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Texas Charter Schools Association Celebrates Long-Time Executive Director

06.21.17
Texas Charter Schools Association Celebrates Long-Time Executive Director

Wishes Founding ED David Dunn Well As He Embarks on New Endeavor in Austin

For Immediate Release
June 21, 2017

Contact:
Christine Isett  
cisett@txcharterschools.org 
512-584-8272 or 703-220-7990 

June 21, 2017 – Austin, TEXAS – The Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA) announced today that founding Executive Director David Dunn will conclude his tenure in October after nearly10 highly productive years of leading the Association.

“When we set out to create the Texas Charter Schools Association in 2008, we wanted the best leader we could possibly find and we got him,” said TCSA Board Chairman and former U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Rod Paige. “David’s leadership has produced groundbreaking progress on behalf of the Texas charter school movement, with significant improvement in charter school quality throughout the state. David has done a great service for the children and families of Texas, and we thank him sincerely for putting his wisdom, experience, and in-depth policy knowledge to work on our behalf. We will miss him and promise to continue the great progress he has led.”

Dunn began his work with TCSA as its first executive director upon its creation in 2008, helping to shape the organization’s mission and build it from the ground up. Under his leadership:

– Public charter school student enrollment increased from 90,000 students in 2008-09 to nearly 250,000 in 2015-16, averaging a 13 percent increase annually as compared to two percent growth by the overall public school system. Sixty-seven percent of these students are economically disadvantaged.
– Parental demand for charter schools swelled significantly to include an additional 141,000 waiting list students, far outpacing existing capacity.
– Membership in the Association has grown to cover almost 90 percent of all students educated in charter schools in Texas.
– TCSA developed the Quality Framework, the first comprehensive self-improvement process designed specifically for charter schools, which is a condition of membership in the Association.

In addition, Dunn’s advocacy expertise drove important policy advances for Texas charter schools, most recently:

– Charter schools’ access to the Permanent School Fund Bond Guarantee Program was again expanded during the recently concluded 85th Texas Legislative Session. Charter school participation in this program has already realized a savings of about $10.5 million annually for the next 25 years. Savings are anticipated to increase four-fold over the next five years, allowing charter schools to better utilize those dollars for classroom and expansion purposes.
– Support for charter schools in the Texas Legislature has advanced in important ways, including a resounding 144 to 3 defeat for a proposal to defund charter schools during the most recent Texas Legislative Session.
– Advances were made in prior sessions, including passage of SB 2 in 2013, which raised the cap for charters and also increased accountability. In 2011, TCSA also worked on the passage of legislation providing charters access to the PSF Bond Guarantee Program for the first time.
– As one of the foremost public school finance experts in Texas, Dunn was an integral part of the plaintiff group representing students in a case that reached the Texas Supreme Court. While the state’s highest court dismissed the group’s claims, the Court recognized the rights of charter school students to an adequate, suitable, and efficient education.

A Texas and national education policy expert, Dunn has decades of experience at the highest levels, where he has worked tirelessly to improve public school quality and expand options for families. Prior to TCSA, Dunn was Chief of Staff to the U.S. Department of Education under Secretary Margaret Spellings. He served as a Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy at the White House Domestic Policy Council under President George W. Bush. Before that, he worked as Associate Executive Director and chief lobbyist for the Texas School Boards Association. Dunn also invested 15 years in education and fiscal policy analysis for the State of Texas.

Dunn will continue his work in education policy as a consultant with his new endeavor, D2 Strategies, LLC, serving Texas and national efforts to further excellence in public education along with other important domestic policy issues.

“It has been a tremendous honor to serve the students, families and schools that make up the Texas Charter Schools Association from day one and I’m so grateful for the strides we have made on their behalf throughout the state,” said Dunn. “The children of Texas have more and better educational opportunities today thanks to TCSA and its members, but much remains to be done to ensure every child receives the education they deserve. I’m glad to be able to continue supporting that noble cause at D2 Strategies and look forward to serving other great organizations devoted to excellence in education.”

The TCSA Board of Directors has appointed an executive search committee, headed by founding board member, Lori Fey—and also featuring Mike Feinberg, Alfredo Segura, and Kathleen Zimmermann—to lead the selection process.

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About TCSA:
Representing almost 90 percent of public charter school students across the state, TCSA provides its members with charter-specific training opportunities, legal services and updates to state and federal laws and rules, and discounts on services so more school funding can be directed to the classroom. TCSA also advocates at the Texas Capitol and U.S. Congress year-round on behalf of public charter schools.

Please contact TCSA with any questions or to learn more about the Association.