Dear partners and colleagues,
Today, the Board of Directors congratulates our founding executive director, Shannon Hodge, on her new role as President at KIPP DC. We are thrilled that Shannon will remain in the DC school community, working tirelessly for DC’s students and families.
Shannon has played a critical role in her tenure as founding executive director at the DC Charter School Alliance. In the last two years, Shannon and her team built an aligned and effective coalition representing every DC charter school; lifted voices of charter school leaders, teachers, students, and families; and successfully advocated for what students need to thrive, including:
- Increased funding for DC students;
- More funding for students designated as at-risk and for adult students;
- Updating the nearly decade-old adequacy funding study;
- Increased funding for charter school facilities; and
- Funding for schools to provide extra supports because of COVID-19, including school-based mental health funding and nursing staffing.
The DC Charter School Alliance also has built a strong foundation of philanthropic funding — all while helping DC charter schools navigate the COVID-19 pandemic from school closures in March 2020, to a transition to virtual learning; from reopening school buildings in August 2021, to ensuring that school staff, families, and students have accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines. Shannon will continue as executive director through October.
The Board of Directors is thrilled to name Ariel Johnson, the chief of staff at the DC Charter School Alliance, as interim executive director. As chief of staff, Ariel oversees the DC Charter School Alliance’s strategic direction to ensure that the organization is meeting its goals. Before her tenure at the DC Charter School Alliance, Ariel began her career working for students affected by the juvenile justice system, serving in Chicago Public Schools and the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, where she led the state’s charter advocacy sector. She received her undergraduate degree from John Carroll University and her law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, where she focused on school law and child and family law. She was selected as a National Lawyers Guild, Haywood Burns Memorial Fellow, and a Surge Institute Fellow. She also serves on the board of the Sharper Moise Foundation. We’re honored that Ariel is stepping into this leadership role.
The DC Charter School Alliance will continue to work with and advocate for the needs of all charter schools in DC and their staff, families, and students by seeking continued, increased, and equitable investments and policies in public education that accelerates learning equitably. Representing 68 nonprofit organizations that operate more than 130 public charter schools remains our priority. We are committed to working across city agencies, with the DC Council, and with the many partners that work on behalf of DC students to ensure that all DC students receive a great public education.
As a board, we remain ready to advocate for our students, families, and school communities. We look forward to continuing that work with Shannon, Ariel, our Member Council, and the entire team at the DC Charter School Alliance.
Patricia Brantley, Board Chair
Jessica Wodatch, Secretary
Justin Rydstrom, Treasurer