Success Academy’s Top Lawyer Is Leaving to Start Her Own Charter Network
New York City
The largest charter school network in New York City, Success Academy, is experiencing a loss as one of its top officials and chief attorney, Emily Kim, is leaving to start her own charter network, according to an article by Chalkbeat.
Kim, who currently holds the position of executive vice president of policy and legal affairs at Success Academy, will step down at the end of June to establish her own schools. Although Kim did not provide many details about her new venture, she mentioned that it will likely draw inspiration from Success Academy. Information about the model, location, and timeline of her new schools was not disclosed.
With six years of experience at Success Academy, Kim is seen as a dedicated and loyal member of the network. Eva Moskowitz, the founder and CEO of Success Academy, praised Kim for her work and referred to her as a "bureaucracy-buster" and a committed education reformer.
Prior to joining Success Academy, Kim worked as a high school English teacher and is also a parent of two Success Academy students. She holds a master’s degree in education from Columbia University’s Teachers College (1999) and graduated from Columbia law school in 2005.
During her time at Success Academy, Kim played a crucial role in defending the network against various lawsuits, including a federal suit related to the treatment of children with disabilities. She also represented Success Academy in an ongoing case against New York City regarding participation in the city’s universal pre-K program.
Kim joined Success Academy in 2011 as general counsel and was later promoted to chief policy and legal officer before assuming her current position in 2015.
In 2014, when Kim was chief policy and legal officer, the network’s legal team issued a memo advising staff members not to share sensitive information with journalists, elected officials, or other lawyers without consulting network officials first.
Success Academy has faced challenges with elected officials, particularly Mayor Bill de Blasio, over the use of public space for charter students. The network’s popularity continues to grow, with over 17,000 children applying for 3,017 seats at the Success Academy lottery for the upcoming school year. Additionally, a study released in 2017 revealed that there are 47,000 children on charter school waiting lists citywide.
Advocates for charter schools have been pushing to lift the current cap on charters, and this issue may become prominent in the coming weeks as state lawmakers decide whether to renew de Blasio’s control over city schools.
Success Academy, which consists of 41 schools and approximately 14,000 students, has been named a finalist for the annual Broad Prize for the second consecutive year. The prize is awarded to charter networks that show significant improvement in student outcomes, closing the achievement gap, and increasing graduation rates. The winners will be announced in June.
It is important to note that Campbell Brown, a board member of , also serves on the board of Success Academy.
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