(Updated Thursday, April 2, at 9:35 a.m. with reaction from another charter school support group.)
Idaho charter support group Bluum has hired the former founder and CEO of a national nonprofit devoted to improving authorizing practices for charter schools.
Greg Richmond, formerly of the Chicago-based National Association of Charter School Authorizers, joins Bluum as chief officer for growth and strategy, Bluum announced Tuesday.
“We are incredibly fortunate to add Greg to our team during this period of unparalleled challenge to public education and to the learning and well-being of our families and children,” Bluum CEO Terry Ryan said.
Richmond will lead Bluum’s efforts to “grow the number of quality schools in Idaho, the number of students enrolled in those schools, and the number of graduates prepared for success in life,” Ryan said.
Richmond spent 14 years at NACSA, from 2005 to 2019. He and his organization are familiar with Idaho’s growing charter sector.
- In January, Richmond surfaced as a finalist vying to replace the outgoing director of the Idaho Public Charter School Commission, the authorizing body that oversees most of the state’s public charters. The commission selected one of its own.
- NACSA last year suggested the commission develop higher standards for approving charters.
NACSA’s presence in Idaho, and Richmond’s planned move to Boise, sparked mixed reactions in Idaho’s charter world. The Coalition of Idaho Charter School Families, which claims to represent thousands of charter advocates across the state, lambasted Richmond’s hiring on its Facebook page.
Coalition president Tom Leclaire said he was “deeply disturbed” by the news.
Richmond said Idaho’s growing charter sector fueled his decision.
“When I stepped away from NACSA, I said I wanted to work more closely with educators and communities who are starting new schools,” Richmond said in a statement. “I am thrilled to find that opportunity with Bluum.”
Richmond referenced Idaho’s growing charter sector. Bluum is a key part of the growth, overseeing the dissemination of millions of federal and private dollars earmarked for charter expansion and startups. Bluum has spearheaded the creation of more than 6,000 new charter seats in the state since 2014 and plans to add thousands more in the coming years.
Disclosure: Bluum and Idaho Education News are both funded on grants from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation.