Yvonne Chan at the CharterFolk Oxygen Bar – How One Candle Becomes Many, Growing Our Collective Light.

Good morning, CharterFolk.

I hope your weeks are off to a great start.

Recognizing that the charter school world and indeed all of public education is going through a moment of challenge unlike any that we have faced before, we thought it would be a good idea to initiate a new series of brief conversations with respected people from our movement who are well known for harboring great amounts of energy and enthusiasm and for bringing new levels of energy and enthusiasm to all they come in contact with. We’re calling the new series “The CharterFolk Oxygen Bar,” and if there is anyone who I have met during my days in charter schools who brings massive amounts of oxygen into every room she enters, surely it is Yvonne Chan.

As CharterFolk know, Yvonne Chan is an absolute legend in our movement. She came to the United States alone at the age of 17 and went on to secure degrees from many California universities, including a doctorate in education from UCLA. After having worked for two decades as a teacher and administrator in the Los Angeles Unified School District, Yvonne founded the Vaughn Next Century Learning Center, the first conversion charter school in the United States. Since opening in a low-income neighborhood in the North San Fernando Valley in 1993, Vaughn has grown into a PK-12 school serving 3300 students and has received numerous recognitions including the California Distinguished School Award and National Blue Ribbon School Award. Yvonne served on the California State Board of Education for seven years and was recently appointed to the Los Angeles County Office of Education Board where she oversees policies affecting the education of 1.4 million students. Yvonne has earned numerous distinctions including the Milken Educator Award, the McGraw Hills Prize in Education, and the James Irvine Leadership Award, and she was named to the National Alliance Charter School Hall of Fame in 2008.

For me personally, Yvonne is someone who has been a source of never ending inspiration, and she has affected my journey as a contributor to the charter school movement as much as anyone. When Yvonne says during our interview that her role has been to be a candle that burns bright and to help light the candles of others so that we can grow our collective light, I know that I am one of her candles. And I know that many other CharterFolk would say the same.

CharterFolk can access the conversation with Yvonne at the YouTube link below.


You can also find an audio recording and a transcript of our discussion on the CharterFolk podcast page or at the link below..

Many thanks to Yvonne for kicking off our new CharterFolk Oxygen Bar in style. I hope you all find Yvonne’s and my conversation as enjoyable and as energizing as I did.