Washington, D.C. (June 14, 2012) — The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools announced Thursday that Nina Rees will become the organization’s new president and Chief Executive Officer.
Rees will be formally introduced in her new position at the 12th annual National Charter Schools Conference, which begins on June 19 in Minnesota in front of nearly 4,000 attendees. Rees’s appointment also coincides with the 20th anniversary of the nation’s public charter school movement.
As head of the NAPCS, Rees will focus on growing the charter movement, with a focus on raising the number of high-quality charter schools, advancing a strong federal policy agenda, serving as the recognized voice for the national movement and leveraging NAPCS’ state-policy expertise in order to have the greatest impact on the rapidly growing national charter school movement. Earlier this week a national survey found that more than 600,000 students are on a waiting list to attend a public charter school.
“We’re pleased to have found such a high-caliber individual in Nina to take the reins as leader of the nation’s charter school movement,” said Mashea M. Ashton, Board Chairman, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “Nina comes to the National Alliance with tremendous background and experience in the education reform arena. As the first head of the Office for Innovation and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education, Nina was responsible for the first time spearheading innovative federal programs that included charter schools, where she created a lasting impact that is still being felt to this day. We know that she will continue to do great things for students in charter schools and their families nationwide.”
“To lead the nation’s charter school movement is the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Rees. “In addition to giving parents more schooling options for their children, charter schools have also resurrected the hope and vision behind our public education system and counter the notion that low-income families don’t care about the education of their children.”
Rees has over 20 years of experience in Washington, D.C., including serving as the first Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education. She oversaw the administration of 28 grant programs, supporting 1,300 projects including charter schools around the nation, and helped implement several provisions of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.
“Nina is a very talented and committed leader for the national charter school movement,” said Howard Fuller, Chair of the Black Alliance for Educational Options and Founding Chair of the National Alliance. “She will bring to the National Alliance tenacity, focus and strong leadership skills that will be of great benefit to the organization and the movement. She also knows how to work in a bipartisan manner. But her most important attribute is her absolute commitment to advancing the educational achievement of all kids, but particularly those who are the most disadvantaged by the current educational systems and educational practices in this country.”
“The spirit of the charter school movement is embedded in the hearts of those who are running charter schools, and we need to leverage this more effectively and operate with a greater sense of urgency.” Rees added. “My focus will be to help replicate effective models, attract new education entrepreneurs and further garner bipartisan support. After two decades, it’s clear that charter schools can help preserve the American ideal of a quality public education. The challenge for the next two decades is to build on past accomplishments to ensure that every child can realize the benefits of high-quality public schools.”
Rees currently serves on the board of advisors of the Education Policy and Governance Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, the Apple Tree Institute for Education Innovation and the review board for The Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools. She also serves on the board of directors of the Charter School Development Corporation and the Education Industry Association.
Most recently, Rees spent over six years as Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives for Knowledge Universe, a leading global education company with investments in early childhood education, before and after school programs and online instruction. Rees oversaw the organization’s public policy and government relations work in Washington, DC.
Born in Iran, Rees and her family immigrated to the United States when she was 14. She lived in Blacksburg, VA and received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Virginia Tech University, and her Master of Arts in International Transactions from George Mason University.
Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that are allowed to be more innovative while being held for accountable for improved student achievement. These open-enrollment schools foster a partnership between parents, teachers and students that lead to improved results. Public charter schools enroll five percent of the nation’s public school students, and the movement has seen steady rising growth since its inception twenty years ago. Today, over two million students are enrolled in public charter schools. To celebrate this year’s 20th anniversary of the public charter school movement, NAPCS will host the 2012 National Charter Schools Conference, June 19-22 in Minneapolis, MN, featuring keynote speakers Dr. Bill Cosby and Dr. Deborah Kenny, founder and CEO of Harlem Village Academies.
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit our website at www.publiccharters.org.