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Great Public Schools Now names Castrejón executive director

LA School Report | January 14, 2016

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Myrna Castrejón

Myrna Castrejón

Great Public Schools Now, the Broad foundation spinoff organization with plans expands charter schools in Los Angeles Unified, today named Myrna Castrejón as its first executive director.

Most recently a senior lobbyist and political strategist for the California Charter Schools Association, Castrejón will led the new group’s investment in “high-quality public schools” to reduce the number of children attending under-performing schools.

“I am excited to be part of Great Public Schools Now, and help shape its plans to ensure that every student has the option of a high-quality public school in his or her neighborhood,” Castrejón said in a statement. “I look forward to building a strong working relationship with our new Superintendent Michelle King at LAUSD, as we seek to improve education for all students throughout the District.”

Bill Siart, Chairman of Great Public Schools Now, said, “Myrna brings decades of experience in education to Great Public Schools Now, especially the ways that charter schools have helped to improve educational outcomes for students in need. She shares our sense of urgency in bringing more and better educational options to Los Angeles.”

The announcement of Castrejón’s hiring comes just two days after the LA Unified board passed a resolution denouncing the Great Public Schools Now plans to add more charter schools to a district that already has more than any other in the nation.

The expansion plan, first revealed six months by Eli Broad, has endured withering criticism from charter school opponents, including several members of the LA Unified board and union leaders, who fear additional charter schools would drive the district closer to bankruptcy by pulling away students from traditional district schools.

Most of a school district’s revenue derives from per-pupil spending from state and federal agencies.

As its mission was first revealed by Broad, Great Public Schools Now intended to open 260 new charter schools within eight years, the result of $490 million in planned investments.

Later, the mission was revised to investing in a variety of schools, including traditional district schools, to help improve academic performance across the district.

But no details have been announced. Nor has the group revealed progress in its fund-raising efforts.

Castrejón served with CCSA in various key leadership roles since its founding in late 2003, working on issues such as local advocacy, school development and achievement and performance management. Earlier, she worked for school reform efforts in El Paso and in Los Angeles as a consultant to the state-funded Urban Education Partnership/LAUSD where she helped to develop eight innovative early education service centers in high-need neighborhoods.

She also served as Vice President of School and Family Networks for the Los Angeles Alliance for Student  Achievement and the director for family engagement for the Los Angeles Annenberg Metropolitan Project.

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