The Strategic Management of Charter Schools

The Strategic Management of Charter Schools Frameworks and Tools for Educational Entrepreneurs

Peter Frumkin, Bruno V. Manno, and Nell Edgington, foreword by Frederick M. Hess
paper, 304 Pages
Pub. Date: September 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-097-3
Price: $33.00

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The Strategic Management of Charter Schools addresses the challenges facing such schools by mapping out, in straightforward and highly pragmatic terms, a management framework for them.


The importance of this volume lies not in the prescription of best practices but in the strategic ‘toolbox’ of skills and frameworks that the authors share. For providers seeking better ways to promote both growth and quality, this book will prove invaluable. For policy makers, parents, philanthropists, and educators seeking to understand how to help charter schooling deliver on its promise, this volume will prove an invaluable resource. Finally, the authors’ savvy suggestions for aligning mission, institutional operations, and stakeholders offer a strategic vision that holds promise not only in the charter sector but also for those in traditional district schools. — from the foreword by Frederick M. Hess, director of education policy studies, American Enterprise Institute

This book is a brilliant combination of theory and real-world cases. Free of the pointscoring common in charter school books, it focuses on the breakthroughs and mistakes made by people dedicated to the success of poor and minority children. Potential charter starters will learn from this book and so should those who know little about charter schools but support or oppose them on partisan or ideological grounds. — Paul T. Hill, John and Marguerite Corbally Professor and director, Center on Reinventing Public Education, University of Washington, Bothell

The Strategic Management of Charter Schools should be required reading for anyone thinking about opening a charter school, anyone currently leading a charter school, and anyone sitting on the board of a charter school. — Richard Barth, CEO, KIPP Foundation

The Strategic Management of Charter Schools may be the first book to delineate the uniqueness of charter schools and the management tools to effectively assure their success. District administrators, charter school teachers and administrators, philanthropists and parent groups establishing a charter school should study this book. — Darroll Hargraves, School Administrator

Their book offers a timely guide to strategic management tools and practices for aspiring and current charter school founders, leaders, and board members. Leaders and board members of traditional public schools might also find much of the management advice relevant to their objectives and responsibilities. — Sandra Vergari, Teachers College Record

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About the Authors

Peter Frumkin is professor of public affairs and director of the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. His research and teaching focus on social entrepreneurship and philanthropy. Frumkin is the author of On Being Nonprofit and Strategic Giving: The Art and Science of Philanthropy. In 2010, two new books by Frumkin appeared. Serving Country and Community, coauthored with JoAnn Jastrzab, examines the effectiveness of the national service programs AmeriCorps and VISTA. The Essence of Strategic Giving: A Practical Guide for Donors and Fundraisers is a revised and condensed version of his earlier book aimed at the world of practice. Frumkin was the founding director of the charter school management program at Harvard University. He consults regularly with foundations and individual donors on strategy and evaluation. His current research focuses on the history of private philanthropic foundations and the development of strategy and management tools for social entrepreneurs.

Bruno V. Manno is senior advisor for K–12 Education Reform with the Walton Family Foundation. Prior to that, he was senior program associate for education with the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Before coming to the Casey Foundation, Manno was Senior Fellow in the Education Policy Studies Program at the Hudson Institute, where he held several positions including executive director of the National Commission on Philanthropy and Civic Renewal and executive director of the National Commission on the Cost of Higher Education. From 1986 to 1993, he worked in the United States Department of Education, holding several senior positions—including Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning. He is the coauthor of Charter Schools in Action: Renewing Public Education and coeditor of Customized Schooling: Beyond Whole School Reform, as well as many articles on K–12 education policy and reform. He is an Emeritus Trustee of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and other nonprofit boards, including the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Nell Edgington is president of Social Velocity (, a management consulting firm that accelerates social innovation by leading nonprofits to greater social impact and financial sustainability. Social Velocity helps nonprofits be more strategic, bring more money in the door, use resources more effectively, and grow their results-driven programs. In addition to leading the firm, Edgington writes the Social Velocity blog which illustrates strategic solutions to nonprofit challenges. Prior to founding Social Velocity, Edgington had a thirteen-year management career in positions across the national nonprofit sector. She led teams and strategic planning efforts, raised more than $5 million annually, recruited and trained top talent, and won national awards in nonprofit organizations such as PBS, the Oregon Children’s Foundation, and the Capital Area Food Bank. She holds an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University.

Education Next: An Inside Look at the Challenges Facing Charter Schools

Review in The Education Gadfly

Education Week: For Charter Schools, Managing Mission Is Crucial

"Eight Tools for Charter School Entrepreneurs" in Harvard Education Letter

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