Humphrey School News—June 16, 2016

Humphrey School Students Get Hands-On Training Reviewing and Approving Charter School Applications as Fellows of National Organization

Three Humphrey School students have been named fellows of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), and will spend the next year gaining hands-on experience to enhance their understanding of the critical issues impacting education reform.

The year-long Innovation in Education Fellowship is the nation’s only program of its kind, designed to introduce emerging public policy leaders to charter school authorizing—the professionals responsible for approving, monitoring, and renewing charter schools.

The Master of Public Policy students—Alica Gerry, Maggie Kane and Suzanne Oh (left to right in the photo above)—will be placed in local chartering offices, where they will work full time in the summer and part time during the academic year, while also receiving training and additional support from NACSA.

“The role of an authorizer continues to be a critical position in the nation’s education reform movement, yet recruiting talent remains a key issue for many authorizing offices throughout the country,” said Kasey Miller, vice president of talent and engagement for NACSA. “The fellowship provides students with the experience, skills and national best practices necessary to launch into authorizing careers, and do the quality authorizing work that leads to great schools from the start.”

The three students each bring a passion for education reform to the program, based on their past professional and personal experiences.

Both Kane and Oh have worked on issues related to equity and closing the achievement gap in the Twin Cities. By learning more about authorizing, each hopes to continue to shape schools and systems that give students and parents the opportunity to make choices about education that work best for them.

Gerry’s previous work in New Orleans studying the city’s charter reforms inspired her interest in authorizing, and learning more about how authorizers carefully review applications to ensure only great schools are allowed to open. “Innovation in education is just as important as innovation in any other field, but charter schools can only encourage innovation if the right charters are getting approved in the first place,” she said.

As part of the fellowship, students engage with authorizing leaders across the country through a series of professional development sessions, as well as at the annual NACSA Leadership Conference in October.

“The program is an exciting opportunity to connect with a network of authorizers doing this work across the country, as well as learn from one another about how to work within different authorizing models to create great schools with the ability to change lives,” Kane said.


The National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) is an independent voice for effective charter school policy and thoughtful charter authorizing practices that lead to more great public schools. Its research, policy, and consultation work advances excellence and accountability in the charter school sector. More at

This story was adapted from an article posted on the NACSA website. 

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