Opening General Session Keynote Speaker
Dr. Deborah Kenny
Deborah Kenny is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Harlem Village Academies, and is widely regarded as one of the most influential educational entrepreneurs in the country. Under her leadership, HVA has become a national model for education reform.
Oprah Magazine named Kenny one of the most powerful women in the country, calling her a "visionary educator," and Esquire selected her for its annual "Best and Brightest" issue. She is featured regularly on national television and print media, such as the NBC Nightly News, Fox News, CBS Evening News, NPR, Morning Joe, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, The Economist, The Huffington Post, and others.
Kenny holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University in comparative international education and a B.A. Magna Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Born to Rise: A Story of Children and Teachers Reaching Their Highest Potential. Kenny is the mother of three grown children and she lives in New York City.
Closing General Session Panel Discussion
Working Together for the Future of Charter Schools
Join your colleagues for a discussion focusing on the future of the charter school sector from both the national and state level perspective. A panel of experts will examine the impact of the 2012 presidential and congressional elections on the charter school sector, including potential impacts on funding. At the state level, they will assess the potential legislative changes for the upcoming legislative session, along with other challenges that the state charter sector faces over the next several years. The panelists will also provide examples of how some states are effectively using charter schools to better serve at-risk and underserved students, offer ideas for how the charter school sector can continue to strengthen its efforts to serve educationally disadvantaged students and how working together can create success. There will be an opportunity for the audience to ask questions.
Director, Program on Parental Choice, Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Adam Emerson is the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s school choice czar, directing the Institute’s policy program on parental choice and editing the Choice Words blog. He coordinates the Institute’s school choice-related research projects, policy analyses and commentaries on issues that include charter schools and public school choice along with school vouchers, homeschooling and digital learning. Previously, Adam helped direct the policy and public affairs initiatives for Step Up For Students, the scholarship organization responsible for administering the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship for low-income students, the nation’s largest such program offering private school tuition assistance. In that role, he developed the program’s communication strategies and policy analyses while launching and editing the redefinED blog.
Before his work on school choice, Adam worked as a journalist for nearly a decade at newspapers in Michigan and Florida. He left the The Tampa Tribune in 2009, where he worked as the news organization’s lead education reporter after having covered higher education throughout the state of Florida for several years. Before that, he covered education and social services at the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal.
Partner & Vice President, Charter School Growth Fund
Darryl Cobb leads CSGF investments for portfolio members in the south and mid-west. Mr. Cobb was the former CEO of ACT Charter School in Chicago and joined CSGF in July 2010. Mr. Cobb was the Chief Learning Officer at the KIPP Foundation, where he led the Foundation's portfolio of learning programs including principal and teacher leader development. Before KIPP, Mr. Cobb worked as a consultant for several years at Accenture and Diamond Cluster. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and has an MBA from Kellogg/Northwestern.
Senior Director, State Advocacy, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
Lisa Grover is the Senior Director of State Advocacy for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Most recently, Lisa was the CEO of the New Mexico Coalition of Charter Schools, where she advanced the policy environment by helping to create a second authorizer, solidify a lease assistance program and gain charter access to state tax exempt bonds. Before that, in 2001, Lisa was a founder of one of the first high charter schools in New Mexico, ranked over the last four years by Newsweek magazine as one of the top performing 1,200 high schools in the country. She began her career as a high school Spanish teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District and taught also English as a Second Language in China, Ecuador and Mexico. She holds a doctorate in Romance Languages and a Masters Degree in Linguistics and Multi-cultural Education. In 2010, her charter school peers recognized her as New Mexico’s Innovator of the Year.
Michael D. Kooi, Esq.
Executive Director, Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice, Florida Department of Education
Michael D. Kooi assumed the role of Executive Director of the Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice with the Florida Department of Education in October 2008. Mike has also served as the assistant general counsel with the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and was a commercial litigation attorney in Jacksonville for five years prior to moving to Tallahassee. Mike earned his bachelor’s degree from Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Florida, College of Law.
Executive Director, Charter School Services Corporation, A Building Hope Affiliate
As Executive Director of Charter School Services Corporation, A Building Hope Affiliate (CSSC), Mr. Moreno is responsible for its day-to-day operations providing comprehensive support services to charter schools in Florida. Prior to joining CSSC, he served as Chief Financial Officer of Pacific National Bank and has over 19 years CFO experience with various business enterprises in diverse industries. His charter school experience includes working as the Chief Financial Officer for Charter Schools USA and as resource specialist for NCB Capital Impact. As a resource specialist he provided technical assistance with facilities development and financing to Florida and Georgia charter schools assisting over 90 schools representing over $110 million in projects. Richard served as Chairman of the Florida School of Excellence Commission. He holds an MBA from Florida Atlantic University and BS in finance with honors from the University of Florida.