SUNY Board of Trustees Re-Establishes Committee on Charter Schools

June 12, 2012

Albany – The State University of New York Board of Trustees today re-established its Committee on Charter Schools, the work of which has been included in the Education, College Readiness and Success Committee since it was created in August 2010 as part of the Board’s realignment with SUNY’s then-new strategic plan. The Charter Schools Committee had previously been in place since the 1998 Charter Schools Act established SUNY as a charter school authorizer.

“As a Board, we have come to realize that the work of this Education, College Readiness and Success Committee is too broad, and that both charter schools and the education pipeline require their own committees, given the critical work of SUNY in both areas,” said Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. “We are confident that this division of responsibility will better serve the Board’s needs and ultimately benefit students across the state.”

“The Board’s review of SUNY’s education pipeline activities has been competing for time with its oversight of charter schools,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “In order for SUNY and the Board to continue to be among the best in the nation at addressing education pipeline needs and at authorizing charter schools, the two areas should be given the undivided attention they each deserve, and I commend the Board for taking this action.”

Trustee Joseph Belluck will serve as chair of the Charter Schools Committee, and Trustee Ken O’Brien will continue to chair the Education, College Readiness and Success Committee.

Also today, Chancellor Zimpher announced that she has appointed Susan Miller Barker as executive director of the Charter Schools Institute. Ms. Barker has been leading the SUNY Charter Schools Institute as interim executive director since December of 2010.

“Susie has provided outstanding leadership for the Charter Schools Institute and I could not be more pleased that she has accepted the position on a permanent basis,” Chancellor Zimpher said. “The Institute as well as the schools and students it serves throughout New York State will benefit from her continued leadership, knowledge, and experience.”

As executive director, Miller Barker is responsible for the oversight of all Institute operations and charged with setting the course for future growth of the Institute, including enhanced collaboration with and contributions to the broader University and its strategic plan.

SUNY is the largest charter school authorizer in New York and the largest University-based charter school authorizer in the country, with 102 operating or approved-to-open charter schools that this year serve nearly 30,000 students. Its policies and practices are repeatedly cited by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Association of Charter School Authorizers as an exemplary model for America and nations across the globe. SUNY-authorized charter schools rank among the highest performing in the state.

About Susan Miller Barker
Susan Miller Barker has served as the Interim Executive Director at the SUNY Charter Schools Institute since December 2010 and previously served the Institute as its Senior Vice President and Senior Fellow from 2000 through 2005 during which she led the development and implementation of SUNY’s charter school research, evaluation and renewal activities as a statewide charter authorizer. Ms. Miller Barker has also previously served as the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) Vice President for Research & Evaluation from 2006 through 2009.

She led NACSA's research, evaluation and accountability initiatives designing NACSA’s first national data project on authorizer practices and authoring The State of Charter School Authorizing 2008. Prior to joining NACSA, Miller Barker served as Associate Commissioner of Education for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where she led the implementation of school and charter accountability under Massachusetts’ groundbreaking 1993 Education Reform Act.

Miller Barker has also been a visiting lecturer at Columbia University and Butler University, and was the founding chairperson of the board at the True North Troy Preparatory Charter School in Troy, NY. She holds an Ed.M. from Harvard University's Graduate School of Education, where she has completed all doctoral coursework in Administration, Planning and Social Policy.  Miller Barker is a graduate of Harvard’s Urban Superintendents Program and was the 1999 Edward J. Meade, Jr. Fellow.

About the Charter Schools Institute
The SUNY Charter Schools Institute was created by the SUNY Board of Trustees to help it in carrying out its responsibilities under the Charter Schools Act. Guided by the rigorous standards set by the SUNY Board of Trustees, the Institute’s oversight of SUNY authorized charter schools is comprehensive, including: evaluating initial applications for the opening of charter schools; providing technical assistance and guidance to schools where necessary; requiring schools to take remedial action or placing schools on probation; conducting a comprehensive evaluation when a school applies to renew its charter; and reporting to the school and the public on each school’s performance and progress.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school and business in the state. In 2015–16, SUNY served nearly 1.3 million students, including nearly 600,000 in credit-bearing courses and programs and more than 700,000 through continuing education and community outreach programs. SUNY students and faculty across the state make significant contributions to research and discovery, resulting in nearly $1 billion of externally sponsored activity each year. There are 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www.suny.edu.


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