As previously announced, the Association is thrilled to have Erin Allen start as the new Senior Director of School Support. She officially started on January 2, 2024, and is excited to begin working with our members. Erin comes to NYCSA with more than 12 years of experience in the field of education and brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience working in the public charter school space. In her new role, she will lead our dynamic portfolio of initiatives dedicated to supporting charter schools in New York as well as the advancement of the sector at large.

To get to know Erin a little better, we asked her some questions about her previous experience and what she likes to do in her free time. Check her answers out below.

Tell us a little bit about your experience in the public charter school sector?
I taught middle school science at a charter in upstate New York for close to seven years. Then, I stepped away to get a second master’s degree. While I was working in the biology department, I started a learning center to support students in the STEM majors. Charter school students from across the state walked through those doors and, in their own way, kept calling me back to working in the charter school sector. Since then, I’ve spent time supporting the McKinney Vento program for students in temporary housing, ESSA-Funded grant programs, and the Migrant Education program at the New York State Education Department. Most recently, I supported the SUNY Charter Schools Institute with evaluation and renewal visits.

What are you most looking forward to in your role as Senior Director of School Support?
While my roles have differed, I always look forward to opportunities to go into schools and meet leaders, teachers, and observe different innovative practices occurring across the state. I have no plans to slow that down and I look forward to meeting even more excellent educators across New York and beyond.

What type of support will you help The Association provide to member schools?
The Association has a portfolio of support programming that we provide to schools such as Critical Friends visits and data training webinars. We plan to continue the programming that is most effective but our programming doesn’t exist in a vacuum. One of my first priorities in this role is to engage with the schools I both know and don’t know to get an understanding of what’s working and what additional support might be needed. So if you have thoughts to share, please reach out!

In addition to the support programming, I look forward to advising leaders from public charter schools around the state on the issues affecting them most. One of the ways in which the charter sector in New York can advance is by learning through each other. In the ever-changing charter landscape, connecting fellow school leaders is one of the most effective ways that charter schools in the state can progress and better serve their students and families, so I look forward to helping facilitate that. The Association is an incredible resource for charter schools to lean on when it comes to being informed on the evolving policies put in place by the state, and I will assist with keeping that information relevant and at-the-ready for schools. The advocacy work the Association does on behalf of charters throughout the state is also an important pillar; ensuring that our state and federal legislators stay informed on how charters benefit students and families across the state is an important part of what I will be doing.

How would your friends and family describe you?
Some variation of “mischievous” always makes the short list of adjectives…as well as curious, adventurous, and energetic.

What do you like to do in your free time?
My career has taken me on a wonderful and unexpected journey that diverged from what I focused on in college. As an undergraduate, I studied Animal Science and Wildlife Biology in addition to Education. I still love field biology and so I fulfill that passion by reading science non-fiction, birdwatching, and field sketching (imagine the drawings that Darwin kept in his notebooks while traveling the world). I can identify close to 100 birds from their call or song alone! I love the attention to detail that birdwatching and field sketching require and I like to bring that same attention to detail to my work in education.

You can contact Senior Director of School Support Erin Allen at eallen@nycharters.net.