rocketship education

On the Rocketship: Expanding the high-quality charter school movement

On the Rocketship: Expanding the high-quality charter school movement

June 26, 2014 - 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Thomas B. Fordham Institute
1016 16th Street NW, 7th Floor
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Richard Whitmire’s forthcoming book, On the Rocketship: How Top Charter Schools are Pushing the Envelope, is “the best account yet of what is happening with charters,” says the Washington Post’s Jay Mathews. But big questions still abound: Can Rocketship and other high-performing schools scale up quickly, a la the “Fibonacci sequence”? Can charters do so without falling into the pitfalls of the past? Will struggling urban areas embrace this form of school choice? And what about smug suburbs?

Join the Fordham Institute for a conversation with Whitmire and a panel of experts about his book, the Rocketship network, and the future of charter schooling. 

Book signing following the event:

On the Rocketship:
How Top Charter Schools are Pushing the Envelope
By Richard Whitmire

Free books will be given to the first fifty guests who RSVP and attend the event in person!

Follow the conversation with @educationgadfly at #OntheRocketship

Eventbrite - The Student and the Stopwatch


Scott Pearson
Executive Director, D.C. Public Charter School Board
Preston Smith
Cofounder and CEO, Rocketship Education
Richard Whitmire
Author of On the Rocketship
Shantelle Wright
Founder and CEO, Achievement Prep


Bruno V. Manno
Senior Advisor, Walton Family Foundation
Trustee Emeritus, Thomas B. Fordham Institute


I liked Preston Smith from the very start.

We talked about sports and music, teased each other like high school friends, and bonded over stories of our young kids and smart, loving wives. We also shared a hardscrabble past and a set of small shoulder chips that produced in both of us a forward-leaning posture and an abiding passion for education reform.

But there’s so much more to Preston, the CEO and co-founder of Rocketship Education, maybe the hottest CMO in America. He made it out of a tough neighborhood, attended and excelled at a top-flight university, joined Teach For America, won awards for his extraordinary teaching, served as a founding principal in his early twenties, and then started the first Rocketship school—turning both into the highest performing schools in San Jose, CA.

He worked his way up through the organization, and when CEO John Danner resigned in early 2013, Preston, at only 33, took the organization’s helm and was charged with overseeing both its existing eight schools and audacious national growth plans.

I was lucky enough to be part of a two-year...