Wake County school board member John Tedesco has landed on his feet as president of the newly formed N.C. Center for Education Reform.
The center announced today that Tedesco would lead the group in its mission to "transform" the state's public schools, which it says "need a revolution." The group says it wants to address areas such as the dropout rate, the school-to-prison pipeline and how many graduates need remediation at community colleges.
“We proudly welcome Mr. John Tedesco to lead our efforts at NCCER as a non-partisan not-for-profit organization committed to producing measurable results for all students in North Carolina,” according to the group’s press release. “His expertise and passion in education, non_profit management and development will serve as a spark to create a powerful transformation of education in North Carolina.”
Tedesco said his new position won’t conflict with his duties as a school board member. He said his work will include helping to identify successful academic programs and getting funding from the private sector for them to be replicated in schools across the state.
Tedesco said he will also help facilitate a dialog among educators across the state.
Tedesco said while the group supports more charter schools and parental choice, it shouldn’t be labeled as having any particular ideology. He said that even with the lifting of the charter school cap, most of the state’s 1.5 million students will still be in the traditional public schools that need help to be reformed.
Tedesco has been looking for a full-time job since he resigned from Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle in April 2010.
Tedesco says the group is not affiliated with the Center for Education Reform or any other national group. He said he has talked with the Foundation for Excellence in Education, founded by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, about possibly partnering with them.
Tedesco said the group is not getting any funding from Art Pope, Bob Luddy or their families or foundations. But he said he might ask for funding from the Pope Family Foundation like he'd also seek grant money from the A.J. Fletcher Foundation.
Tedesco says the center is primarily funded by a network of small donors. One bigger donor is Colliers International, which helped them set up headquarters on Spring Forest Road in Raleigh.
Tedesco says the names of the board of directors will be released next week. He said it's not out yet because they're still finalizing the membership, which he said includes school board members from across the state and charter school people.
Click here for a press release that gives a little more info on the history of the group, which has its roots in the Triad region. Tedesco said that's why he's spent so much time lately at events there.