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Who We Are

The Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools (OAPCS) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization dedicated to the enhancement and sustainability of quality charter schools. OAPCS offers a wide range of programs and services to strengthen charter schools. The Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools also serves as a strong, unified voice on issues of importance to charter schools.

Mission Statement

The Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools (OAPCS) aspires to provide children with greater educational opportunities by improving the quality and fostering the growth of Ohio’s public charter schools.

A Center for Excellence

The Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools (OAPCS) is a non-profit, non-partisan and independent membership organization dedicated to the enhancement and sustainability of quality charter schools through standards, principles, best practices, business and financing resources and technical assistance programs. Charter schools are a major element of public education reform in the United States, and Ohio has the fifth-largest charter school enrollment in the nation.

OAPCS emphasizes the need for excellence among Ohio’s public charter schools, with a credo of quality that includes standards and principles for its members, ultimately leading to the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ certification of qualified schools. To help member schools raise their level of performance both academically and in other areas of operation, OAPCS serves as a center for:

  • School improvement planning
  • Student achievement planning
  • Financial and human resource management
  • Training and professional development
  • Achieving regulatory compliance and accountability
  • Sharing and developing innovative ideas and best practices


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Serving Our Members – – Ohio’s Charter Schools

To effectively serve its membership and enhance the quality of Ohio’s charter schools, OAPCS is strongly committed to:

  • Linking membership in the organization with standards of quality and excellence
  • Providing technical support services that strengthen member schools
  • Serving as a highly valued information source for members
  • Effectively representing the views of member charter schools
  • Providing valuable group-leveraged benefits through cooperative purchasing
  • Successfully coordinating with other charter school-affiliated Ohio organizations
  • Developing useful Ohio-based research on education issues
  • Making membership both meaningful and affordable
  • Gaining feedback from members on OAPCS’ performance and effectiveness

The Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools firmly believes that quality performance is the key to the healthy growth and sustainability of the charter school movement in Ohio.


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Providing a Unified Voice

The Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools plays an active role in advocating on behalf of its members, representing their viewpoints to elected and appointed officials and other opinion leaders at the state and local levels. OAPCS is dedicated to preserving and promoting the principles of instructional freedom, flexibility and innovation that are at the heart of the charter school concept, while ensuring that charter schools are properly accountable. OAPCS is also dedicated to upholding the principle of school choice for Ohio residents, inasmuch as charter schools provide avenues of opportunity for parents and students whose traditional public schools may not offer a desirable learning environment.

In addition, the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools keeps its members informed of the latest developments regarding current issues in public education, including public policy matters and highly effective educational or managerial practices.

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Board of directors

Susan Stagner, Chair

Susan serves as a regional vice president of K12 Inc., a Virginia-based curriculum and school management company with associated charter schools located across the nation. Before that, Susan had served as Head of School for the Ohio Virtual Academy. Under her leadership, the Ohio Virtual Academy consistently ranked as one of the top 25 charter schools and the highest-performing public e-school in the state. In the 2005-2006 school year, the Ohio Virtual Academy became the first and only statewide e-school to achieve the “effective” school report card ranking.

Susan has more than 19 years of diverse business and education experience. She has served as the director of the Toledo Technology Academy, a pre-engineering, public magnet school. Her business experience includes various positions in engineering, program management, consulting and Internet strategy, including stints with the Ford Motor Company and, most recently, Libbey Inc.

A graduate of the University of Detroit, where she received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering, Susan also earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan.


Susan Zanner, Secretary

Susan has recently accepted the position of director of implementation at the Alliance for School Choice in Washington, D. C. Previously, she had been the founding director of School Choice Ohio, a nonprofit organization that seeks to enhance educational opportunities for Ohio’s families. Prior to that, she served as special projects director for Voinovich, Needles & Dalton, LLC, a governmental affairs firm in Columbus. While at VND, she worked on various legislative research and advocacy efforts, most notably legislation to preserve and improve Ohio’s educational options.

A former member of the BexleyBoard of Education, Susan served as its president and vice president. She has also served on the BexleyEducation Foundation Board of Governors, the YWCA Woman to Woman Steering Committee, the Texas Christian University Parents Council, and as a District PTO Council president. In addition, she has been preschool chairperson and has served on the Finance and Staff Parish Committees with the Bexley United Methodist Church.

A native of Marion, Ohio, Susan received a bachelor’s degree in English with honors from Vanderbilt University and earned her teaching credentials from Capital University.


Daniel Peters, Treasurer

Daniel S. Peters is president of the Ruth and Lovett Peters Foundation in Cincinnati, Ohio. The foundation’s emphasis is on improving the quality of K-12 education nationwide. Dan previously spent 17 years at Procter & Gamble, where he held a variety of executive positions in advertising, purchasing and research and development.

Dan is chairman of the Philanthropy Roundtable, a national association of grantmakers with headquarters in Washington, D. C., and co-founder of the Alliance for Charitable Reform, a Washington, D. C.-based organization advocating common sense reform of the non-profit sector. He has spoken before a number of philanthropic organizations, including the Council of Federations, the Gathering, and the Association of Small Foundations, and has consulted with a number of non-profit organizations around the world.

Dan is a graduate of Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has a master’s degree in business administration from Xavier University.


Greg Brown

Greg is Dean of Academics at The Graham School, a public charter high school located in Columbus. He also teaches English at the school, which has a special focus on experiential education.

Prior to working at The Graham School, he served as executive assistant to the superintendent of Columbus Public Schools, overseeing daily operations of the office. He helped create the “Columbus Reads” program, bringing reading tutors from businesses into elementary school classrooms. This program served as a model for “Ohio Reads.” He worked for 16 years at The Ohio State University, where he served as a senior staff member in the College of Education and as editor of the faculty and staff newspaper.

Greg earned his bachelor’s degree in English and teaching licensure from Miami University and a master’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University. He has also completed extensive graduate coursework in education at Ohio State. A graduate of North High School in Columbus, Greg has traveled extensively. For four years, he lived in Australia, where he taught English at the high school level.


John “Jack” Sherwin Jr.

Jack is currently interim president and CEO of The Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, Ohio, as well as the president of Cleveland-based Mid-Continent Ventures, Inc. Prior to founding Mid-Continent in 1985, he held various positions with Diamond Shamrock Corporation, both domestically and overseas.

Active in the community, Jack is a director of Brush Engineered Materials, Inc., Impulse Technology Ltd., and ShoreBank, Cleveland Corporation. Additionally, he serves on the boards of The Holden Arboretum, John Carroll University, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation and Westminster School. He is a life trustee of the Hawken School and a trustee emeritus of the Great Lakes Museum of Science, Environment and Technology.

As recently past chairperson, he has had a long involvement with The Cleveland Foundation, including helping to establish the Lake Geauga Fund in 1987 and serving as president of The Sherwick Fund (a supporting organization of The Cleveland Foundation), which his father created in 1969. An avid outdoorsman, he holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from John Carroll University.


Marshall Emerson III

Marshall Emerson has spent his entire career in education committed to working with at-risk youth as a mentor, teacher, and school administrator. He believes the key to overall student success and development is a school environment that encourages children to develop a desire for academic and personal success.

After graduation from college, Marshall spent two years as an elementary school teacher in Pontiac, Michigan. He then served as a Director at the W.E.B. DuBois Academy, which achieved some of the highest proficiency test scores of any charter school in the State of Ohio during his tenure. In that position, Marshall facilitated the daily operations and implemented policies for students on multiple campuses.

In 2005-2006, Marshall completed a one-year fellowship with Building Excellent Schools, a nonprofit Boston organization that trains urban charter school founders. During his training, Marshall visited and studied nearly 50 high-performing charter schools on the east coast and served in an internship at Roxbury Preparatory Charter School (MA), which was identified by the United States Department of Education as one of the ten highest performing charter schools in the country.

Marshall is a founding member of 100 Black Men of America, Cincinnati Chapter, which provides mentoring opportunities to youth, job training for young adults, and fund raising for community projects in Cincinnati. He has been a guest speaker for number of organizations including, Leadership Cleveland’s “Education Day,” and CSU Leadership First Ring Academy’s “A Challenge Accepted Series.” Marshall graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.


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President and CEO

William J. “Bill” Sims

Bill’s career has spanned the fields of education, non-profit organizations and the private sector. Before joining the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools in early 2007, he served as vice president of school management for K12 Inc., a Virginia-based curriculum and school management company with associated charter schools located across the United States.

He began his tenure at K12 Inc. as founding head and superintendent of the Ohio Virtual Academy, a statewide virtual charter school based in Toledo. In all, he spent 14 years as a teacher, history department chair, admissions director, school principal and head of school in both public and private education.

Bill has also served as executive director of the Cisneros Foundation (New York City), executive director and president of the Denver Council on Foreign Relations, founder of the Denver Institute of International Studies, and founder of the publication World News Digest.

In addition, he has been vice president of administration and customer relations at Onesoft Corporation, a Virginia-based e-commerce company, and senior program officer at The Brookings Institution’s Center for Public Policy Education in Washington, D. C.

Bill received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado and earned a master’s degree in education and international relations from the University of Denver. During the Nixon-Kissinger era of “ping-pong diplomacy” and détente with China during the 1970s, Bill led the very first groups of American students (more than 100 private and public school students from Denver) into the People’s Republic of China.


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Stephen K. “Steve” Hiles, Director of Membership and Publications

A journalism graduate of Ohio University, Steve served for two years as a public information officer with the Ohio Department of Education. He was elected to two four-year terms on the Granville Board of Education and also served on the Licking County Joint Vocational School Board of Education.

From 1977 until 2005, Steve was employed in the Corporate Communications Department at American Electric Power, where he held a number of managerial positions including manager of public affairs, manager of editorial services and manager of internal communications. Most recently, he was director of communications and marketing for Columbus College of Art & Design. Steve has also worked as a marketing communications specialist for the Nationwide Insurance Companies and as a reporter at The Columbus Citizen-Journal.


Kate Kennedy, Director of School Performance and Accountability

Kate brings a passion for teaching, school choice and social justice to her position. She taught sixth grade English and social studies in Los Angeles with Teach For America, a national service corps that seeks to reduce educational inequities by placing outstanding recent college graduates in under-resourced schools. After her Teach For America commitment, Kate continued to teach, while also leading professional development for new teachers. Most recently, she earned a master’s degree in education leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University. While in New York City, she worked as a principal intern and tackled the issues of special education programming, new teacher training and school-wide strategic planning.

A native of Worthington, Ohio, Kate received a bachelor of arts degree from The Ohio State University, a master of arts degree in elementary education from Loyola Marymount University, and a Multiple Subject Professional Clear Teaching Credential in the state of California, as well as PK-12 Ohio Principal Licensure.


Catherine West, Director of Government and Public Relations

Catherine joined the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools after six years with the American Red Cross in Columbus, where she served as director of regional media relations and communications. Prior to that, she had worked with the Ohio Senate as press secretary for the Senate Majority Caucus.

A graduate of Capital University, where she earned both her bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in business administration, Catherine has worked with a number of professional associations in Ohio. She has been director of membership services for the Ohio Dental Association, manager of membership services for the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants and communications specialist for the Ohio Credit Union League. Catherine has also served as a public information officer with the Ohio Department of Administrative Services.


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CRYSTAL CRAIG, Business Manager

A native of Virginia, Crystal attended Virginia Commonwealth University.  She has held a variety of positions in federal government (with the Department of Defense and the Treasury Department), the private sector, and with non-profit organizations.

Before joining the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Crystal worked with Easter Seals of Central and Southeast Ohio, where she served as executive assistant to the chief executive officer.  Prior to that, she was an executive assistant with the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Office of Community Relations and Development.


KELLY WOODARD-DOTY, Database and Community Development Manager

Kelly joined the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools after nine years with Bob Evans Farms Inc., where she was the manager of consumer relations. Kelly and the consumer relations team addressed approximately 75,000 customer contacts per year. During her employment with Bob Evans, Kelly became an active member of the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals (SOCAP). She was named the Ohio Chapter President for 2007 and has enjoyed planning local events and serving on the national membership board.

Born and raised in Circleville, Ohio, where she still resides with her children, Kelly attended Teays Valley High School. She has continued her professional development by attending media training, leadership, customer service and effective communications seminars.


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