The Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA) named Mr. Chuck Cook the Leader of the Year and Dr. Alissa Russell the Teacher of the Year at the 2016 Texas Charter Schools Conference earlier this week. Both Mr. Cook and Dr. Russell received recognition and their awards at a luncheon with keynote speaker Governor Greg Abbott and Deputy Commissioner AJ Crabill.

This is the first year for both the TCSA’s Leader of the Year and Teacher of the Year programs which honors one outstanding charter leader and educator from across the State of Texas.

The Leader of the Year award recognizes charter leaders that advocate for charters at the state and national level, have successfully replicated high performing charters that are innovative in their approaches to educating all students, and serve as a mentor to other charter leaders.

The Teacher of the Year award recognizes charter educators that advocate for charters at the local level, are innovative in their approaches to educating all students, and serve as a leader on their campus and within their communities.

Mr. Cook is the Co-founder and CEO of Responsive Education Solutions (ResponsiveED) which was established in 1998. Since then, he has led ResponsiveEd’s expansion into one of the largest charter school systems in the state. ResponsiveED operates more than 70 campuses, employs more than 2,200 educators, and serves more than 22,000 students in grades K-12. The focus of these charter schools vary from credit recovery to STEM to classical education. His mission is to provide hope for students through innovative, character-based, personalized learning environments where they are academically successful and develop into lifelong learners.

Dr. Russell is an educator at the Life School Oak Cliff campus and has 13 years of teaching experience who inspires students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn. She uses Socratic Seminar, differentiated group modeling, and peer partnership grouping as innovative instructional practices in her mathematics classroom. She works to ensure each student in her classroom receives a customized instructional approach based on his or her individual needs. Dr. Russell is the secondary mathematics department head and works as an instructional coach for her peers to maximize instructional effectiveness. Additionally, she is a committed volunteer within her community.

TCSA thanks both Mr. Cook and Dr. Russell for their service and strong commitment to the students of Texas!

Photographs courtesy of Adam Sear