Momentous news came yesterday from Scott Pearson, executive director of the DC Public Charter School Board. He announced that the group’s deputy director, Naomi Rubin DeVeaux, has resigned her position effective July 19, 2019 and will become a senior leader at the National Charter School Institute.
Ms. DeVeaux came to the PCSB in 2012 in her current role after serving as the deputy director and director of school quality for six years at Friends of Choice in Urban Schools. Prior to working under Robert Cane at FOCUS, she was chair of the English Department at SEED PCS. Here is how Mr. Pearson characterized Ms. DeVeaux’s impact at the charter board:
“Naomi has been my partner for the past seven years. I have relied on her judgment, her relationships, her creativity, and her thoughtfulness in every major decision we have faced. In her time here she has enhanced every aspect of our oversight, making our processes more consistent and fair, focusing on quality and equity, and finding smart ways to do our work while respecting school autonomies. I have never met anyone more committed to this work – to our schools, to the ideals of the charter school movement, and to the students we serve. Her passion is matched by her extraordinary work ethic. I cannot imagine achieving what we have without her and I will miss her very much.”
I have to agree with Mr. Pearson. To grasp Ms. DeVeaux’s vital role at the PCSB all you have to do is watch one of her presentations during those extremely difficult situations in which a charter is facing revocation. It is something truly amazing to observe. She would lay out the information in a calm logical manner like an extremely nuanced legal prosecutor demonstrating clearly how one fact leads to the other until she makes you believe that based upon the evidence there is no other conclusion that can possibly be reached.
I do not think the board ever dared to refute one of her arguments.
My interactions with Ms. DeVeaux throughout her time at the charter board were uniformity positive. She answered all of my questions with patience and dignity, even if they came, as they often did, right in the middle of the monthly meetings. I interviewed Ms. DeVeaux back in 2015. I am not happy about this change.
The National Charter School Institute describes itself this way:
“We have a long history with the charter schools movement. Founded in 1995 as the Michigan Resource Center for Charter Schools, our original mission was to support and guide the implementation of Michigan’s newly adopted charter schools law. Based on our impact and the rapid growth of chartering, the United States Congress provided $1 million in 2001 for the Resource Center to transition into the Institute and expand our services nationally.
Today, we provide a range of training and support for people and organizations in the charter community—from policymakers to authorizers to school operators—who are serious about helping students. Epicenter, our digital compliance and performance management platform, is working in 27 states and the District of Columbia, helping streamline the oversight and reporting process for over 1,500 schools, thereby allowing them to focus more time and energy impacting the lives of more than 500,000 of our nation’s kids. Our coaching and consulting work, along with our speaking engagements, places us on the front line supporting the thinkers and doers who are giving their all to advance excellence for our kids and our country.”
Although the organization is based in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Ms. DeVeaux indicated that she will remain here and work remotely. Here is something positive in that she can continue to play a part in our local charter school movement.
Mr. Pearson informs us that Ms. Rashida Young, the PCSB’s current director of equity and fidelity, will takeover much of Ms. DeVeaux’s responsibilities as the new chief school performance officer.