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Kristen brings more than a decade of experience in charter school authorizing to the Charter Institute at Erskine. Before joining the Institute, Kristen worked as the Chief of Charter Development & Accountability at the South Carolina Public Charter School District. Prior to this, she held positions as the Deputy Director at the Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools, a higher ed authorizer of more than 60 schools in Michigan; and before this, served as the Chief Authorizing Officer for the Colorado Charter School Institute, the statewide authorizer of more than 35 charter schools in Colorado. Her roles have encompassed the design and maintenance of the performance frameworks and accompanying evaluation tools, the leading of all charter development and renewal processes, completion of all data analysis and performance reporting, charter contracting and compliance monitoring, as well as oversight of state reporting and assessments. She has led or joined the review of more than 650 charter applications for more than a dozen states throughout the country. She has also served as a lead reviewer and panel monitor for the US Department of Education Charter Schools Program Office for the past five years, with work that has spanned state-level review of charter sector performance, grant initiatives, and ESSA planning.
Kirby Jerry serves as the Charter Authorization Coordinator at The Charter Institute at Erskine. She started her career in charter education at the South Carolina Public Charter School District working under their former Director of Federal Programs – now current Director of the Charter Institute at Erskine – Mr. Vamshi Rudrapati. After joining the Institute as a School Compliance Coordinator under Federal Programs, she transitioned into the Authorization Department to continue broadening her knowledge of the charter process.
Grace Rubenzer is the Institute Support Coordinator for the Charter Institute at Erskine. While she is now enrolled as a student at the University of South Carolina, Grace attended charter schools throughout elementary and middle school.
Prior to working for the Institute, Grace received her high school diploma from Boiling Springs Highschool and the Scholars Academy at USC Upstate, graduating at the top of her class. Today, she studies as a double major in Psychology and History at the University of South Carolina.