More than 40 states now have charter laws. I’ve been fortunate enough to attend 10 conferences marking the first year of the laws in those states. The most recent was the Washington State Charter Organization’s launch, and Marta Reyes, Bree Dusseault and their team really know how to launch a campaign. No other “first annual” charter conference has been kicked off by a member of a Super Bowl championship team. The Evergreen State does it right.
The event started with Seahawks offensive tackle Russell Okung celebrating the law and the entrepreneurs and the charter management organizations that will bring the law to life. Russell pointed out how important and intimate the huddle is for any professional football player. This is where each individual knows his role, clarifies his responsibility, and looks around to see trusted colleagues he can count on. But, as he pointed out, you can’t stay in the huddle forever—you have to get out and execute the play. This fall, the Washington State charter law breaks from its huddle, and the first team will run onto the field. If the conference was any indication, then success should be as real for the educators and youth in these schools as it is for the Super Bowl-winning Seahawks.
Washington has a strong law, a strong association, and seven passionate entrepreneurs to lead the way. My hat goes off to Adel Sefrioui, Brenda McDonald, Maggie O’Sullivan, Kristina Bellamy-McClain, Dan Seydel, Diane Tavenner and Marco Petruzzi, as well as to the Washington State Charter Commission, which authorized these innovators. Finally, to the Washington State Charter Organization, a new, yet experienced state association committed to the belief that charters will serve all students and serve them well. I wish the entire Washington education community well as this newest player in public education begins its role.Just as many eyes will be on these charter entrepreneurs as will be on the Seahawks as they make a bid for another ring.