Education Entrepreneurs: Simmons Lettre and Carrie Irvin

August 30, 2012

A year ago, a Charter Board Partners “team meeting” meant co-founders Simmons Lettre and Carrie Irvin gathering around Carrie’s kitchen table. Today, their seven-person team serves over 30% of DC’s charter schools by providing customized support on charter school governance. Their theory of action is simple yet powerful—great boards will lead to great schools.

As a movement, we’ve often relied on the “superhero” school leader—someone who can simultaneously provide feedback on a mini-lesson, negotiate a real estate deal, and greet each parent and student by name in the morning. CBP understands that while these superhero leaders are amazing, we are never going to have enough at scale to ensure that all students receive an excellent education.  By building a strong governing board, schools can support a principal, help them grow and develop, and build a succession plan that ensures the school will survive even after the founder moves on.

Just eighteen months since their launch, CBP’s work is making a difference. They are transforming boards across the city by helping them connect with new members, strengthen their governance practices, and build a community of charter school supporters in the nation’s capital. They plan to scale to serve nearly half of DC charter schools this year, and have aspirations for growth beyond DC in the future.

Carrie and Simmons exemplify what it means to be an education entrepreneur. They will stop at nothing to ensure that their organization delivers for students.