Marco Petruzzi Presented with Hart Vision Award for School Leader of the Year at the 21st Annual California Charter Schools Conference

March 4, 2014

  • Print

Contact: Dannie Tillman
(213) 924-2439

(San Jose, California) - The California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) presented the annual Hart Vision Award for School Leader of the Year to Marco Petruzzi, CEO of Green Dot Public Schools. The award was presented today at the 21st Annual California Charter Schools Conference held March 3-6 at the San Jose Convention Center.

Petruzzi is one of only a few leaders across California and the U.S. to take on multiple turnarounds of existing neighborhood schools in underserved communities. Under his leadership, the turnaround and growth of Alain LeRoy Locke College Preparatory Academy has flourished. When Petruzzi assumed responsibility for the school only five percent of the entering freshmen went on to attend college -today that rate is up to 50 percent.

An independent study by UCLA's National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) found that students attending the Green Dot-operated Locke are nearly four times more likely to graduate and be ready for college than students at neighboring schools.

After showing its success with Locke, Green Dot has taken on the transformation of Jordan High School and Henry Clay Middle School, both former Los Angeles Unified School District low-performing schools. Both of these schools are showing impressive gains in student retention, graduation, and proficiency rates. Last year, Ánimo College Prep Academy located on the Jordan campus, was first in academic growth statewide.

"Marco is the perfect charter leader to receive this award because he combines remarkable leadership at Green Dot, leading and transforming schools and therefore lives of thousands of students and their families, with his leadership in advocating more broadly for quality options for kids and the charter school movement," said CCSA President and CEO Jed Wallace. "He galvanizes parents, teachers, and communities at the local level, travels to Sacramento and Washington, D.C. to meet with legislators, and chairs CCSA Advocates Political Council, all of which demonstrate his formidable advocacy commitment and impact on public education."

Green Dot has also been a national leader in professional development and collaboration with teachers. In addition, its teachers are union members, demonstrating that it is possible for organized teachers to work at charter schools and develop cutting-edge initiatives to provide an excellent classroom experience for every student. Petruzzi has grown the network, among the largest in the state, while increasing the long-term stability of the organization.

Past Hart Vision Charter Leader of the Year recipients include Jackie Elliott of Partnerships to Uplift Communities (PUC) schools in Los Angeles (2013); Dr. David Patterson of Rocklin Academy in Rocklin (2012) Cameron Curry from The Classical Academies in Escondido (2011); Dianne Tavenner from Summit Preparatory Academy in Redwood City (2010); and Sharon Weir from New West Charter School in Los Angeles (2009).

The Hart Vision Awards were established in 1995 in honor of Gary K. Hart, retired California State Senator and former California Secretary of Education. While serving as state senator, Hart sponsored the legislation that established California charter schools. The goals of the Hart Vision Awards are to annually recognize and honor individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in education.

The California Charter Schools Conference has been held annually for 21 years, offering resources, guidance, and advocacy support to a charter school movement that has grown to 1,130 schools serving 519,000 students. Nearly 3,000 attendees are participating in this year's conference. Learn more about the event.

About the California Charter Schools Association
The California Charter Schools Association is the membership and professional organization serving 1,130 charter public schools and more than 519,000 students in the state of California. The Vision of the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) is to empower parents and educators to unleash a new era of innovation within public education so that highly autonomous and accountable schools of choice provide quality learning opportunities for all California students. The Mission of CCSA is to enable our members to increase the number of students attending quality charter schools in California as quickly as possible by securing policy wins supportive of charter schools and providing the supports necessary to open and expand quality charter schools. For more information, please visit