A New Way of Celebrating CharterFolk – Announcing the Brian’s Voice Awards

Good morning, CharterFolk.

This morning is another fun one here at CharterFolk. We get to start another new tradition – celebrating the people who have offered great Contributor Columns to CharterFolk over the past year.

Readers may remember that CharterFolk’s origins grew out a promise I made to a man named Brian Bennett nearly 13 years ago. I wrote about making that promise on CharterFolk’s first day. Brian was an amazing person who taught me more about charter schools than anyone I have ever known, and he believed in the power of the charter school movement to make public education better for absolutely all students, especially those who need it most.

Brian was also among the most articulate people I have ever met, and so it was a cruel irony that he contracted a form of ALS that attacked his voice first. Near the end of his life, I promised him that in my future work in charter schools I would make sure that the voice of Brian Bennett would be forever heard. Over the years, the meaning of that promise has evolved to include me working to make sure that the full breadth of all the diverse voices within the charter school movement shall be forever heard.

In keeping with that spirit, we announce the formation of the Brian’s Voice Awards. They are meant to recognize CharterFolk whose Contributor Columns have most helped us hear anew the calling of the charter school movement or have helped us think anew about a shared challenge that we face. The Brian’s Voice Awards will go to three Contributors from last year as chosen by the CharterFolk readership. In order to get your vote in, please visit this page where you will find a place to vote as well as links taking you to all of the Contributor Columns that were written last year. Each voter is allowed to select three Contributors. The top three vote recipients will receive $500 from CharterFolk to host a dinner or other gathering to deepen the discussion related to the topics that were brought up in the Contributor Columns. In this way, we will be able to keep the conversation going so that the collective voice of the charter school movement is prepared to be heard at even greater levels in the future. Winners will be announced in two weeks, so get your vote in today.

To all our Contributors from last year, we thank you again for support of CharterFolk, and to any of you who might be interested in offering a Contributor Column this year, I encourage you to contact me directly at jed@charterfolk.org.