Staff

Washington State Charter School Association


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Thomas Franta

Tom Franta joined WA Charters as CEO in 2014. A United States Marine Corps veteran, Tom has spent the majority of his career supporting public education….

Tom Franta joined WA Charters as CEO in 2014. A United States Marine Corps veteran, Tom has spent the majority of his career supporting public education. Before leading WA Charters, Tom served as the Director of Office of New Schools for Minneapolis Public Schools, where he oversaw a portfolio of innovative school options.  Previously, he served as the Associate General Counsel at the Charter Schools Institute of the State University of New York, one of the nation’s most reputable charter school authorizers. Before that, Tom was and education lawyer in private practice, primarily representing students, teachers, and school districts.

Following his service in the Marine Corps, through the GI Bill, Tom became the first in his family to earn a college degree at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh, and was later awarded a law degree from the Syracuse University College of Law. Tom recognizes the transformative power that a great education can have, and fundamentally believes that all students are capable of excelling in public school as long as adults take the time to understand their individual needs and have the flexibility to meet those needs.

A native of upstate New York, Tom resides in King County with his wife and two children, both of whom attend their local public school.

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Rekha Bhatt

Rekha is the Director of School Services at the Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters). Previously, she was a founding Director of Curriculum and…

Rekha is the Director of School Services at the Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters). Previously, she was a founding Director of Curriculum and Instruction at an independent charter school in Brooklyn, New York, and later served as the school’s Director of Operations. Rekha began her career in education in West Philadelphia, where she taught high school English and earned her M.S.Ed at the University of Pennsylvania. Rekha is committed to working for equity in public education to improve outcomes for all students.

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Libuse Binder

Libuse is WA Charter’s Chief Civic Affairs Officer. She has taught middle school and high school in New Orleans and New York and is the…

Libuse is WA Charter’s Chief Civic Affairs Officer. She has taught middle school and high school in New Orleans and New York and is the author of Ten Ways to Change the World in Your Twenties (www.tenways.org). In her book, Binder provides a timely roadmap for individuals looking to make a difference. Binder was also a research analyst at The Center on Reinventing Public Education, studying the impacts of innovation in education nationwide, and the founding Executive Director of Charter Board Partners in Washington state.

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Nancy Durham

Nancy is the Finance Manager at the WA Charters. Nancy became involved in the public education and youth development movement while working at the KIPP…

Nancy is the Finance Manager at the WA Charters. Nancy became involved in the public education and youth development movement while working at the KIPP Foundation and the Forum for Youth Investment which provide education and programs to underserved communities throughout the nation. Inspired by the dedication of the students in the charter school communities, Nancy returned to college after a decade long hiatus and earning a degree in Accounting from HBCU, Bowie State University, in Bowie, MD.

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Stephanie Gil

Stephanie serves as Operations Manager at WA Charters. Previously, Stephanie has worked in the Seattle and Renton public school districts and the nonprofit sector, helping providing…

Stephanie serves as Operations Manager at WA Charters. Previously, Stephanie has worked in the Seattle and Renton public school districts and the nonprofit sector, helping providing wrap-around services for underrepresented youth, including facilitating life skills and emotional intelligence groups for students who are part of the foster care system, face homelessness, and have experienced trauma. Originally from Mexico, Stephanie has lived the majority of her life in Seattle, WA. Stephanie has her Bachelor’s degree from Whitman College where she doubled majored in Sociology and Spanish.

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Bill Kiolbasa

As Chief Finance and Operations Officer, Bill believes deeply that school quality is driven by effective teachers and in-touch leaders, both of whom are fostered…

As Chief Finance and Operations Officer, Bill believes deeply that school quality is driven by effective teachers and in-touch leaders, both of whom are fostered by the autonomy and accountability charter schools provide. Bill joined WA Charters from Future Is Now Schools, a nationwide effort to increase teacher involvement in the issues affecting their schools and districts. Prior to Future Is Now, he worked at Civitas Education Partners in Chicago, managing the EMO’s financial function while also leading research and benchmarking efforts for the organization’s human capital strategy. Bill’s first work with charter schools came as a volunteer baseball coach while working in venture philanthropy at The Chicago Public Education Fund. Bill received a BS in Accounting and Sociology at the University of Notre Dame and earned CPA credentials while beginning his career in public accounting.

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Maggie Meyers

As the Director of Communications, Maggie drives the development of, manages, and implements all communications functions at WA Charters to broaden the reach and deepen…

As the Director of Communications, Maggie drives the development of, manages, and implements all communications functions at WA Charters to broaden the reach and deepen the impact of the organization’s messaging and programming. Maggie received her B.A. from Bowdoin College and earned her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction degree from the University of Washington, where she specialized in the area of Language, Literacy and Culture. Maggie is deeply committed to reducing inequities and closing opportunity and achievement gaps, and this commitment drives her work at WA Charters. Maggie has worked in children’s book publishing, as a magazine coordinator, a substitute teacher, and for the Manhattan Youth Downtown Community Center. She joined WA Charters in February 2014.

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Mitch Price

Mitch is a founding team member of WA Charters. Previously, he worked on the successful statewide ballot measure campaign in support of Initiative 1240, which…

Mitch is a founding team member of WA Charters. Previously, he worked on the successful statewide ballot measure campaign in support of Initiative 1240, which authorized the creation of charter public schools in Washington. Prior to that, Mitch was a researcher at the University of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Public Education, where his work focused on education law and policy. Mitch has also worked as an attorney, a college admissions and financial aid counselor, and a substitute teacher.

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Amy Van

Amy is Project Manager for the Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters). She has a background on community development and engagement, having previously served…

Amy is Project Manager for the Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters). She has a background on community development and engagement, having previously served at the Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs, and remains active within local Asian Pacific American community-based organizations. Amy advocates for grassroots efforts committed to education reform and civic engagement. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies with a focus on development.

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