Gary Bowman - Executive Director

15 March 2019

“Fight the Good Fight…With Respect, Civility and Dignity”

In recent months, I have attended Charter School Conferences and Legal Forums, and have learned about the latest legislative proposals which would dramatically impact California’s Charter School Movement (indeed, supporters of Charter Schools have reason to be concerned about pending Assembly Bills 1505, 1506, 1507 and 1508).

I would state, there has NEVER been a time when the CMP community has NOT fought for the opportunity “to offer a quality, tuition-free Montessori Education that challenges our students to reach their full potential.”

When I was hired as CMP’s Executive Director in June, 2004, I was immediately challenged to mitigate the impact of Assembly Bill 1994, which required the closure of the existing CMP network, and opening of four distinct District-authorized CMP schools.  This was the first of many significant challenges we have engaged in over the years, including SELPA affiliation, multi-year leases, campus constructions and renovations…and, yes, a pretty significant recession.  

In the midst of conflict, there are many voices that utilize divisive rhetoric.  Reflective of my personal values and beliefs, I have chosen a different path:  one which promotes understanding and collaboration.  This path requires humility, vulnerability, perseverance, and, first and foremost, the highest level of respect for those who oppose, as well as those who support us.  As a Montessori practitioner, I recognize that conflict provides an opportunity for growth and learning.

I believe that the most effective tool we have to promote the Charter School movement is to exemplify the highest levels of performance, as they relate to academic achievement, operational integrity and fiscal solvency.  In the process, we are committed to building strong and collaborative relationships with our authorizing districts, county and state entities, and our greater communities…including neighboring schools and our hard-working (and gifted) colleagues who serve their respective educational communities.

When it comes to education, there is no ‘us vs. them.’  We ALL stand together.  I will never promote, or otherwise condone, rhetoric that disparages the inclusive teaching community, whether it be charter, traditional, independent or private…and I will never take for granted, as the leader of a public charter school network, the awesome opportunity to provide parental choice in public education, while dutifully serving our incredible CMP community!

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