News Release – National Alliance Inducts Three New Honorees into Charter School Hall of Fame

June 9, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools announced today it will induct three charter school advocates into its Hall of Fame at the 15th National Charter School Conference in New Orleans on June 22 – Senator Mary Landrieu, Dr. Deborah McGriff and Nelson Smith.

The National Alliance’s Hall of Fame inductees are recognized for their pioneering efforts in the growth of charter schools, their long-term commitment and contributions to charter schools, and their innovative ideas and successful implementation of those ideas.  The latest honorees join 26 other members of the public charter school movement who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame program since it was established in 2007.

“We recognize these outstanding leaders in the charter school community because of their contributions to the growth of effective, high-quality charter schools that now serve nearly three million students,” said Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “We look forward to their continued work to expand the number of charter schools so that all students who want an education at a charter school receive an education at a charter school,” added Rees, referring to the fact that over one million students are on waitlists to attend a charter school.

About the Winners

Former Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu spent 35 years in public service, demonstrating her passionate commitment to children and families as a Louisiana state legislator, state treasurer, and U.S. senator. Throughout her 18 years of tenure in Washington, Sen. Landrieu was a public charter school champion, helping to forge a bipartisan consensus in support of charter schools that has endured for two decades. Most notable of her legislative accomplishments were the passage of the landmark Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, the Israel American Energy Alliance, and the RESTORE Act.

Dr. Deborah McGriff began her career in 1970 as a teacher in New York City. She was the first female assistant superintendent in Cambridge, MA, and the first female deputy superintendent in Milwaukee, WI. Through leadership positions at NewSchools Venture Fund and EdisonLearning, she expanded access to innovative, high-quality public charter schools for low-income and working-class students in 16 of the nation’s largest cities in a dozen states and Washington, D.C. McGriff is now a managing partner with NewSchools Venture Fund.

Nelson Smith has spent more than 30 years in reshaping education within America in different capacities. From 1985-1992, he oversaw programs devoted to improving education through research-based methods at the U.S. Department of Education. Smith also held executive positions with New American Schools, District of Columbia Public Charter School Board and New York City Partnership. Smith served as president and CEO at the National Alliance, and currently, he is a senior advisor with the National Association of Charter School Authorizers.

About Public Charter Schools

Public charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Since 2010, many independent research studies have found that students in charter schools do better in school than their traditional school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college, and have higher earnings in early adulthood.

About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit our website at