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Conference Keynotes and General Sessions 2020

Thursday Keynote (8:30 am)

Howard Fuller, PH.D.

Dr. Fuller is a Distinguished Professor of Education, and Founder/Director of the Institute for the Transformation of Learning at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Immediately before his appointment at Marquette University, Dr. Fuller served as the Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools June 1991 - June 1995. Dr. Fuller received his B.S. degree in Sociology from Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin, M.S.A. degree in Social Administration from Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and his Ph.D. in Sociological Foundations of Education from Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

He has received numerous awards and recognition over the years, including four Honorary Doctorate Degrees: Doctorate of Humane Letters from Carroll College; Doctorate of Laws from Marian College, Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin; Doctorate of Business and Economics from Milwaukee School of Engineering; Doctorate of Humane Letters from Edgewood College, Madison WI.

He is the Chair of the Board of Milwaukee Collegiate Academy. He also serves on the Board of The Black Alliance for Educational Options, Milwaukee Region Board of Teach for America, Milwaukee Charter School Advocates, Education Cities and FaithActs. He is an Advisory Board member of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and the National Association for Charter School Authorizers.

Dr. Deborah McGriff

Deborah M. McGriff, Ph.D., is a Managing Partner with NewSchools Venture Fund where she focuses on closing the demographic gap between students and leaders in education. Through leadership positions at NewSchools Venture Fund and EdisonLearning, she expanded access to innovative, high-quality charter schools for low-income and working class students in 16 of the nation’s largest cities in a dozen states and the District of Columbia. In addition to her role on the board of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, her advocacy and governance expertise were tapped as Board Chair of Beyond12, founder and Vice Chair of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, President of the Education Industry Association, member of the Diverse Charter Schools Coalition board, member of Harvard Kennedy School of Government Program on Education Policy and Governance Advisory Board, and member of numerous charter school boards, including a charter management organization in the National Charter Schools Hall of Fame. She began her career in 1970 as a teacher in Community School District 13 of the New York City Public Schools. She was the first female Assistant Superintendent in Cambridge, MA and the first female Deputy Superintendent in Milwaukee, WI. In 1991, Dr. McGriff became the first female General Superintendent of the 200,000-student Detroit Public Schools where she successfully opened 25 choice and empowered schools. Crain’s Detroit Business named her 1992 Newsmaker of the Year.

Thursday Plenary Panel (2:45 pm)

Designing New Schools for 21st Century Realities 

Deborah McGriff – See above 

Sarah Bridich, New Legacy Charter School, Board Chair 

Sarah Bridich is a life-long educator. She began her career as a high school history teacher and administrator, teaching in San Francisco, New York City, and the Denver area. She currently works as a researcher of school leadership through C-PEER at the University of Colorado-Denver and occasionally serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Denver. Sarah was a founding Board Member and a three-year Board Chair at New Legacy Charter School. Additionally, she currently serves on the boards of The Logan School and Colorado Youth Congress, and formerly served on Facing History and Ourselves' Denver Advisory Board. Sarah received her B.A. from Harvard University, her M.A. from Teacher’s College, Columbia University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Denver.

Sandi Brown, Colorado Early Colleges Network 

Sandi Brown has been with the Colorado Early Colleges Network since its inception in 2007. She was the Academic Dean at Colorado Springs Early Colleges from 2008-2012 before opening Colorado Early Colleges Fort Collins where she is currently the Head of School. Colorado Early Colleges Fort Collins earned the Newsweek honor of the #1 high school in Colorado for post-secondary and workforce readiness. CECFC ranks #2 in Colorado for both 2016 America's Top High Schools and Beating the Odds by Newsweek. The University Model Schools she founded and administrated in Tustin, California (1998-2006) and Colorado Springs, Colorado (2006-2007) consistently enrolled 100 percent of their students into colleges upon completion of their high school career. Sandi was the recipient of 2013 Woman of Vision Award given by the Colorado Women of Influence for her work in education.

Christine DeLeon, FOUNDER & CEO
Moonshot edVentures

Christine DeLeon carries a wide range of experiences in leadership development, entrepreneurship, and rethinking school. As CEO of Moonshot edVentures, Christine leads design and execution of the Moonshot Fellowship and is responsible for the strategy and sustainability of Moonshot edVentures. Christine’s previous experiences include roles with the Boston Consulting Group, The Broad Foundation, Education Cities, and Summit Learning; she also founded Education Pioneers’ first year-long fellowship. She served as a Harvard Innovation Lab Fellow and is a trained facilitator of Intergroup Dialogues, structured to explore social group identity, conflict, community, and social justice.  She holds a BBA from the University of Michigan and an EdLD from Harvard University. She is a member of the Pahara Next Gen Fellowship and a 2019 Education Leaders of Color Boulder Fund recipient. 


Andy Franko, iConnect Zone Superintendent

Andy Franko is the iConnect Zone Superintendent. The iConnect Zone encompasses eleven “non-traditional” schools within the district portfolio. Franko oversees four district operated schools including an Alternative Education Campus (9-12), multi-district online/blended school (K-12), multi-district online/blended Early College (9-14), and a Homeschool Program (K-12). In addition, Franko manages the authorization of seven charter schools offering K-12 models inclusive of online learning, classical education, expeditionary learning, career and tech, and humanities based education.  Franko holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Colorado. His career in education includes teaching, coaching, and administration in the K-12 setting. With both traditional and public charter experience, Franko embraces a unique perspective of school choice and student opportunity. In addition to his work in District 49, Franko serves as a board member for the Colorado League of Charter Schools and the Colorado Association for Charter School Authorizers. He also provides consulting services for charter boards and school leaders throughout the state of Colorado.


Friday Annual General Meeting (9:15 am)

2020 Colorado Charter Schools Hall of Fame
The 2020 winners will be recognized along with a quick thank you from the Lifetime Achievement Award winner. Learn more about the awards and finalists. 

2020 Board Nominees
Candidates will have an opportunity to present themselves to membership. Elections will end on March 13. Each member school is allowed one vote from a representative. Learn more about the candidates. 

The State of the League Address
The League will provide a quick overview of the state of the League by a special guest presenter. 


Friday Keynote (1:15 pm)

Steven WilsonSteven Wilson

Steven F. Wilson is a senior fellow at the Center on Reinventing Education at the University of Washington. Wilson was chief executive officer of Ascend Learning, a nonprofit organization that offers a tuition-free liberal arts education in a warm and supportive setting to 5,500 students in 15 charter schools in Brooklyn, New York. Funded entirely at district spending levels, Ascend has reversed the achievement gap; its black and Latino students outperform their white peers statewide on Common Core assessments.
Previously, Wilson was a senior fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He was the founder and CEO of Advantage Schools, an urban school management company; an executive vice president of Edison Schools; and board president of Building Excellent Schools, a national training program for aspiring charter school founders.
Earlier, when he was special assistant for strategic planning for Massachusetts Governor William Weld, Wilson helped shape the state’s landmark 1993 Education Reform Act that made Massachusetts schools the highest performing in the country. Prior to joining the administration, he was co-executive director of the Pioneer Institute, where he drove the development and passage of the Massachusetts charter school law.
He is the author of two books, Learning on the Job: When Business Takes on Public Schools, which was awarded in 2006 the Virginia and Warren Stone Prize for an Outstanding Book on Education and Society, and Reinventing the Schools: A Radical Plan for Boston, which offered the blueprint for the Massachusetts charter school law. He is a Pahara-Aspen fellow and a graduate of Harvard University.