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2019 State Charter Champion Awards Recognize Leaders in Education

2019 State Charter Champion Awards Recognize Leaders in Education

2019 State Charter Champion Awards Recognize Leaders in Education

Celebrates Key Partnerships, Policy, Purpose, and Presence in Schools & Communities

Nashville, TN – During the annual Tennessee Charter Schools Conference this past weekend, the Tennessee Charter School Center (TCSC) recognized five distinguished education leaders and organizations that are catalysts in the classroom and within their communities. The 2019 State Charter Champion Award honorees are:

Legislative Charter Champion- Senator Raumesh Akbari. In 2019, Senator Akbari carried SB 836, which established a more fair process within our state’s default closure policy for charter schools that fall on the priority list, putting the process for charter schools in line with that for traditional public schools.

School of the Year- Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy. Because of its success implementing a STEAM-focused model, CGLA was selected in 2018 as one of 15 schools in the state to receive STEM Designation. CGLA was also honored to receive the 2018 Nonprofit of the Year from the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and to be selected as one of four schools in the nation to receive a 2017 School Innovation and Change Award. CGLA was designated a Reward School by the Tennessee Department of Education and earned a Level 5 TVAAS rating for student and academic growth for the 2018-2019 school year.

Administrator of the Year – NeShante Brown NeShante Brown is the Executive Director of The Soulsville Charter School in Memphis, TN, where she and her team prepare students in grades six through twelve to succeed in college and life through continually working to demystify access to opportunity amidst obstacles. For the last 7 years, 100% of Soulsville alumni have been accepted into 2 & 4-year colleges and universities.

Teacher of the Year- Jasmine Gregg In her first year of teaching, Ms. Gregg was a key contributor to Purpose Prep earning Reward School status and scoring in the top 5% state-wide for academic performance during the 2016-17 school year. During this year, 76% of students in her class scored On Track or Mastered in ELA and 48% in Math.

Community Service Project of the Year – KIPP Memphis Academy Elementary Over the last three years, KIPP’s service project has empowered their students to build libraries in four charter schools, with two more on the way in 2020. This effort has led nearly 1,500 students across KIPP Memphis to read upwards of 90 million more words per year, and has fostered a love of reading in each.

“There are some outstanding leaders supporting public charter schools across Tennessee and we are proud to recognize the thoughtful and innovative investments they are making in our state’s students and families,” shared Maya Bugg, CEO of the Tennessee Charter School Center.

Governor Lee was also presented with the 2019 National Champion for Charters Award, a recognition bestowed annually on local, state, and federal policymakers who are making a difference for students by supporting high-quality public charter schools. The Charter Champion Awards were presented during the 2019 Tennessee Charter Conference, the annual professional development conference convening education leaders from across the state. For more information on the Tennessee Charter School Conference, visit

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As the state's primary charter school support organization, the Tennessee Charter School Center (TCSC) is leading the movement for effective policy, excellent schools, quality operators & informed communities. We are driven by our mission to serve students and families, advocate for the conditions and resources that facilitate quality, and represent a coalition of schools that are committed to the values of equity, diversity, collaboration, integrity, and excellence for which we stand. Our vision is for all students in Tennessee to have access to a high quality public education. Learn more at