Governor Susana Martinez Named 2018 Charter School Champion

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Governor Susana Martinez Named 2018 Charter School Champion

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Recognizes Bipartisan Leaders Championing High-Quality Options For Parents & Families

Albuquerque, NM — On Monday, Governor Susana Martinez was honored with the 2018 Champion for Charters award by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (National Alliance). The annual award recognizes local, state, and federal elected officials who are leading the charge to provide parents and students high-quality public school options regardless of zip code, and providing families with the freedom to choose the school that best delivers for their children. 

For the past 8 years, Governor Martinez has championed charter school educators, families and the sector as a whole—securing a $22 million federal grant from the United States Department of Education, raising standards for academic performance for all public schools, signing school grades legislation that provides greater transparency to families about school performance, supporting the expansion and replication of high-performing charter schools that have hundreds of families on waiting lists and empowering the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) to provide appropriate oversight and accountability to charter schools that have mismanaged public funds or not delivering on their promise to families and taxpayers.

Paul Pastorek, Chair of the National Alliance Board of Directors and former Louisiana State Superintendent of Education, presented Governor Martinez with the award during a ceremony at Altura Preparatory School, a new charter school in the heart of Albuquerque that has pledged to deliver meaningful outcomes for the students and families of the community it serves.

“It is truly an honor to be recognized as a champion for charter schools across New Mexico and alongside leaders from across the country,” Governor Martinez said. “New Mexico’s charter sector represents the innovation, accountability and commitment to academic excellence that all of our students deserve and will continue to be a thriving part of our public school system in the years ahead.”

The National Alliance is a leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. The National Alliance occupies a critical role in the charter school movement as a leader in federal education policy and as a prominent voice determined to improve state charter policy and advocacy.

“Governor Martinez has been a true advocate for public charter schools throughout her tenure as Governor, and I’m honored to recognize her for the important work she has done on behalf of New Mexico’s students,” said Pastorek. “Governor Martinez raised the bar for educational excellence in New Mexico, and the state’s rising academic achievements reflect those efforts.”

Recently, as part of the New Mexico True Straight-A Express tour, Governor Martinez, Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski and representatives from NMPED celebrated with teachers and students at public charter schools earning “A” ratings.  Straight-A Express charter school stops included Academy for Technology and the Classics in Santa Fe, Albuquerque School of Excellence, Albuquerque Institute of Math and Science (AIMS), Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School, Coral Community Charter, Explore Academy, Mission Achievement and Success, New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe, Estancia Valley Classical Academy, Public Academy for the Performing Arts, Sidney Gutierrez Middle School in Roswell, Taos Municipal Charter, Taos Academy and The ASK Academy in Rio Rancho.  Additionally, two “A” schools, East Mountain Charter and Anansi Charter in Taos County, were recently named national Blue Ribbon Award winners.

Statewide, New Mexico’s student progress is unprecedented in the state’s history: Since 2015, 11,000 more students are doing math on grade level and 13,000 more students are reading on grade-level—with Native American students improving their reading results more than any other group of students—by 8.2 percentage points.  More students are taking and passing Advanced Placement (AP) exams, Dual-Credit enrollment has doubled, and the statewide graduation rate is at a record-high, with Hispanic students up 15 percentage points over the last five years.

“Governor Martinez’s work on behalf of our state’s charter schools is rightfully being recognized today,” said Matt Pahl, Executive Director of the New Mexico Coalition for Charter Schools.  “She’s worked in a bipartisan manner on the issue of charter school quality while ensuring that our schools maintain their autonomy, all while protecting public charter schools from harmful and unjust budget cuts.  She has played a foundational role in the development of a charter school environment that leads the way in both quality and innovation.  This award is well-deserved.”

This year’s Champions for Charters awardees are a bipartisan group of federal, state, and local elected officials comprised of 11 Democrats and nine Republicans. These 20 individuals join a distinguished body of Charter Champions dating back to the award’s inception in 2006. The National Alliance has honored lawmakers at all levels of government who are making a difference for students by supporting high-quality charter schools.

Three Governors were recognized this year including Governor Dannel Malloy (D-CT) and Governor Jerry Brown (D-CA).  In addition to Governor Martinez, the 2018 Champions for Charters are:

At the Federal Level
Senator Chris Coons (D-DE)
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Representative Adrian Espaillat (D-NY)
Representative Luke Messer (R-IN)
Representative Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)

State and Local Leadership
Senator Owen Hill (R-CO)
Representative Brittany Pettersen (D-CO)
Representative Lang Sias (R-CO)
Senator Angela Williams (D-CO)
Governor Dannel Malloy (D-CT)
Representative Judy Boyle (R-ID)
Senator Lori Den Hartog (R-ID)
Senator Bob Nonini (R-ID)
Governor Jerry Brown (D-CA)
Senator Steve Glazer (D-CA)
Mayor Sam Liccardo (D-CA)
Assembly Member Blanca Rubio (D-CA)
Assembly Member Shirley Weber (D-CA)