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Charter Stars Awards Ceremony: Seven San Diego Charter School Leaders Recognized

May 15, 2021

SAN DIEGOCharter public school leaders, supporters, and community members gathered at the Bahia Resort Hotel on Friday night to honor the 2021 Charter Star Award winners. Presented by the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) and the North County Education Foundation, the Charter Star Awards recognize, highlight, and celebrate local leaders making the most significant impact in charter public education in the San Diego region.

“Charter schools are free, public, open to all and for nearly 30-years have been helping students and families in San Diego have more opportunities to a high-quality education,” said CCSA President and CEO Myrna Castrejón. “The Charter Star Awards honor individuals who have gone above and beyond to champion the mission and vision of charter public schools preparing kids to succeed in college, career and the real world.”

Winners were nominated and a panel of judges from the California Charter Schools Advocacy Council selected the awardees. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the onsite event was limited and followed CDC guidelines, though the event was livestreamed so members of their schools and community could watch the ceremony.

“All students learn different, and every child deserves a chance to attend a public school that best meets their unique needs,” said Cameron Curry, Chief Executive Officer of The Classical Academies and Executive Director of The North County Education Foundation. “The Charter Star winners are leading the way to help ensure families have access to these educational options.”

For more information on Charter Star Awards and the winners, please contact: Steven Baratte at (619) 987-0010 or

2021 Charter Star Winners

Emerging Leader
Andreas Trakas, Principal
Albert Einstein Academies Charter Middle School

Outstanding Innovator
Ted Kim, Teacher
The Preuss School UC San Diego

Outstanding Volunteer
Christine Nguyen, Parent
JCS Mountain Oaks Phoenix Learning Center

Community Impact Award
Demi Brown, Executive Director
Empower Charter School 

Outstanding Teacher Award
Nicky Geis, Teacher
School for Entrepreneurship & Technology 

Legacy Award
Debbie Beyer, Executive Director
Literacy First Charter Schools 

Outstanding Philanthropist

The Girard Foundation

About charter public schools in San Diego  

There are 131 diverse charter public schools in San Diego County educating 78,000 students. Charter schools are tuition-free public schools run by non-profit organizations open to all students regardless of zip code, race/ethnicity or ability level. Charter public schools operate with more flexibility than traditional district schools in exchange for increased accountability and high financial, academic and managerial standards by an authorizer.

About North County Education Foundation:

The North County Education Foundation (NCEF) is dedicated to promoting and supporting public charter school students through passionately seeking grants and funding from private individuals, businesses, foundations, and philanthropic organizations with the goal of providing an excellent education for every student.

About the California Charter Schools Association

The vision of the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) is to build great public schools of joy and rigor that prepare all California students for success in college, career, community, and life. The mission of CCSA is to meet parent, educator, and community need for great public school options by supporting and advocating for high quality non-profit charter schools and sharing their success throughout California’s public schools. Learn more.