Walton Family Foundation Gives $1 Million to Charter Training

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(Memphis) The Walton Family Foundation is giving $1 million to train charter school leaders in Memphis.

The Tennessee Charter School Incubator is working to create 4 public charter schools in the city and they are currently training the leaders for those schools.

“The success of a charter school is dependent on the leadership and the people who get selected to run schools and how they are trained,” said TCSI SEO Greg Thompson.

Bobby White served as the principal as Westside Middle School in Memphis until 2012 but is now training to open a charter school in 2014.

“You have a lot more control and autonomy over the things that really matter in schools: staffing, your hiring, resources, and curricular program design.  Everything that goes into operating a school you’re in charge of it. You have no excuses, it’s all on you,” said White.

White said the accountability of running a charter school is what is needed in education reform in Memphis.

“There will a level of accountability and sense of urgency built around education that will make everyone have to rise up the level of production for the good of our children. There cannot be a sense of mediocrity anymore,” added White.

The training program is 2 years long.

“We teach them how to use data in schools, how do you use data better to drive student achievement, how do you build a strong school culture and how do you build a board of directors,” said Thompson.

TCSI will apply to turn low performing schools taken over by the state into charter schools.