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So Who Worked on the DC Catholic-Charter Conversions?

With the local arrival of Pope Benedict XVI today, D.C. Wire is reminded of a story last week about the state of Catholic education in the U.S.


Archbishop of Washington Donald W. Wuerl toured Nationals Park yesterday in preparation for Thursday's Papal Mass. (Nikki Kahn-The Washington Post)

That piece included some new information on the seven D.C. Catholic schools looking to convert to charter schools. If approved, It could cost the District more than $14 million next year to pay for the new public school students, according to the application submitted to the D.C. Public Charter School Board.

The schools facing conversion are: Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian Catholic School and Assumption in Southeast, Holy Name and St. Francis de Sales in Northeast, and Immaculate Conception, Nativity Catholic Academy and St. Gabriel in Northwest.

So who submitted the application?

The founding board of Center City Public Charter Schools, Inc., a DC nonprofit incorporated in November 2007, is made up of folks who have been active in education locally and nationally:

S. Joseph Bruno, president of Building Hope, which gives technical and financial assistance to charters in DC and nationally. Bruno is also a board member of DC Preparatory Academy charter school and is on the advisory board of KIPP: DC, a network of DC charter schools.

George W. Brown, an attorney and Senior Vice President at Self Help, which provides advocacy and financing for individuals and nonprofits, including charter schools. Brown chairs the board of Thurgood Marshall Academy charter high school and was the former chair of the city's Public Charter School Credit Enhancement Fund Committee

Kevin Chavous, former Ward 7 Councilmember and Washington Latin charter school board member. Chavous, an attorney and author, also sits on the board of Building Hope, Friendship charter schools and is close to Mayor Fenty and Chancellor Rhee. (see our recent post on their talk in Memphis).

Ralph F. Boyd Jr., a Freddie Mac executive who works in the Community Relations division. He'll be the Secretary and Vice Chair of the new nonprofit.

Darrin L. Glymph, a public finance attorney and board member of the former EdBuild.

John. F. "Jack" Griffin, a retired real estate developer and founder and president of Naples, Fla.-based The Griffin Foundation, is the board chair of the new nonprofit.

Beverley R. Wheeler, executive director of the D.C. State Board of Education, is a founding board member of Excel Academy, the city's first all-girls charter school slated to open in August.

Boyd, Bruno and Griffin all served on the board of the Center City Consortium, an umbrella group under the Archdiocese of Washington that had operated 12 inner-city Catholic schools but had decided it could no longer afford to operate so many Catholic schools; hence the charter idea. Mary Anne Stanton, the head of the nonprofit, used to lead the consortium.

How will this lineup of education powerbrokers see their application through? After weeks of internal review, the public can see for themselves and weigh in at public hearings in May. The charter board will announce its decision in June.

By Theola Labbé-DeBose  |  April 15, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Browse By Writer , Education , Theola Labbé-DeBose  
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