FOCUS Founder Malcolm “Mike” Peabody to Be Inducted in Charter School Hall of Fame

Honorees to be recognized by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools at 2017 National Charter Schools Conference in Washington, DC

Washington, D.C. May 4, 2017 – Malcolm “Mike” Peabody, Founder and Board Member Emeritus of Friends of Choice in Urban Schools (FOCUS) will be honored by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools as a 2017 inductee to its Hall of Fame. He will be joined by National Association of Charter School Authorizers CEO Greg Richmond and Magnolia Public Schools CEO Caprice Young.

The Charter School Hall of Fame recognizes individuals and organizations for their innovation, long-term commitment, and pioneering efforts in the growth of charter schools. The three 2017 honorees will join 32 esteemed inductees who’ve been celebrated since the Hall of Fame’s inception in 2007.

“We are proud to honor these outstanding leaders in the charter public school community because of their significant contributions to the movement and unyielding commitment to ensuring all students have access to an excellent education,” said Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “We thank Mike, Greg and Caprice for their unwavering dedication and their continued leadership in service of the more than 3 million students served by charter public schools every day.”

Mike Peabody has been a pioneer in Washington, D.C.’s school reform landscape for more than three decades.  Among his most notable contributions was founding Friends of Choice in Urban Schools (FOCUS) in 1996. FOCUS quickly became one of the most visible and aggressive voices in the city’s burgeoning charter school movement in the District, advocating for equal funding and fair access to city-owned buildings. Today, DC is one of the largest urban charter sectors with nearly 50 percent of public school students attending a charter public school. It has been designated the healthiest charter school movement in the country by the National Alliance for two years in a row.

“I've never met anyone like Mike,” says Josh Kern, founder of Thurgood Marshall Academy and FOCUS board member.  “He has absolutely no agenda other than the best interest of kids. For nearly fifteen years as the Board Chair of FOCUS he was a tenacious advocate on their behalf.”

“Mr. Peabody founded FOCUS based on the belief that all children deserve access to an excellent education. His vision and his advocacy laid the groundwork for the where DC is today - the most rapidly improving urban school district in the nation,” said Irene Holtzman Executive Director. “This recognition from the National Alliance is richly deserved and FOCUS is thrilled to have him honored in this way.” 

In addition to this honor, Mike was inducted into the D.C. Charter Hall of Fame in its inaugural year last year. This year he will welcome new inductees Robert Cane, former Executive Director of FOCUS, Irasema Salcido, Founder of Cesar Chavez Public Charter School, and the late Cassandra Pinkney Founder of Eagle Academy Public Charter School to the 2017 DC Charter School Hall of Fame at FOCUS’s annual Gala on May 11, 2017.  Registration is still open.

About FOCUS -  FOCUS supports the diverse set of public charter schools in Washington, D.C. by advocating for autonomy, equity, and quality.

Media Contact – Irene Holtzman iholtzman@focusdc.org 301-910-4752