Our indefatigable reader and researcher Laura Chapman reports here on the organization called “School Board Partners,” which we first learned about yesterday. It is another astroturf group, funded by the usual billionaire dilettantes and designed to promote privatization and profit.

She writes:

I have been poking around the “School Board Partners” initiative.
Beware the word “partners” in this initiative. It is charter school, Teach for America, and take over as many school boards as you can so charters can thrive and supply high quality seats in a system free of elected school boards.

So far, there are only two staff, both from Education Cities and four members of a board of directors.


CARRIE MCPHERSON DOUGLASS worked for Education Cities for five years. In May 2017, Carrie was elected to the School Board for Bend-La Pine Schools in Oregon – a district with nearly 20,000 students. She has a BA in education from the University of Portland and holds an MBA from Boston University. She is an alumnus of the Broad Residency and Education Pioneers Fellowship programs. Among other jobs, she led the HR and talent departments at Aspire Public Schools for five years. She is on the board of EdFuel, talent management for education, based in D.C. See also a financial problem with her “relay” activities.


KEVIN LESLIE has several jobs in finance and operations for Education Cities and its two new initiatives: Community Engagement Partners and School Board Partners. He holds a with a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California, San Diego, and a master’s degree in library and information science from San Jose State University. He lives in Memphis, TN.


NATHANIEL EASLEY Ph.D., is Founding Chief Executive Officer of Blue School Partners, a 501(c)(3) public charity “focused on increasing the availability of high quality public schools in Denver through quarterback investments in educator/leader talent, high performing schools, and a supportive policy environment.” Prior to joining Blue School Partners, He served as President and Secretary of the Denver Public Schools Board of Education from 2009 to 2013. He is a current member of Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s Education Compact, the National College Access Network Board, the Colorado Education Initiative Board, and co-chairs the Denver Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Education Committee. He has served on the board of several charter school in Denver in addition to other activities cited at the website.

CARRIE IRVIN is the CEO and Co-Founder of Charter Board Partners (CBP)a national organization helping public charter schools build ” strategic” boards. She has delivered a TEDx talk about CBP’s work. Carrie chaired the Board of Trustees of the National Child Research Center and currently serves on the Georgetown University Child and Adolescent Mental Health Advisory Council. She is a graduate of Harvard Kennedy School and Brown University, and is a Pahara-Aspen Institute Education Fellow. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area .

THERESA PENA has twice been elected as an at-large representative on the Denver Board of Education. She also served as the Executive Director of the Denver Education Compact, a cradle-to-career initiative launched by Mayor Michael Hancock. She is a board member of the Denver Preschool Program, the Denver Community Health Services and the Colorado Community College System. She has a B.A. in sociology from Pomona College in California and MBA from Cornell University.

CARL ZARAGOZA is Senior Director of Elected Leadership at Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE) LEE prepares and supports Teach for America corps members and alumni as political candidates at every level of government. Carl was elected twice to the Creighton Elementary School District Governing Board in Phoenix and had two terms as President. He is U.S. Army veteran. he taught middle school civics in a Title 1 school in Phoenix. He has BA in Political Science and is studying for an Executive MBA at Arizona State University. He is a Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow, and member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

There is a strategy for School Board Partners. It is described in a paper titled FROM TOKENISM TO PARTNERSHIP by Charles McDonald. This short publication includes one chart that shows the intended strategy for privatizing the governance of schools in the manner of Mind Trust’s operation in Indianapolis..

Click to access 1cjmq5paf_935717.pdf

The author of this paper, Charles McDonald, is Executive Director for Community Engagement Partners (an initiative of Education Cities). His bio says that he “served as Senior Managing Director, External Affairs for Teach For America – South Carolina for four years. He also served as Program Manager for Education Pioneers’ Greater Boston Analyst and Graduate School Fellowship programs for two years….. He is a member of the 2016 Pahara NextGen Network cohort and is currently a member of the Pahara NextGen Alumni Advisory. He has a BA in Political Science from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. He lives in Columbus, OH.

McDonald credits help on the paper to” leaders at Donnell-Kay Foundation, Leadership For Educational Equity, Memphis Education Fund, MN Comeback, The Mind Trust, SchoolSmartKC, and United Parents and Students.

The new organizayion builds on the failures of education in Memphis, in Indianapolis, in Minnesota and many more cities enticed into faux partnerships with existing public schools.