will continue to grow.  Opposition is emerging in school boards across the state and in the halls of the legislature.  We must be proactive in countering the false claims, while simultaneously touting our tremendous successes.  We must change the trajectory of the narrative while building coalitions of support across the political and educational spectrum. 

4. How would you enable the League to elevate the quality and efficacy of the Colorado charter school movement?

 

 I’ve been directly involved in the charter community from classroom to executive level leadership for the past 13 years.  I’ve engaged with legislators, community leaders, state board of education members, and legal experts to counter growing encroachments on charters in Colorado.  We must not sit idly by and give up the gains we have made.  I bring a balanced, prudent perspective to the issues that face us.  I value the perspective that local control serves us best, that choice for our kids is critical, and that the League must maintain a proactive stance in the face of the challenges ahead.

5. What other qualifications or values would you like to share?

I truly value the opportunity to be considered for the CLCS board.  As a history teacher my views on education are shaped by the words of both Socrates and John Adams. “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel” – Socrates.  And, “It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue’’ – John Adams.  Let’s elevate and ignite.

 

 

Tim Matlick
Executive Director
Jefferson Academy

 

 

I was born in Costa Rica and grew up in Mexico as a child of American parents working abroad.  As a result, I am fluently bilingual and bicultural with a passion for serving all students regardless of their background. I served as a teacher, coach and administrator at a boarding high school for 9 years and then went into business. After 11 years in business the Colorado charter school movement captivated my attention. Already having a B.S.E and M.Ed., I came back to education with a passion for making a difference for children. I started by leading a young charter school into a top performing and one of the most financially sound schools in the state. I then stepped into a district role during a highly contentious period of mistrust. This was exciting work that has seen great dividends by building understanding, developing trust and helping replace the “us against them” perspective with the concept that “all kids are our kids” regardless of where they go to school. I recently moved back into the role of a charter school leader in order to continue the development of a well respected charter school and be available to help support the work state wide.   

 

 


Q & A

1. What personal qualifications and professional strengths would you bring to the League’s board of directors?  

 

I have a broad background supporting Colorado charter schools including serving as charter school board member (Treasurer & President) for three years, 9 years as a K-8 principal, 4 years as a Community Superintendent for Charter Schools working with 19 schools and about 11,000 students and currently serving as the Executive Director for Jefferson Academy. During this time I helped start the Jeffco Charter School Consortium (JCSC) and subsequently was a founding member of the Colorado Association of Charter School Authorizers (CACSA). Both organizations are focused on developing cooperative best practices between charter schools and districts.

2. How would you enable the board to represent the broad cross-section of member schools and constituencies in the Colorado charter movement? How would you complement other members of the board with different perspectives than your own?

It is important to remember that charter schools are founded on two basic principles – giving parents diverse educational choices for their children and providing a great education for students entrusted to their care. When these principles are respected, conversations move from a potential adversarial approach to a cooperative approach.   Hearing and understanding different points of view is vital to developing plans that serve all students and all families. Not everyone will agree on specific details, but following the two basic principles listed allows the CLCS to support all charter schools and the families they serve.

3. How would you help the League address the challenges that charter schools face, especially in the current political climate?

I actively sought out the role of Community Superintendent (Charter School Liaison) in Jefferson County at the most difficult time in the district’s modern history. Teachers were walking out of classrooms, board members were in the process of being recalled and charter schools were the focus of this divisive conversation. By building understanding, developing positive relationships and focusing on students instead of agendas in my role at the district, we are now seeing charter schools accepted and supported across the district. I am excited to bring the same perspective to the work of the CLCS.


4. How would you enable the League to elevate the quality and efficacy of the Colorado charter school movement?

Colorado charter schools not only need a strong and reasoned voice in statewide political conversations but also highly effective support regardless of the maturity, size or academic programming of each particular school. My objective would be to focus on end results for member schools while holding true to the primary principles that serve children and families. As a membership organization, the CLCS should help ensure all schools are or become highly effective through training, mentoring, general guidance and potentially crisis management and support if needed.

5. What other qualifications or values would you like to share?

My career started with nine years in education and then 11 years in business. After serving on a charter school board, I came back to education with a well defined goal of making a difference in education. This background and perspective has produced great results over the last 17 years at both the school and district levels. Should I have the opportunity to join the CLCS board, I will continue to build understanding, develop partnerships and seek paths to advance the work of providing great educational options statewide. All students deserve a great education and we must work toward that end.

 

 

David Singer
Executive Director

University Prep School

 

 

Fifteen years ago, David Singer started his career as a high school math teacher. While working to change the life trajectories of high school students, Singer recognized the need to serve the same underserved children in the same community with the same families, but from a much younger age. In 2009, Singer was selected for and engaged in the Building Excellent Schools Fellowship, an intensive national leadership training program for future leaders of game-changing urban charter schools. Singer spent the next two years with his founding board and team preparing to launch University Prep, a K-5 public charter school with the sole mission to educate every child for a four-year college degree and a life of opportunity. Opening its doors in August of 2011 to 100 kindergarten and 1st grade scholars, University Prep has since grown to a network of two adjacent campuses serving nearly 600 children.

 

Currently, approximately 88% of the students that University Prep serves qualify for Federal Free & Reduced Lunch, over 90% of students are from families of color, and over 70% of students are English language learners. While its first campus was a slow growth, fresh start school, University Prep’s second campus launched in 2016-17 as a full K-5 turnaround. In 2015-16, University Prep – Arapahoe Street was one of only four “distinguished” rated elementary schools in Denver Public Schools out of nearly one hundred elementary schools. In 2016-17, University Prep – Steele Street, the turnaround campus, had the highest math growth in the state of Colorado out of 1,500 schools and the eighth highest growth in English language arts. During his time as a Principal and now as an Executive Director, Singer has had the opportunity to complete the RELAY Graduate School of Education’s National Principal Fellowship Academy and is currently a member of the 2017-18 Leverage Leadership Institute. Here is a link to the website for University Prep: http://uprepschool.org/

 

Q & A
1. What personal qualifications and professional strengths would you bring to the League’s board of directors?  


Working with our community, a founding board, and a few founding staff members, I had the humbling experience of launching our first elementary campus, University Prep – Arapahoe St., from scratch in the fall of 2011. We now operate two schools within DPS and I am responsible for overseeing a central office team and our two campuses. With nearly a decade of charter school leadership - two years in leadership training programs, five years as a founding principal, and three years as an Executive Director - I bring a decade of “on the ground” experience. In addition, I am currently in my first year serving on the CLCS Board of Directors

2. How would you enable the board to represent the broad cross-section of member schools and constituencies in the Colorado charter movement? How would you complement other members of the board with different perspectives than your own?

Having spent this past year as a Director on the Board of CLCS I have further learned how critical it is to have a genuine cross-section of member schools represented. University Prep, the Charter Management Organization (CMO) I have the privilege of leading, is Denver-based where 59 charter schools exist within the DPS system (more than 20% of the student population in our city). We currently operate two schools serving nearly 700 children in Northeast Denver. Given the backgrounds and experiences of the other board members, my urban charter school experience directly complements the suburban and rural geographies who have strong and important representation.


3. How would you help the League address the challenges that charter schools face, especially in the current political climate?

The issues charters face are varied across each community in our state, and so it is important to start from a place of listening and understanding. Once it’s clear where there are areas of overlap in which the league can play a role in creating a more positive and viable environment for charters, it is our responsibility to intervene in meaningful ways (examples: examining/revamping League services, digging into critical lobbying efforts at the state capitol, or working to ensure greater collaboration across the sector). Overall, the board has to understand the challenges, how the league’s staff will work to address them, and then serve as an oversight body that provides a critical lens combining support and accountability.

4. How would you enable the League to elevate the quality and efficacy of the Colorado charter school movement?

While the league plays many roles in the CO charter landscape, it’s most important role may very well be to ensure our schools deliver on the promises they make to the families and children being served. There is nothing more important to me personally in the charter school space than our ability to deliver on the quality we propose. While our schools are varied and unique, it is essential they achieve results that ensure children have continuing access to future lives of opportunity. I bring a critical lens to the Board around performance, and in particular, performance that elevates issues of equity (how are all children doing?).


5. What other qualifications or values would you like to share?

Over the past 14 months, our organization has been working in collaboration with District 6 in Greeley-Evans around the possibilities of opening a 3rd campus in the East Greeley community. We are incredibly excited by the opportunity of working with District 6 in Norther Colorado and will be submitting for our proposed charter school this fall. Operating two campuses in Denver while working to launch a newly proposed campus in a new geography like Greeley-Evans provides me with greater understanding/insight around charters in a wider range of geographies in our state. This helps ensure I can truly hear perspectives outside of the Denver charter landscape. 

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