Donald Hense
Donald Hense, founder and chairman of the board of Friendship Public Charter Schools in D.C. (Courtesy of National Alliance for Public Charter Schools)

Seven African-American leaders will be honored this month for their commitment to and advocacy for the public charter school movement with the inaugural #BringTheFunk Awards.

The awards, given by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, will be distributed Sept. 13 during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference.

Two Democratic lawmakers, Reps. Emmanuel Cleaver (Mo.) and Dwight Evans (Pa.), will receive their awards for their federal support and dedication to high-quality, high-performing public charter schools within their communities.

Shantelle Wright, founder of Achievement Preparatory Academy in D.C. (Courtesy of National Alliance for Public Charter Schools)

The honored educators are Margaret Fortune, president and CEO of Fortune School of Education in Sacramento and San Bernardino Counties in California; Donald Hense, founder and chairman of the board of Friendship Public Charter Schools in D.C.; Tim King, founder, president and CEO of Urban Prep Academies in Chicago; Charlene Reid, founder and CEO for Excellence Community Schools in New York and Connecticut; and Shantelle Wright, founder of Achievement Preparatory Academy in D.C.

“We are proud to honor these African-American leaders because they represent both the present and future success of the charter school movement in the 21st century,” said Ron Rice, senior director of government relations at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “These men and women illustrate daily how leaders thinking and working outside of the box transform the lives of students.”

Cosponsoring the awards ceremony are the Walton Family Foundation, the “#RolandMartinUnfiltered” daily digital show, 100 Black Men of America, Inc., Education Reform Now and The 74, a nonprofit education news website.

Brenda Siler is an award-winning journalist and public relations strategist. Her communications career began in college as an advertising copywriter, a news reporter, public affairs producer/host and a...

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