Board of Directors

Jim Horne CPA

FCSA President and Chair
CEO, The Horne Group
Former Florida Commissioner of Education

Jim Horne was the founder and president of Horne Group, a governmental consulting and business development firm. From 1994-2001, Horne served in the Florida Senate where he held key leadership positions, including chairman of the Ways & Means Committee, Finance & Tax Committee, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee. In 2001, Florida Governor Bush appointed Senator Horne as the 1st appointed Commissioner of Education.

John Kirtley

FCSA Treasurer
Chairman, Florida School Choice Fund
Vice Chairman, American Federation for Children

John Kirtley is co-founder of KLH Capital, a private equity firm based in Tampa. In 1998, Mr. Kirtley created the Children’s Scholarship Fund of Tampa Bay, which partnered with the national organization and provided privately funded scholarships for lower income children to attend the schools of their choice. He is former president of Children First America and a former Director of the American Education Reform Foundation. Mr. Kirtley is currently vice chair of ASC, chair of the Florida PRIDE Scholarship Fund, and chair of the Florida affiliate of All Children Matter. He also serves on the Board of the James Madison Institute.

Patricia Levesque, M.A.

Executive Director, Foundation for Florida's Future
Executive Director, Foundation for Excellence in Education

Patricia Levesque heads the foundation begun by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush to improve the quality of education in Florida and across the nation. Ms. Levesque is also the managing partner of Meridian Strategies, LLC, a communications, strategic planning, and governmental consulting firm in Tallahassee, Florida. Prior to her leadership of these foundations, Ms. Levesque served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Jeb Bush beginning in October 2003. In this capacity she oversaw state agencies responsible for education, general government services, business and professional regulation, elder affairs, veteran’s affairs, work­force, lottery, and juvenile justice.

Emilia May Fanjul

Founder, Everglades Prep & Glades Charter Schools

Emilia May Fanjul is a Founding and Board Member of Fundacion MIR and active in the Central Romana Hospital in La Romana, Dominican Republic. She is the Board Chair of Everglades Preparatory Academy and Glades Academy Elementary charter schools in Pahokee, Florida and on the Advisory Board of New Hope Charities, Inc. in West Palm Beach, Florida. She serves on the Board of Trustees of the Animal Medical Center in New York City; is an Associate Trustee of Boston College, Boston, Massachusetts, and a former Member of the Board of Trustees of the Palm Beach Day School in Palm Beach, Florida. She is also a Dame of Malta American Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Mrs. Fanjul attended Chapin School, New York City, through the eighth grade then St. Timothy’s School in Stevenson, Maryland, 1964. She attended Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, 1964-1966 and graduated from Barnard College, New York City, Bachelor of Arts, 1966-1968.

Judith W. Stein, Ed.D.

Executive Director, National Institute for Educational Options
Former director, Magnet Schools of America

Dr. Judith Stein was on the founding board of two Florida charter school organizations and organized the first four Florida charter school conferences through NIEO. Dr. Stein has also served as the Executive Director of the Division of Magnet/Innovative Programs for The Miami-Dade County Public Schools. She was the Director of Career Education and a national leader in the career education movement. She served as President for the American Association for Career Education, a policy board member of the American Vocational Association; Guidance Director and the Executive Chairman of the International Collaboration Conference on Career Education in Miami.

Dr. Stein was also the founding President of the State organization for Magnet Schools/Programs, Consortium of Magnets/Public Choice Schools (COM/PCS).

Jonathan K. Hage

Founder/CEO, Charter Schools USA

Jon Hage is one of the nation’s leading social entrepreneurs committed to improving the US Educational System. As founder and CEO of the nation’s first AdvancEd/SACS-accredited education management company – Charter Schools USA – he has been a leader in changing the face of education in our country. CSUSA is one of the fastest growing companies in the US, founded in 1997 and growing to over 8,000 employees educating 70,000 students in 76 schools across 7 states. In the last 4 years, he hired over 5,000 new employees while adding 50,000 new student stations. He also founded Red Apple Development, which has privately financed approximately $600 million/3,300,000 square feet of new schools in the last 5 years. More importantly, his schools have produced some of the strongest gains in reading, writing, science and math in the nation based on state and federal performance standards, with their strongest gains among low- income students. Today, CSUSA has over 22,000 students on waiting lists with a 94% graduation rate of which 96% go on to college or technical schools and a 95% parent satisfaction rate.

All CSUSA schools require college preparatory academic rigor, active parental involvement, emphasize moral character, reward high performing teachers, and promote active citizenship and service to the community. Always seeking to break new ground, CSUSA has expanded beyond charter schools to include turning around some of the nation’s lowest performing public schools. Today his schools include the top performing schools nationally, including USDOE Blue Ribbon Awarded Elementary/Middle Schools and recent recognition of top high schools in the US. His accomplishments and opinions have been chronicled by various media outlets, including Education Week, Forbes Magazine, Fox News, CNBC, NPR and numerous newspapers nationally.

All CSUSA schools require college preparatory academic rigor, active parental involvement, emphasize moral character, reward high performing teachers, and promote active citizenship and service to the community. Always seeking to break new ground, CSUSA has expanded beyond charter schools to include turning around some of the nation’s lowest performing public schools. Today his schools include the top performing schools nationally, including USDOE Blue Ribbon Awarded Elementary/Middle Schools and recent recognition of top high schools in the US. His accomplishments and opinions have been chronicled by various media outlets, including Education Week, Forbes Magazine, Fox News, CNBC, NPR and numerous newspapers nationally.

Mr. Hage serves on many boards including as past chairman of the Sheriff’s Foundation, Pine Crest School Trustee and the Florida Chamber of Commerce. He and his wife founded The Giving Tree Foundation, a private non-profit charity dedicated to providing low income families and students with learning tools including underwriting and now building a school in Haiti.

Mr. Hage has been honored with awards for his community service, including receiving The Outstanding Business Leader Award in 2013 from Northwood University, The Diversity Champion Award by the Urban League and The Valor Award by the American Diabetes Association. He was named the 2013 Floridian of the Year by Florida Trend magazine.

Lauren Hollander

CEO School Property Development

Since 2009, Lauren Hollander has served as Chief Executive Officer of Mavericks in Education, LLC based in West Palm Beach, Florida, a professional educational services provider that manages non-profit tuition-free public charter high schools offering a high-tech, mastery-based curriculum specifically designed for students at risk of not graduating from traditional high schools in Florida. The firm plans to add additional schools in Florida and in many of the forty states that currently permit charter schools. As of 2015, MIE is actively engaged in the management of six non-profit high schools with a total enrollment of approximately 3000 students and about 200 faculty and staff.

Upon graduation from Florida Southern College in 1985 with a degree in Business Administration, Lauren joined with her father to create Choice Restaurant Equipment in West Palm Beach, Florida. Together they built one of the most successful and profitable commercial foodservice equipment dealerships in the nation. During her tenure, she orchestrated the merger and acquisition of several South Florida based dealerships. Rising through the ranks, Lauren was ultimately promoted to Chairman and Chief Executive Officer with responsibility for multiple locations and over $50 million in annual revenues. Lauren was also involved in a leadership role with Supplies and Equipment Foodservice Alliance (SEFA), a nationwide network of independent equipment dealers formed to optimize their combined purchasing power and marketing resources. She served on the SEFA Board of Directors including two terms as Board Chairman and three terms as Chairman of several key committees. In 1997, Lauren orchestrated the sale of Choice Restaurant Equipment to Clark Foodservice of Elk Grove Village, Illinois.

Lauren Hollander is also Licensed Real Estate Broker and has been involved in the real estate industry since 1979. Her family owns and operates two highly successful real estate brokerage firms, Hollander Real Estate and Frenchman’s Real Estate with offices in West Palm Beach, Florida. These firms specialize in residential and commercial brokerage as well as real estate development. Lauren and her family also own and operate Flagler Home Corporation, a firm that manages their personal investment in commercial real estate. Together, they have been involved in over $500 million in South Florida real estate transactions.

Lauren was born and raised in West Palm Beach, Florida, and currently resides in Palm Beach Gardens with her husband, Steve. She is an active member of JupiterFirst Church, and enjoys travel, golf, and tennis in her leisure time.

Thom Jackson

CEO, EdisonLearning

Thom Jackson is President and Chief Executive Officer of EdisonLearning, a leading international educational services provider with nearly a generation of experience creating effective and sustainable solutions to raise student achievement. He is among the small segment of unique business leaders who are able to build relationships, trust, and rapport – that in turn result in solid partnerships and alliances. This quality was best exemplified when in 2014, he brokered the acquisition and directed the restructuring of the company.
Thom initially joined EdisonLearning as General Counsel, and later assumed the role of Chief Operating and Legal Officer. Throughout, he has served in critical leadership roles developing, articulating and executing the company’s growth and implementation strategies. Thom’s leadership has deepened the company’s focus on Growth; “Operational Excellence:” ensuring that the domestic field operations are implemented with fidelity to the company’s proprietary Five Strand Design®; successfully re-tooling the company’s enrollment function; building and implementing an effective and efficient account management model; developing a coherent communications and social media strategy; and managing the operational features of the company’s strategic alliance with Magic Johnson Enterprises.

Before joining EdisonLearning, Thom held various key leadership positions at international and Fortune 100 companies. As the Chief Legal Officer at the GAB Robins Group of Companies, a private equity portfolio company with operations in over 50 countries, Thom led international acquisition teams and negotiated complex financial instruments in excess of $400 million. At both Prudential and MetLife, Thom held positions of increasing responsibility and managed enterprise-wide projects, helping to design and implement corporate compliance and “early warning” systems that mitigated high-profile legal and regulatory risks.
Thom has served three New Jersey Governors, including leading a budget task force of New Jersey business leaders established by Governor Richard Codey to streamline New Jersey’s $30 billion budget and serving on the budget transition team for Governor Jon Corzine. In 2007, Thom was appointed to serve as the inaugural Chairman of the Board of Directors for New Jersey’s largest charity care hospital, the UMDNJ’s University Hospital, with more than $500 million in revenues. Under Thom’s leadership, University Hospital posted its first profitable years in more than two decades.

Thom received his undergraduate degree in Political Science at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana with an emphasis on economics and international relations. Thom received his Juris Doctor from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

Ignacio Zulueta

Founding partner, Academica, Inc.

A graduate of the University of Miami School of Law, Ignacio Zulueta, is founding partner of Academica, an education service provider that helps charter school governing boards meet their schools’ vision and mission. Zulueta currently works with several high quality charter schools networks in Florida, Nevada, Texas, and Washington, D.C.

Dr. Jila Rezaie

I am a graduate from Tehran University School of Law and Political Science. While preparing to practice law, I was invited to work with UNESCO in a worldwide adult literacy project. With this experience, I realized that the lack of access to education is a main contributor to the inadequate equity and equality in every society. My family and I immigrated to the United States in 1985. I began my career in Miami-Dade County Public Schools to provide support for all Farsi and Turkish speaking students across the county. During the following 17 years, I worked with Archdioceses of Miami school system as a teacher, department chair, administrator and director of school development plans and curriculum development. In June 2004 I accepted the challenge of opening a new school in one of the most deserved but underserved communities of South Florida with the notion of service and providing equitable education for a socio-economically depressed area; the migrant farming community of Everglades Migrant Camp. Miami Community Charter Schools had to build from the base with limited budget. Through mobilizing the community around the school vision of transforming obstacles into opportunity, the school now serves 1040 students in grades K – 12 , and four specialized programs; Bilingual Education Program, Microsoft Office Academy, Digital Design Academy, and dual enrollment Program. Miami Community Charter Schools have maintained four years of 100% college acceptance, and this year, school graduation rate has surpassed the state graduation rate. Historically, the farming community has one of the highest school dropout rates in the country. Miami Community Charter Schools’ programs in providing equitable academic, social, emotional and economic opportunities for the community has received recognitions from Oxford University Education Round Table (2008), Florida Governor (2009), Florida Governor and joint
legislation (2010), and FAFSA Champion (2017).
The measure for personal success and achievement is the success of the community we belong to. As a true believer of “One Voice One Community” I have employed my voice and action to advocate for our causes, and therefore, my greatest achievement is the community confidence our school has gained and the positive changes we have brought about through the years.

Joseph D. Chisholm

President, Learning Prospects, Inc.
Former Chairman, Global Outreach Charter Academy
Former chairman and board member at Global Outreach Charter Academy in Jacksonville

Joseph Chisholm is currently President of Learning Prospects, Inc., a consulting firm that assists clients with strategic development of school choice options, products and services.
Mr. Chisholm has a vast background as a school choice champion. He was previously Vice President of School Development at K12, Inc., where he led efforts to create new virtual learning
opportunities for students and families in multiple states. Prior to joining K12, Mr. Chisholm worked with Edison Learning, Inc., an educational consulting and school service company and a leading public school achievement partner. He was formerly Executive Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Affairs at Help One Student To Succeed (HOSTS Learning), a math and reading educational product and services company with programs in over 1600 schools throughout 40 states, Puerto Rico, and El Salvador. Mr. Chisholm was Assistant Vice President of Government Affairs at Central Michigan University, the first university charter school authorizer in the nation. He also served as Senior Policy Advisor to the Michigan State Senate, leading a team to help enact the state’s historic charter school and school finance constitutional referendum known as Proposal A. He also served in the United States Navy as a Naval Officer and Naval Aviator, and as a Pentagon staff briefer to the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and Pentagon project officer for the Chief of Naval Operations. Mr. Chisholm was pilot and mission commander of a 12-member combat aircrew, retiring from the U. S. Naval Reserve with the rank of Commander. A graduate of Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mr. Chisholm was awarded a Master of Science, Finance degree from American University in Washington, D.C.

Mike Strader

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