Announcing the CharterFolk of the Year Award

Good morning, CharterFolk.

Today, we have fun news to share.

Over the past 10 months, CharterFolk has profiled the work of 30 CharterFolk X – extraordinary people making extraordinary contributions to the national charter school movement.

CharterFolk Extraordinaire 2020-21

Profiles of the 30 CharterFolk X leaders who have been recognized this year can be found on the CharterFolk X web page.

Our aim now is to cast even greater recognition upon their work by creating the CharterFolk of the Year Award.

The CharterFolk Board met last week to discuss how best to create a CharterFolk of the Year Award. As ever, their input proved invaluable:

  • First, remember what the purpose is here, which is to celebrate the extraordinary people who are working in our nation’s charter schools.
  • CharterFolk X aren’t the kinds of people who are motivated by financial reward, so keep prize levels modest.
  • Nearly every person who has been recognized as CharterFolk X has said, “But it’s not about me. It’s about the incredible team I am part of.” So think of making the award in a way that would allow teams of people to celebrate.
  • Remember that, while it’s probably necessary to identify a “grand prize” winner, we actually have entire mountain ranges of people to celebrate, as opposed to single peaks. So think of ways to identify several winners.
  • Make sure you do this in a sustainable way. We like that we’re doing this, but let’s be sure we can do it again next year.
  • Keep all content about CharterFolk X public, but reserve voting rights to those who have demonstrated some level of commitment to CharterFolk.
  • Remind people that online voting can be technically tricky. Assure folks that the Board will be monitoring how things are going and, if there’s any snafu, the Board will be available to make any necessary course corrections.

With that wise counsel received, we have decided the following:

  • We will identify a CharterFolk of the Year winner and three runners-up.
  • The winner will be awarded $2000 and the three runners-up will be awarded $1000 each.
  • The prize levels have been chosen to reflect a desire of the CharterFolk Board that teams of people have the opportunity to gather and celebrate their own progress.
  • We will have two rounds of balloting, one in April which will narrow the field to four finalists, and a second one in May which will identify the final winner and runners-up.
  • The awards will be announced on June 8th, the one year anniversary of the creation of CharterFolk.
  • All subscribers, paid and complimentary, will be able to vote once in each of the two rounds.
  • All material about the 30 people chosen as CharterFolk X will remain public for all to read, but only subscribers will be able to vote. Voters will have to visit the CharterFolk website in order to cast their ballot.
  • During April and May, we will pause our recognitions of new CharterFolk X people so as to minimize any confusion about who is eligible for consideration this year.
  • We will pick up again with recognitions in the middle of June, with a goal of identifying 25-30 again in 2021-22.

I thank CharterFolk Board Members again for the guidance they are providing as we aspire to roll out CharterFolk in a smart and tone-right way.

I also offer special thanks to all of our paid subscribers and match donors who have provided us the resources needed to go forward with the CharterFolk of the Year Award. If any readers would like to join your fellow CharterFolk in becoming a paid subscriber, you may do so here.

Finally, I would like to extend a last thanks to the CharterFolk Extraordinaire themselves. Many of you I have gotten to know personally over my decades working in charter schools, but others of you are completely new to me. In the crafting of the CharterFolk X posts each week, I confess to having been just completely and utterly blown away by your personal stories and by the amazing things you are achieving in support of kids and families across the United States. You are the people for whom CharterFolk has been made. You prove again that the most amazing asset that the charter school movement has grown during our first three decades of work is the extraordinary people who have gravitated toward it. You truly are the “heart of the movement” filling us all with even greater energy and conviction to help our movement achieve its transformational potential on behalf of millions of kids and families.

Voting for Round 1 starts on April 6th. Be on the lookout for directions about how to cast your ballot!