Caprice Young is the CEO of the California Charter
Schools Association, California’s charter
school membership and support association, which
works to increase student achievement by strengthening
and expanding charter public schools throughout
Young has a strong track record in education
reform, having served from 1999-2003 as a member
and president of the Los Angeles Unified School
District Board of Education, which represents
the second largest school district in the United
States. Her professional experience spans higher
education, business and government, including:
director of corporate and foundation relations
for the Anderson School at UCLA; strategy consulting
group manager of IBM's West Coast e-Business Innovations
Design Center; and assistant deputy mayor for
the City of Los Angeles.
She earned her bachelor’s degree from Yale
University and an MPA from USC. She lives in the
San Fernando Valley with her husband and three
Rick Piercy was born and raised in Victorville,
California. After obtaining his Bachelor’s
Degree, he spent nine years as a state park ranger,
but wanted to return to his roots and make a difference
in the lives of school children. While serving
his last term as a ranger, he enrolled at California
State University, San Bernardino where he received
his teaching credential and Masters Degree in
Special Education. He later received his Tier
I and Tier II Administrative Credential at Azusa
Piercy has been a K-12 teacher, vice principal,
principal, and district director of technology.
During his years as an elementary school teacher,
he conceived of the Apple Valley Science and Technology
Center, now known as the Lewis Center for Educational
Research. The Center offers various educational
programs to the community, field trips to public
and private schools, operates a K-12 charter school
(the Academy for Academic Excellence), and maintains
the Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope project
which brings radio astronomy to America’s
classrooms in partnership with NASA/JPL. It has
expanded into a second campus located along the
Mojave River on 150 acres of fragile wetlands.
Piercy is the recipient of many awards, including
the Hart Vision Award for Outstanding Charter
School Administrator in 2002, the NASA Public
Service Medal in 1998, and Apple Valley Chamber
of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 1998.
Ref Rodriguez is the co-founder and co-CEO of
Partnerships to Uplift Communities (PUC), a charter
school development and management organization
in Los Angeles. Because of a lack of options in
quality education in Northeast Los Angeles, Rodriguez
developed and led the first charter school (Ca.
Academy for Liberal Studies) in the community
where he lives and grew up.
In the last six years, Rodriguez has collaborated
with Jacqueline Elliot to develop and operate
six charter schools serving approximately 1,200
students in the communities of Northeast Los Angeles
and the Northeast San Fernando Valley. In order
to fulfill its vision of dramatically increasing
the number of youth from the Northeast San Fernando
Valley and Northeast Los Angeles who attend and
graduate from colleges and universities, PUC plans
to open up seven additional charter schools in
the next six years.
From 1995-2003 Richard C. Atkinson served as
the 17th president of the University of California
system. He marked his eight-year tenure with innovative
approaches to admissions and outreach, research
initiatives to accelerate the University’s
contributions to the state’s economy, and
a challenge to the country’s most widely
used admissions examination–the SAT 1–that
paved the way to major changes in college testing
for millions of America’s youth.
Prior to becoming president of the UC System,
Dr. Atkinson served for fifteen years as chancellor
of the University of California at San Diego,
where he led that campus’s emergence as
one of the nation’s leading research universities.
He is a former director of the National Science
Foundation, past president of the American Association
of American Universities, and was a long-time
member of the faculty at Stanford University.
Dr. Atkinson’s research in the field of
cognitive science and psychology has been concerned
with problems of memory and cognition. He is a
member of the National Academy of Sciences, the
Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of
Education, and the American Philosophical Society.
A mountain in Antarctica has been named in his
Pat Golding is the charter school director at
Hickman Charter School. Pat passionately believes
in school choice and school alternatives. She
became involved in the charter school movement
Golding has been involved in public education
for 36 years as a teacher and curriculum/project
director. She also served two terms on the CANEC
board of directors and served on the California
Charger Schools Association Member Council. Previously,
Golding also worked in partnership with the Peace
Corps in expanding education opportunities in
Golding was honored in 2003 with the Hart Vision
Award for Outstanding School Administration and
was recently recognized by Delta Kappa Gamma for
Outstanding Innovations in Education.
Kevin Hall is the chief operating officer of The
Broad Foundation, whose mission is dedicated to
transforming K-12 urban public education through
better governance, management, labor relations
and competition. Hall was a co-founder and senior
vice president of Chancellor Beacon Academies,
which develops and manages charter public and
private schools in several states.
Prior to working at Chancellor Beacon, Hall was
a senior vice president of infoUSA, a publicly
traded information services company. He has also
held previous positions at McKinsey & Co.,
Goldman, Sachs & Co., and Teach For America.
Hall also served as an elementary school teacher,
and a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University. He
received a B.A. with honors in political science
and economics from Swarthmore College and an M.B.A.
from Harvard Business School.
Scott Hamilton is co-founder & CEO of the
KIPP Foundation. KIPP, a non-profit organization,
supports thirty-one schools across the country
and is currently training and assisting school
leaders who hope to start their own independent
public schools based on the nationally acclaimed
KIPP Academies in Houston and New York.
Hamilton is also president of the Pisces Foundation,
a San Francisco-based philanthropy created by
Doris and Donald Fisher, founders of the Gap,
Inc. He previously served as associate commissioner
of education in Massachusetts, establishing and
overseeing the Bay State’s pioneering charter
Hamilton was recruited to Massachusetts from
Washington, D.C., where he worked with two United
States Secretaries of Education. He has also served
at the U.S. Department of Education, the White
House Drug Czar’s Office, the Edison Project,
and the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C.
Kevin Johnson, former NBA All-Star and co-founder
of St. HOPE – a nonprofit community development
corporation based in Sacramento – was appointed
to the Board in May 2006.
Johnson, a native of Sacramento’s Oak Park
neighborhood, founded St. HOPE in 1989 to revitalize
his inner-city community through public education,
civic leadership, economic development and the
arts. St. HOPE works in concert with several other
separately incorporated nonprofits founded by
Johnson for the purpose of strengthening communities
and improving the quality of education available
to inner-city youth.
In 2003, Johnson established St. HOPE Public
Schools, which currently serves nearly 2,000 students
through its two charter schools, PS7 and Sacramento
High School. Sacramento High School, Johnson’s
alma mater and a former comprehensive school,
was re-opened by St. HOPE as a charter school
and divided into five small autonomous schools,
each with its own academic focus, classes and
students. The school serves a total of approximately
1,500 students school-wide in grades 9-12.
Steve Poizner is a business leader and teacher
who has repeatedly demonstrated his commitment
to diversity and innovation in education while
spending countless hours learning from, and working
with, charter school operators.
Poizner’s distinguished career in public
service, which began in 1980, has included a stint
as President of the Palo Alto Jaycees, an organization
that helps young professionals gain management
skills by planning community service projects.
He is currently the President of the Poizner
Family Foundation, a charitable organization that
seeks to improve the quality of urban public education
and enrich students’ lives by reshaping
traditional school systems.
Steven G. Seleznow is the program director for
the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s
education initiatives and leads program grantmaking
for the western United States and Ohio. Prior
to joining the foundation, Seleznow served as
partner and chief investment officer at Venture
Philanthropy Partners in Washington, DC and was
responsible for developing strategies to cultivate
new investments, leveraging portfolio investment
partnerships, and managing the selection of new
Seleznow brings to the foundation nearly 30 years
of leadership and management experience in public
education, having led the Montgomery County, MD,
Public Schools as deputy superintendent for education
and the District of Columbia Public Schools as
chief of staff and also interim superintendent.
Prior to these appointments, he was a teacher,
an elementary and a secondary school principal,
and served in a wide range of district administrator
roles. Seleznow was also associate research professor
at the George Washington University Graduate School
of Education and Human Development.
Seleznow earned a doctorate and master’s
degree in administration, planning, and social
policy from Harvard University, a master’s
of arts degree from the University of Maryland,
and is a graduate of Boston University.
Irene Sumida is the director of Fenton Avenue
Charter School, an elementary conversion charter
school located in the northeast San Fernando Valley
in the city of Lake View Terrace, California.
Assigned to Fenton as the school’s Assistant
Principal on July 1, 1991, the large, year round
school was plagued by vandalism, violence, low
morale and single-digit test scores.
Recognizing charter conversion as a vehicle for
change and improvement, Sumida and the school’s
principal, Joe Lucente, led the staff in writing
Fenton’s original charter petition in April
1993. Unanimously approved by the Los Angeles
Board of Education, Fenton Avenue Charter School
became the state of California’s thirtieth
charter school and gained total independence on
January 1, 1994.
Using the flexibility that charter status allows
and fueled by the creativity and hard work of
Fenton’s highly dedicated and talented staff,
Fenton Avenue Charter School was named a California
Distinguished School in May 1997. Fenton’s
charter has been renewed twice: first in 1998,
at which time the Fenton staff resigned from the
school district; and then again in 2003.
With “children first” as the guiding
principle behind every decision, the 1400 student,
K-5 conversion charter school continues to thrive,
fostering a climate of high academic standards
for students and high professional standards for
Carrie Walton Penner, is currently a full time
parent and has a background in education reform
research and philanthropy and earned her masters
degrees in Education Policy and Program Evaluation
at Stanford. Walton Penner served as a consultant
to the Willowbrook International Preschool in
Tokyo, Japan and was a Research Analyst for an
evaluation of the Michigan Mathematics and Science
Centers for Woodside Research Consortium.
Her former jobs include evaluator for the National
Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, program
officer for education for the Walton Family Foundation,
and served in internships at the Rockefeller Foundation,
Aaron Diamond Foundation and Academy for Educational
Walton Penner serves as a volunteer for the following
organizations: Board of Trustees - Phillips Brooks
School in Menlo Park, CA; Board of Advisors -
John Gardener Center for Youth and Their Communities
at Stanford University; Headmaster's Board of
Advisors - Chair, Governor Dummer Academy and
the Board of Directors for the Walton Family Foundation.
Walton Penner lives in Northern California with
her husband, Greg, and their family.
John Walton served on several non profit foundations,
including the Walton Family Foundation, which
is the strongest philanthropic supporter of educational
choice in the United States. His focus on education
stemmed from his belief that all parts of American
society are affected by the educational opportunities
we make available.
Walton was committed to supporting outstanding
programs that work to systematically improve K-12
education in the U.S. and tirelessly advocated
for innovation and choice within the educational
system. He was committed to providing every child
with a world-class education. The Foundation provides
support for creative, replicable solutions and
is engaged in state and national efforts for systematic
Walton’s legacy will live forever as an
avid charter leader, supporter and friend.
Johnathan Williams is the co-founder and co-director
of The Accelerated School in South Central Los
Angeles, which was named the "Elementary
School of the Year" by TIME Magazine in the
spring of 2001 in recognition of the school’s
innovative and promising solutions to some of
the most pressing issues in education today.
Williams began his teaching career in the Los
Angeles Unified School District in 1990, and was
elected chairman of the United Teachers of Los
Angeles teacher’s union that same year.
He has spearheaded the development of a range
of pioneering teaching techniques, and received
extensive training from California Math, Arts
and Literature Projects and the National Accelerated
Schools Center Principals’ Training at Stanford
He has served on the Board of Directors for the
California Network of Educational Charters and
the Advisory Committee for Charter Schools, and
currently sits on the State Board of Education.