Georgia Charter Schools Association

Brighten Academy Named 2014 Georgia Charter School of the Year

Atlanta (January 31, 2014) – Brighten Academy, a public charter school located in Douglasville, GA and one of the state’s highest performing schools, has been selected as the 2014 Georgia Charter School of the Year.  

The announcement was made today at the First Annual Charter Schools Leadership Conference of the Georgia Charter Schools Association (GCSA), held at Lake Oconee Academy in Greensboro, GA.

More than 200 charter school administrators, parents and professionals were on hand for the Conference and lunchtime awards program.

(l-r) Receiving the 2014 GA Charter School of the Year Award; Brighten Academy Director, Lisa McDonald; Cathy Ramos, Community Affairs Manager, The Coca-Cola Foundation; Dr. Tony Roberts, President & CEO Georgia Charter Schools Foundation. Photo: Lauren Shay Lavin.

As the winning school, Brighten Academy will receive a $50,000 grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation. The award was established to honor excellence in education throughout the public charter sector in Georgia. This is the third year of this partnership initiative between The Coca-Cola Foundation and the Georgia Charter Schools Association.

Brighten Academy was selected from a highly competitive field of public charter schools across the state of Georgia.  The other finalists included Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School, in Atlanta Public Schools; and Oglethorpe Charter School, located in Savannah. GA.

Brighten’s Director, Lisa McDonald expressed her delight and surprise in winning the award after being a finalist for two years.  “It’s wonderful to get external validation that we’re doing something great for children and families,” she said.

The primary criteria for the winner included being in existence for at least five years and demonstrating academic excellence as measured by standardized achievement tests and operational sustainability and sound fiscal practices.

Also honored at the Charter Schools Leadership Conference: The Children’s Impact Award went to Governor Nathan Deal for his support of Georgia charter schools, and The GCSA Power to the Parents Award went to Arle Wilson-Dixon, a parent at Fulton Leadership Academy.


The Georgia Charter Schools Association is the non-profit membership organization for Georgia’s public charter schools and petitioners.  Its mission is to advance awareness of public charter schools, communicate charter school needs to state and local officials, support legislation to strengthen public charter schools in Georgia and build partnerships, collaborations and grassroots support for charter schools.  GCSA also provides programs and services that advance student achievement, school accountability and professional learning for charter school leaders.