State Charter School Commission appointees announced

From staff reports

The State Board of Education on Monday, Jan. 21, appointed seven State Charter Schools Commission members

In 2012, the General Assembly passed HB 797, the State Charter Schools Act, which created the seven-member state level Commission that has the power to authorize charter schools. The Commission members are appointed by the State Board of Education based on two recommendations for each open seat from the governor, the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the house, with the governor providing nominations for three positions, the lieutenant governor providing nominations for two positions and the speaker providing nominations for two positions.

“I am pleased to see that the members of the Charter Schools Commission represent a broad cross section of backgrounds and expertise in business, education, non-profits, and government,” said Governor Nathan Deal. “I know they will take their duty of reviewing charter school petitions and approving high quality charter schools seriously, and I look forward to working with them to improve student learning and achievement across Georgia.”

Lt. Governor Casey Cagle added, “Strengthening and reforming the way we educate our children has long been a passion of mine, which is why I have consistently supported charter schools in Georgia.”

House Speaker David Ralston stated, “When Georgians voted to approve the Georgia Charter Schools Commission, they chose to set Georgia on a path that would allow for the creation of additional educational opportunities for students in our state and greater parental involvement. Now, the appointment of the Commission marks another important step in providing the options that will ultimately allow all Georgia students to receive the education that they deserve. I am confident that the appointed members will serve the people of Georgia well using their experiences, background and knowledge to make the best decisions for our students and for communities across our state.”

The new State Charter Schools Commission members include Dr. Charles Knapp, president emeritus of the University of Georgia, Jennifer Ripper, an attorney who serves as a consultant for the National Association of Charter School Authorizers and Tony Lowden, executive director of STONE Academy, an after school enrichment program serving at-risk children in Macon and Bibb County, were appointed by Deal; Tom Lewis, who serves as senior vice president for External Affairs with Georgia State University and Paul W. Williams, a certified public accountant who serves as chief financial officer of Brickstream Corporation were appointed by Cagle; and former State Board of Education representative Jose R. Perez and James E. Hogg, who has more than 30 years experience in the public education system, ranging from teacher to technical college director, are Ralston’s appointees.

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