Our Story & Mission

Kids! They are the WHY behind all we do. Our vision is for every student to discover their gifts and experience the transformative power of education.

Winning for Kids

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Winning for Kids

THE NATIONAL CHARTER SCHOOLS INSTITUTE is a mission-driven, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose core purpose is to inspire and democratize excellence in education.

Our team is made up of passionate professionals who thrive on empowering people to grow and achieve more than they think possible. We know education. We’ve served as teachers, school leaders, board members, authorizers, association executives, and leaders of business and technology. We believe in the transformative power of education and we want all people to have the opportunity to learn, grow, and reach their full potential.

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.

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Empowering the Student Voice

Art Contests 2016 - 2019

Let students' imaginations soar! View the world from our students' point of view through their artwork covering several creative topics over the years.

Essay Contests 2016 - 2020

Our students' voices should be heard. Read these great essays, full of unique creativity and fresh eyes for the future.


noun  |  ex·cel·lence  |  /ˈeks(ə)ləns

(1) the quality of being outstanding or extremely good

(2) an outstanding feature or quality

— Oxford Living Dictionaries

The Institute Story

Kids! They are the WHY behind all we do. Our vision is for every student to discover their gifts and experience the transformative power of education.

That’s why we want everyone in our movement to passionately pursue excellence. Since our founding as a non-profit in 1995, we have been relentless about encouraging, equipping and supporting the needs of schools, boards and authorizers.

Our impact is nationwide. Our team has run schools, served on governing boards, led authorizing agencies, advised policymakers, testified before Congress and more.

We continuously invest our collective experience and expertise into our programs, tools and services. We promise to evolve them as needs change. What will never change is our commitment to the kids and those who serve them.

We invite you to join us. Together, we will change the arc of education.

The Institute Way

The National Charter Schools Institute is a values-driven, mission-focused organization that believes in the transformative power of education. We pursue excellence and want our IMPACT to be distinctive, dynamic and enduring. This is why our team is composed of passionate professionals – people who embrace and strive to live our values and let them guide and measure our behaviors, decisions and actions. This is what you should expect from us.

I           We value INTEGRITY.
  • We are humble, competent, authentic, equitable and honest.
  • We understand our words hold meaning and take full responsibility for our actions.
  • We are reliable and follow through on our commitments.
  • We promote opportunity for all.
  • We understand our strategy, our partners and the ecosystem in which we work.
  • We are forward looking and focus on things that will have an enduring impact.
  • We are curious and eager to learn and grow.
  • We focus on results over process.
  • We bring positive energy and a can-do mindset to our work.
  • We embrace obstacles and find ways to overcome them.
  • We go the extra mile and always keep our promises.
A          We value being ALL-IN.
  • We believe in our mission and truly care about our teammates and those we serve.
  • We take care of ourselves so we can better serve others.
  • We listen and dig deeper to find meaningful solutions.
  • We own our failures and learn from them.
C          We value being CREATIVE & COURAGEOUS.
  • We courageously challenge the givens to propel equity, excellence and opportunity.
  • We are flexible and adaptable.
  • We seek to understand and learn from others.
  • We look for root causes and go beyond treating symptoms.
T          We value being a TEAM, engaging in NOBLE WORK and LIFTING UP ALL KIDS.
  • We get to know our teammates and develop relationships of trust and respect.
  • We encourage ideas, diverse perspectives, and are open to feedback.
  • We put the goals of our team and our partners ahead of our own.
  • We presume positive intentions and confront conflict with dignity and grace.
  • We are willing to try new approaches to improve our efficiency and effectiveness.

Our Commitment to All

The National Charter Schools Institute embraces equity for all. We value people and want everyone to have the opportunity to learn, grow and reach their full potential.

We acknowledge that our belief in the transformative power of education cannot be fully realized unless impediments to equity and justice are redesigned and replaced with pathways of opportunity that are accessible and fair to all.

We continuously examine how the Institute’s influence and work challenges injustices and renews hope. Beginning with ourselves, we welcome difficult conversations and are open to learning how to be and how to do better.

We model the way and invite others to join us as we live our values and pursue liberty and justice for all.