In January of 2001 leaders from about 15 charter schools and petitioners from around the State of Georgia embarked on a series of monthly meetings in Macon, Georgia. The purpose of these meetings was to discuss the collective needs of Georgia’s charter schools and how those needs could be more effectively met if Georgia’s charter schools worked together. These meetings lead to the creation and incorporation in April of 2001 of the Georgia Charter Schools Association. Over the course of several months, this group of charter school operators and petitioners developed a mission statement, created By-laws, devised a membership structure, created committees, and, elected officers.
From the time GCSA was founded, the staff of the Georgia Department of Education’s Office of Charter School Compliance and the Georgia Public Policy Foundation worked closely with this new Association and offered valuable insight and support. At a meeting between representatives of these three organizations in October of 2001, it was decided that the collective interests of Georgia’s charter schools would be best served if there was someone whose sole job was to act as a representative and spokesperson for Georgia’s charter schools. It was decided that the most logical employer of this spokesperson was the membership organization, GCSA.
With initial funding provided by membership dues from the founding members of GCSA along with a seed grant from the Charter Friends National Network, GCSA hired its first Executive Director and opened an office in Atlanta in February of 2002.
Since 2002 GCSA has developed numerous programs and services for Georgia’s charter school operators and petitioners. Many of those programs are outlined in the strategic plan. GCSA has become a respected and formidable advocate for Georgia’s charter schools. GCSA has developed valuable relationships with members of both the broadcast and print media through Georgia.
In the fall of 2004 GCSA received a 3 year grant from a prominent national philanthropic foundation. This grant allowed GCSA to expand its capacity in order to ensure that it can continue to meet the needs of a growing charter school sector. As a result GCSA has a full service staff and is located in offices near downtown Atlanta.
GCSA is the charter school membership organization for all of Georgia and is the only entity in Georgia that has as its sole purpose supporting and advancing Georgia’s charter school sector.
The mission of the Georgia Charter Schools is to improve student achievement and promote educational choice by serving and advocating for public charter schools in Georgia.
The Georgia Charter Schools Association values innovation, school choice, parental involvement, student achievement, accountability, communication, and collaboration.