The emergence of charter schools has shaken up public education in urban settings. Charter schools have proven to be successful vehicles for community development and urban neighborhood revitalization. Yet, so many structural and funding models exist. Parents and families know that they can have a better school to send their child to, but how do they reconcile the differences in educational philosophies, curriculum, and neighborhood engagement? Various charter school organizations are establishing a prominent presence in distressed urban environments, like Camden. Charter school experts will provide a clear delineation and breakdown of the various models, styles, and methods so that families and taxpayers have a better understanding of who and what are entering their communities.


Khary Golden, Director of College Access, LEAP Academy University Charter School
Khary Golden serves as the Director of the Center for College Access at the LEAP Academy University Charter High School in Camden, NJ, where he has helped the institution to build a legacy of 100% graduation and college placement, helping graduating seniors garner acceptances from Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, Georgetown University, and numerous other prestigious top-tier institutions. Khary has spent the majority of his life living and working in the city of Camden, and he attended both Morehouse College and Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelors in Political Science and a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration, with a concentration in Education Leadership from Rutgers. Khary is happily married to his wife, Anjulie Williams, who is a Literacy Coach for Mastery Charter Schools in Philadelphia, PA. Click here for his presentation

Harry Lee, Director, Office of Charter Schools, New Jersey Department of Education
Harry Lee is the Director of the Office of Charter Schools at the New Jersey Department of Education. Prior, Harry was the School Performance and Accountability Manager and developed the first Charter School Performance Framework. He presents to national audiences on access and equity in charter schools, performance-based accountability and replication of high-quality schools. He has a BA in History from Yale and an MA in Public Administration from Rutgers. Click here for his presentation

Nicole Cole, President and CEO, New Jersey Charter School Association
Nicole Cole is the President & CEO of the New Jersey Charter Schools Association, a membership association representing the state’s charter schools and their children. She has most recently worked with Princeton Public Affairs Group (PPAG), one of Trenton’s most prolific government affairs firms, representing clients in the energy, education, housing, and business arena.

Mashea Ashton, CEO, Newark Charter School Fund
Mashea Ashton is the CEO of the Newark Charter School Fund. Prior, she was the executive director of New Leaders for New Schools in New York and of Charter Schools for the NYC Department of Education, and the director of recruitment and selection at KIPP. Mashea chairs the board of the Black Alliance for Educational Options and has a M.Ed. and a B.A. from William and Mary.Click here for her presentation