Testimony of Darren Woodruff at Confirmation Roundtable
Testimony of Darren Woodruff, Board Chair
DC Public Charter School Board
DC Council Committee on Education
Thursday, May 19, 2016
Thank you Chairman Grosso and other members of the Committee for the opportunity to testify today. My name is Darren Woodruff and I am the Board Chair of the DC Public Charter School Board.
It is my pleasure to present to you and to the public for advice and consent an exceptional nominee for our Board, Mrs. Saba Bireda.
As DC’s sole public charter school authorizer, the DC Public Charter School Board seeks to provide students from all backgrounds and neighborhoods with a variety of quality educational options. We determine which new applicants can open a public charter school, which public charter schools should close and we also monitor public charter school performance and compliance. DC PCSB is recognized nationally as a highly effective authorizer and we have grown to serve more 39,000 students from all 8 Wards with a wide variety of instructional programs starting at the pre-kindergarten level and continuing through high school, adult and alternative education.
With the nomination of Mrs. Bireda for a four-year term on the Board we will be continuing our core mission to provide high quality public school programs for all DC students and their families. Over the course of her impressive career, Mrs. Bireda has served as a teacher at Sousa Middle School and at the UDC School of Law and, more recently, has served as a policy advisor and senior counsel to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. These activities have provided her with the experience and subject expertise that will make her a valuable member of our Board.
In my conversations with Mrs. Bireda, I have found her to be passionate about improving neighborhoods across the District by improving its schools and also in ensuring that all students, regarding of race, gender, or economic circumstances, receive the best possible education. In addition to these qualifications, Mrs. Bireda has written and spoken publically on such topics as quality education for youth in juvenile justice facilities, achieving equity and fairness in school discipline practices, and supporting greater access to higher education for Latino students. She also, as a resident of Ward 8, adds to the geographic diversity of our board.
With her impressive background, engagement, and interest in quality education for the District’s students, I am confident that Mrs. Bireda is well equipped to help the Board continue down the path of transforming public schools in DC. We thank you, Chairman Grosso, for scheduling this hearing today and for your support in ensuring that the DC Public Charter School Board remains a high-quality organization with a fully-functioning board. Thank you.