A Conversation on Charters: Approval, Authorization & Impact

A Conversation on Charters: Approval, Authorization & Impact is in the past.

The Lipscomb University College of Education and the League of Women Voters of Nashville will host a public forum on the issues surrounding charter schools at 4:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 13, in the Ezell Center, room 301. The forum will feature the perspectives of local, state and national charter school leaders.

Charter schools have been an important and volatile topic in policy discussions about public education on the local, state and national levels this year. The legislature will once again consider the state charter authorizer bill this session.     

The panelists at the forum will include:

Candice McQueen, moderator
Dean of the College of Education

McQueen, dean since 2008, has served directly in the local charter school selection process and led a collaborative effort to provide three years of intense, on-site professional development for Cameron Middle School during its transformation from a district school to a charter school. For the past year, McQueen has led collaborative discussions with Metro-Nashville Public Schools Director Jesse Register and a group of district and charter school leaders to promote best practices for all Nashville schools. McQueen also serves on the PENCIL Foundation board of directors, LEAD Academy’s board of directors and with the Metro-Nashville Public Schools Strategic Compensation Steering Committee.

Alex Medler
Vice President of Policy and Advocacy for the National Association of Charter School Authorizers

Medler, a nationally recognized analyst, works to develop standards and practical guidance for the selection and evaluation of charter schools by governing bodies. He has been a national expert on charter school policy since the opening days of the movement, analyzing the first laws in 1992. He was a founding board member and board chair of the Colorado Charter School Institute, and received an expert appointment to the U.S. Department of Education in 1997.

Chris Barbic
Superintendent of Tennessee's Achievement School District

Barbic will offer a state perspective of options in enhancing local public school offerings. The state of Tennessee’s Achievement School District is an organization committed to moving the bottom 5% of schools in Tennessee to the top 25% in five years. Barbic was also the founder and chief executive officer of YES Prep Public Schools, 2012 winner of the prestigious Broad Prize, and President Georg W. Bush selected him to serve on the President’s Commission on Excellence in Hispanic Education.

Alan Coverstone
Metro-Nashville Public Schools Executive Officer for Innovation

As a member of the Metro-Nashville Board of Education, Coverstone led a study group to evaluate district policies and practices regarding charter schools and established most of the recommendations that have become the heart of the district’s approach to schools of innovation. He played a key role in earning Nashville a spot as one of nine cities nationwide to participate in the Gates Foundation District-Charter Collaboration Compact.

Todd Dickson
Founder and CEO of Valor Collegiate Academies, a new charter school in Nashville

After attending Stanford University to kick start a second career in education, Dickson taught physics for five years before taking the role of executive director at Summit Preparatory Charter School. Under his leadership, Summit Prep was named and one of the top 10 transformational schools in the country by Newsweek magazine and was featured as an education solution in the nationally acclaimed documentary “Waiting for Superman.”

Art Fuller
President and executive director of Knowledge Academies Inc., a charter school in Nashville

Fuller is the founder of Knowledge Academies a nonprofit focused on improving college access in underserved and culturally diverse communities. He has 19 years’ experience in education, including classroom teaching in math and science; federal comprehensive school reform; state level policy; and as adjunct college faculty.


About the League of Women Voters of Nashville

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation of citizens in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy. The league never supports or opposes any political party or candidate. To conduct voter service and citizen education activities, the league uses funds from the League of Women Voters of Tennessee Education Fund, which is a 501(c)(3) corporation. The League of Women Voters, a membership organization, conducts action and advocacy and is a nonprofit 501(c)(4) corporation.


About the College of Education

Lipscomb University’s College of Education is a known leader and innovator in education in the state of Tennessee. In 2013, the College of Education was among the top four teacher preparation programs in the nation according to the National Council on Teacher Quality’s Prep Review, and one of the most effective programs in the state over three years according to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission's Teacher Preparation Program Report. The college offers undergraduate and graduate programs that enable candidates to teach in 24 different subject areas with students from kindergarten to high school.