Florida Charter School Conference

Keynote Speakers

Opening General Session
Tuesday, November 15, 2011, 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Andrew RotherhamAndrew Rotherham

Andrew J. Rotherham is a co-founder and partner at Bellwether Education, a non-profit organization working to improve educational outcomes for low-income students.  Rotherham leads Bellwether’s thought leadership, idea generation, and policy analysis work.  He also writes the weekly “School of Thought” column for TIME.com as well as the blog Eduwonk.com and is the co-publisher of “Education Insider” a federal policy research tool produced by Whiteboard Advisors.  Rotherham previously served at The White House as Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy during the Clinton administration and is a former member of the Virginia Board of Education.  In addition to Bellwether, Rotherham has founded or co-founded two other influential education reform organizations including Education Sector and served on the boards of several other successful education start-ups.   
Rotherham is the author or co-author of more than 150 published articles, book chapters, papers, and op-eds about education policy and politics and is the author or editor of four books on educational policy. He serves on advisory boards and committees for a variety of organizations including Education Pioneers, The Broad Foundation, the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research. (CALDER).  Rotherham is on the board of directors for the Indianapolis Mind Trust, is Vice Chair of the Curry School of Education Foundation at the University of Virginia, and serves on the Visiting Committee for the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Rotherham believes dramatic improvements in America’s education system are integral to ensuring equality of opportunity and building a more equitable and just society.
He lives in Virginia with his wife and two daughters.



Closing General Session
Wednesday, November 16, 2011,11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Florida Charter Schools: Past, Present, & Future

Fifteen years ago Florida saw its first charter schools open their doors. Since that time, hundreds of charter schools have opened and successfully met the needs of their students, families, and communities. What lessons have been learned over the past decade and a half? Where is Florida's charter school movement heading? What are the most pressing challenges and biggest opportunities? This moderated panel discussion will provide conference attendees the opportunity to participate in an open and wide-ranging discussion of the past, present, and future of Florida's charter schools.


  • Mr. Adam Miller, Charter Schools Director, Florida Department of Education
    Adam Miller currently serves as the Charter Schools Director for the Florida Department of Education. Prior to working for the Department he was the founder and Director of a charter school for children with autism. He received his undergraduate and Master Degree from Florida Atlantic University and is currently working on his PhD in Education Policy at Florida State University.


  • Ms. Maritza Aragon, Principal, Youth Co-op Charter School
    Maritza Aragon lives in Miami Dade County and has fourteen years of experience as principal of a high performing k-8 charter school. Previously she had five years of teaching experience, as well as twenty years of experience in program planning and service delivery in the public sector and with non-profit organizations. She obtained her Bachelors of Arts, with a Major in Education, at Montclair State College, New Jersey and her Master of Science, with a major in Educational Leadership at NOVA Southeastern University. Ms. Aragon is Co-founder and Principal of Youth Co-Op Charter School (YCCS). Currently, the school serves 525 students grades k-8 and is working on replicating and expanding its services. YCCS has been graded as an A school since it began testing students in 2001 and has continuously met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). In 2007 the school obtained AdvanceED/ Southern Association of Colleges and Schools/Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS/CASI) Accreditation. Ms. Aragon has served on various SACS/CASI Quality Assurance Review Teams, visiting other public/charter schools in South Florida.

  • Dr. Michael Grego, former Superintendent of the School District of Osceola County, Florida
    As Superintendent for the School District of Osceola County, Dr. Grego worked closely with staff to develop and implement numerous programs which resulted in increased levels of student achievement, fiscal responsibility at the school and district levels, improved teacher training and resources, and increased levels of community collaboration and communication. His many accomplishments include unprecedented student learning gains on the FCAT reading, writing, and mathematics assessments and effectively addressing the educational challenges of at-risk students, including ELL and ESE students.
    Dr. Grego began his teaching profession as a graduate teaching assistant at Illinois State University, where he taught freshmen students industrial technology courses while earning his Master's Degree in Industrial Technology Education. He later joined the Leto High School faculty in Hillsborough County as a teacher and coach, and eventually became the Department Head. His previous leadership roles included Supervisor of Technology/Industrial Education, Director of Divisional Program Services, General Director for Career and Technical Education and Assistant Superintendent.
    Dr. Grego has a Bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Oswego, and earned Master’s degrees from the University of South Florida and Illinois State University. In 1997, he earned his Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of South Florida.

  • Mr. Richard Page, Vice President of Development, Charter Schools USA
    As Vice President of Development, Mr. Page oversees the company’s growth strategy and leads in working with stakeholders to identify and develop new school models to serve community needs. Mr. Page has also been the Vice President of Operations for CSUSA where he oversaw school facilities, maintenance, contract management, enrollment & marketing, information technology and planning and communications. Prior to joining CSUSA, Mr. Page was the Chief Operating Officer for a land development/resort operations company in the Florida panhandle. He also spent many years working for Bearing Point (formerly KPMG Consulting) as a manager in the State of Florida government practice with lead responsibility for Health and Human Services. Mr. Page started his career as an employee with the State of Florida performing various roles primarily related to health care reform. Mr. Page holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Economics from Florida State University and is a Certified Public Account.

  • Mr . Michael D. Kooi, Esq ., Executive Director, Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice, Florida Department of Education
    Michael D. Kooi assumed the role of Executive Director of the Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice with the Florida Department of Education in October 2008. Mike has also served as the assistant general counsel with the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and was a commercial litigation attorney in Jacksonville for five years prior to moving to Tallahassee. Mike earned his bachelor’s degree from Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Florida, College of Law.

  • Mr. Fernando Zueleto, President, Academica
    Fernando Zulueta is the president of Academica Corporation, one of the nation's largest and most successful charter school service and support organizations. Academica serves more than 100 charter schools in Florida, Georgia, California, Utah, Nevada, and Texas. He is an Executive Committee Member of The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, past Chairman of the Florida Charter School Review Panel, and founding Board Member of the Florida Consortium of Charter Schools.
    School" by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
    Mr. Zulueta graduated Summa Cum Laude and first in his class with a major in Public Accounting at the University of Miami School of Business and was a Reid Scholar at the University of Miami School of Law, where he served on Law Review and from which he graduated with Honors.  He has received numerous awards for his work with charter schools including the "Cervantes Award" sponsored by Nova Southeastern University for his contributions toward excellence in the education of Hispanic students.






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