The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools and Barton Gilman are pleased to announce that noted charter school and education reform advocate, Mashea Ashton, will be the Keynote Speaker for the 2021 PCPCS Annual Conference, slated for October 20-21, 2021 in Camp Hill, PA.

Mashea Ashton is the Founder and CEO of Digital Pioneers Academy (DPA), a new public charter school that opened in Washington, DC in Fall 2018. DPA is DC’s first computer science-focused middle school. Mashea recently returned to the Washington, DC area after spending the last 20 years implementing and scaling best practices in urban education across the country.

Most recently, Mashea served as the CEO of the Newark Charter School Fund, where she oversaw a $48 million initiative to support the quality growth of charter schools. Under Mashea’s leadership, Newark’s charter sector grew from 8% to an estimated 30% of the children in Newark’s public schools in 2016, while being ranked the second-highest performing charter sector in the country, according to Stanford University’s 2015 CREDO study. 

Mashea previously served as the executive director for the New York Program and senior advisor for charter school policy for New Leaders for New Schools. Mashea has also served as the executive director for Charter Schools for the New York City Department of Education and the national director of recruitment and selection for the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP).  She began her career as a special education teacher in Williamsburg, VA and Washington, DC.

She is the Vice-Chair of the Board of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers and serves on the board of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School.

Mashea has been honored as the New Jersey Charter Champion for Advocacy by the New Jersey Charter Schools Association, the First Lady of Charter Schools by Marion P. Thomas Charter School, the Shirley Chisholm Trailblazer by SHE Wins LLC, a Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow by the Aspen Institute and as an Education Award recipient from Leadership Newark.

She is a frequent speaker and panelist for charter school and education reform advocacy organizations around the country.  Mashea has an M.Ed. in special education with an emphasis on learning disabilities and emotional disturbance and a B.A. in sociology and elementary education from the College of William and Mary.  She and her husband are the proud parents of twins who are in the fifth grade.

We are very excited to welcome Mashea to Pennsylvania! Mashea will be introduced by the 2021 Essay and Picture Contest Winner!