Annual Awards & Scholarships

As part of the California Charter Schools Association’s annual conference, we recognize and celebrate outstanding students, teachers, leaders, and advocates in the charter school movement. 

Susan Steelman Bragato Scholarship

The California Charter Schools Association awards ten $2,000 scholarships annually to charter high school graduates.  This scholarship was named in honor of Susan Steelman Bragato, the co-founder of the first charter school in California and the founder of the California Network of Educational Charters (CANEC). Susan was one of the first people to recognize the importance of building a strong network of support among charter school leaders statewide.

Hart Vision Awards

The Hart Vision Awards, established in 1995, are named 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 Hart Vision Awards recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to CCSA’s mission to support and advocate for high quality non-profit charter schools in California.

Rachel Willis-Henry Volunteer of the Year Award

Admiral Len Hering

2021 Rachel Willis-Henry Volunteer of the Year
Rear Admiral Len Hering
Altus Schools, San Diego

In honor of our CCSA staff member, Rachel Willis-Henry, who passed in late 2019, CCSA renamed the Volunteer of the Year award as the “Rachel Willis-Henry Volunteer of the Year award.” This award recognizes individuals that volunteer in their school community and have made significant contributions to CCSA’s mission to support and advocate for high quality non-profit charter schools in California.

About Rachel Willis-Henry

Rachel was brave, smart, fierce, loving and extremely funny. She was a passionate advocate for parent choice and a force to be reckoned with when she fought for her family and for all of the families in her Oakland community.

CCSA selected this particular award to be named after her as we wanted to pay tribute to the countless hours Rachel put into her work with public charter schools – first as a volunteer and then as part of CCSA’s staff – and the manner in which she lead our charter families, volunteers, and staff throughout her time with us.

Her legacy will live on through those who knew her and got to experience the warm, friendly, vibrant person that she was. We can still hear you leading us in our rally cheer… “When charter schools are under attack, what do we do? Stand up and fight back!”


We love you and miss you, Rachel.

Legacy Award

Our movement has always been anchored in the passion and vision of exceptional individuals. These leaders have been driven by a call to service, a unique mission idea, an insight into transformative work, and a relentless pursuit of equity. As founders and pioneers, they have left an indelible mark on the movement, and their legacies pave the way for a new generation.

We stand on the shoulders of giants and their life’s labor will light a way forward for future visionaries who will continue to evolve Charter Nation and reach greater heights.

In recognition of their work, CCSA is pleased to confer the Legacy Award to a distinguished class of leaders whose work can best be measured by the countless lives they have transformed, the opportunities opened for thousands of scholars, and the forward thinking practices they nurtured in hundreds of classrooms and the generations of educators they have inspired.

We are ever grateful for their service.

Past Winners

  • 2021
    • Sadia Abdirahim, Suncoast Steam Academy, San Diego
    • Tayler Bradley, Heritage Peak Charter School
    • Vanesa Cruz Granados, Public Safety Academy, San Bernardino
    • Tha Dah Say, e3 Civic High School, San Diego
    • Ana Martinez, PUC Community Charter Early College High School, Sylmar
    • Britney Meza, Public Safety Academy, San Bernardino
    • Valeria Mina, Alliance Collins Family College Ready High School, Huntington Park
    • Ingrid Realegeno, Alliance William & Carol Ouchi High School, Los Angeles
    • Andrea Ventura, Alliance Collins Family College Ready High School, Huntington Park
    • Ashley Zamudio, Valor Academy High School, North Hills
  • 2020
    • Jose Aguirre, Merced Scholars Charter School
    • Matthew Byrd, River Valley Charter High School
    • Destiny Cathcart, Public Safety Academy
    • Suzane Choi, Clayton Valley Charter High School
    • Caleb Edwards, Magnolia Science Academy 3
    • Norma Garcia, Bright Star Secondary Charter Academy
    • Rigoberto Garcia, Community Charter Early College High School
    • Keyara Piri, University High School
    • Juan Salinas, San Jacinto Valley Academy
    • Sarah Tran, Granada Hills Charter High School
  • 2019
    • Daysia Sngoeun, Gateway High School
    • Olga Rodriguez, Leadership Public Schools (LPS) Oakland Research and Development (R&D)
    • Miya Wandera, Leadership Public Schools Hayward
    • Lourdes Knowles, Tehama eLearning Academy
    • Edwin Uglum, Academy for Academic Excellence (AAE)
    • Chloe Fausto, Samueli Academy
    • Danny Maganda, Gompers Preparatory Academy
    • Constance Chiang, Granada Hills Charter High School
    • Gabriel Camacho, Heritage Peak Charter School
    • Ingrid Hernandez, Synergy Quantum Academy
  • 2018
    • Daisy Gonzalez, Wonderful College Prep Academy
    • Caleb Deniston, Inspire Charter Schools
    • Destinee Duncan, Oakland Military Institute College Prep
    • Zoe Karch, Inspire School of Arts and Sciences
    • Amy Estrada, Roseland University Prep
    • Monica Garcia Vilchis, Lighthouse Community Charter School
    • Sadie-Jean Bolton, Alain Leroy Locke College Preparatory Academy
    • Anthony Ramirez, Animo Pat Brown Charter High School
    • Felipe De La Cruz, The Preuss School UCSD
    • Ai Setoyama, Capistrano Connections Academy
  • 2017
    • Omega Agee, KIPP King Collegiate High School
    • Akosua Boateng, Sacramento Charter High School
    • Kevin Chang, Western Sierra Collegiate Academy
    • Kyle Dent, Lighthouse Community Charter School
    • Erick Felix, Synergy Quantum Academy
    • Abraham Herrera, Math and Science College Prepratory
    • Rola Kojok, Guajome Park Academy
    • Meron Lemmi, The Preuss School UCSD
    • Eduardo Perez, Oakland Unity High School
    • Vanessa Wan, Clayton Valley Charter High School
  • 2016
    • Lizbeth Cuevas, Alliance Gertz-Ressler High School
    • Anahi Gutierrez, Animo Venice Charter High School
    • Christopher Heubner, University Preparatory School
    • Jian Hao Li, Oakland Charter High School
    • Ricardo Lopez, Synergy Quantum Academy
    • Lucerito Lopez, High Tech High
    • Melissa Murdock, Charter University Prep
    • Katherine Najar Velazquez, Gompers Preparatory Academy
    • Michael Regla, San Jacinto Valley Academy
    • Keelan Winter, Springs Charter School
  • 2015
    • Chelsie Dang, The Preuss School UCSD
    • Maria Bernal, Leadership Public Schools Richmond
    • Maria Ruiz, Paramount Academy
    • Jose Chitala, Academia Avance
    • Anibal Pablo, Oakland Charter High School
  • 2014
    • Andrew Chang, Granada Hills Charter High School
    • James McDaniels, Marysville Charter Academy of the Arts
    • Ju Rang Seo, Camino Nuevo Charter Academy
    • Martin Garcia, Gompers Preparatory Academy
    • Nori Dubon, Oakland Unity High School
  • 2013
    • Beatriz Arias, Oakland Unity High School
    • Steven Colin, Camino Nuevo Charter Academy
    • Jackie Ho, Lighthouse Community Charter School
    • Brandon Khuu, The Preuss School UCSD
    • Maryam Atty, Liberty Charter High School
  • 2012
    • Catherine Mitchell, Guajome Park Academy
    • Jacob Gunter, Pacific Collegiate School
    • Fernanda Velazco, Granada Hills Charter High School
    • Kiera Peltz, Charter High School of the Arts Multimedia
    • Sabrina Legarrea, Grove High School
  • Sue Park, Head of School, Yu Ming Charter School, Oakland and Marcia Aaron, Founder and CEO, KIPP SoCal Public Schools (2021)
  • Alison Diaz, Environmental Charter and Frances Teso, Voices College-Bound Language Academies (2020)
  • Chris Topham, Sebastopol Independent Charter School, Sebastopol and Michelle Parada and Mary Ann Donohue, All Tribes American Indian Charter School, Valley Center (2019)
  • April Chou, KIPP Bay Area Schools, Oakland and Debbie Tarver, LaVerne Elementary Preparatory Academy (LEPA), Hesperia and Desert Trails Preparatory Academy (DPTA), Adelanto (2018)
  • Casey Taylor, Achieve Charter School of Paradise, Inc., Paradise and Emilio Pack, STEM Prep Schools, Los Angeles (2017)
  • Malka Borrego, Equitas Academy Charter Schools, Los Angeles and Kiumars Arzani, Ivy Bound Academy, Los Angeles, CA (2016)
  • Judy Burton, Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, Los Angeles (2015)
  • Marco Petruzzi, Green Dot Public Schools, Los Angeles (2014)
  • Jackie Elliot, Partnership to Uplift Communities (PUC), Los Angeles (2013)
  • Dr. David Patterson, Rocklin Academies, Rocklin (2012)
  • Cameron Curry, Classical Academies, Escondido (2011)
  • Diane Tavenner, Summit Preparatory Academy, Redwood City (2010)
  • Sharon Weir, New West Charter School, Los Angeles (2009)
  • Brian Bauer, Granada Hills Charter High School, Los Angeles (2008)
  • Luci Fowers, Albert Einstein Academies, San Diego (2007)
  • Kimberly and Roderick Logan, Charter Academy of the Redwoods, Ukiah (2005-2006)
  • Mike Piscal, View Park Preparatory Accelerated Charter School, Los Angeles (2004)
  • Bonnie Bergeron, Leadership High School, San Francisco (2003)
  • Pat Golding, Hickman Charter School, Hickman (2003)
  • Rick Piercy, The Academy for Academic Excellence, Apple Valley (2002)
  • Johnathan Williams and Kevin Sved, The Accelerated School, Los Angeles (2001)
  • Dennis Mah, Bowling Green Charter School, Sacramento (2001)
  • Joy Frankland, Temecula Learning Center, Temecula (2001)
  • Doug Bean, Fenton Ave. Charter School, Los Angeles (2000)
  • Mark Kushner, Leadership High School, San Francisco (2000)
  • Yvonne Chan, Vaughn Next Century Learning Center, Los Angeles (1999)
  • Randy Gaschler, Horizons Instructional Systems, Lincoln (1998)
  • Joe Lucente and Irene Sumida, Fenton Ave. Charter School, Los Angeles (1997)
  • Ginger Hovenic, Clear View Charter School, Chula Vista (1996)
  • Mary Bixby, The Charter School of San Diego, San Diego (1995)
  • Lynda Resnick, the Wonderful Company (2021)
  • Susan Samueli and Sandi Jackson, The Orangewood Foundation (2019)
  • Bill and Susan Bloomfield, Entrepreneurs and Political Activists (2018)
  • Arthur Rock, Arthur Rock & Company (2017)
  • Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation (2016)
  • John Fisher, Doris & Donald Fisher Fund (2015)
  • The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation (2014)
  • Barbara Grimm-Marshall, founder of Grimmway Academy (2013)
  • John Scully, Chairman and Co-founder of the Making Waves Program (2012)
  • Richard Riordan, former California Secretary of Education (2011)
  • California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (2010)
  • Legacy Award: Rose Gilbert, Palisades Charter School, Los Angeles (2009)
  • California Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell (2008)
  • Doris and Donald Fisher, Fisher Family Foundation (2007)
  • John Walton, Walton Family Foundation (2005-2006)
  • Jonathan Williams, The Accelerated School (2004)
  • William E.B. Siart, ExEd (2003)
  • Charter Schools Development Center (2002)
  • Reed Hastings (2001)
  • Don Shalvey, Aspire Public Schools (2001)
  • Pam Riley, Pacific Research Institute (2000)
  • Sue Burr, Institute for Education Reform (1999)
  • Kay Davis, San Diego Business Roundtable (1999)
  • David Patterson, California Department of Education (1998)
  • Eric Premack, Charter Schools Project (1998)
  • Sue Bragato, CANEC (1997