On Thursday, May 18, 2023, public charter school supporters from throughout the state convened on Inside Park at St. Bart’s in Manhattan to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the passage of the New York State Charter Schools Act.

The event brought together leaders in education, policymakers and members of the charter school community. Anna Hall, CEO of the Northeast Charter Schools Network, kicked off the evening with reflections about the progress made to date in the charter community. She also acknowledged the hard work and dedication of countless teachers, administrators and leaders throughout the past 25 years that has changed the lives of so many families, including her own.

Nancy Lewson-Kurz, CEO and Board Chair for the Beginning with Children Foundation and I-Queen Smart, a proud 2013 alumni of Beginning with Children Charter School, both spoke in the program. Attendees were also treated to a very special championship-winning performance of “History Of Mexicans in 10 minutes” in duo interpretation from Democracy Prep students Rosa Troncoso and Jesus Bonilla.

Julio Vasquez, board chair for Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter School in Rochester and board chair for the Northeast Charter Schools Network, introduced former Governor George Pataki, whose speech walked guests through the timeline of his administration’s passing of the Charter Schools Act and his hope for the future of charter schools in the state.

“It’s one thing to pass a law, it’s another thing to make it work. And that’s what you all have done here. Today, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of New York kids have had a better education because of you,” said former Governor Pataki.

The event concluded with an art presentation from Alexandria Alicea and Blue Rose Rodriguez, students at Girls’ Prep Charter School in the Bronx. The young artists gifted both Governor Pataki and the Northeast Charter Schools Network with original pieces to commemorate the milestone anniversary celebration.

Thank you to everyone who attended the event as well as to all of those who have played a role in the success of our students and our schools throughout the past 25 years!