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Kara Kerwin Named President, The Center For Education Reform, Effective November 1

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Alison Consoletti Zgainer to Assume Role of Executive Vice President as Nation’s Leading Advocacy Group for School Reform Readies for Departure of Founder Jeanne Allen

CER Press Release
Washington, DC
July 24, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – In the fall of 1993, charter schools were in their infancy, vouchers were an unproven concept and accountability may have been a phrase in board rooms, though not yet an organizing reform principle. But Jeanne Allen had a vision. She believed that there was an opening for a new organization focused on substantive and structural school reform. That year, Allen founded The Center for Education Reform (CER), which she has led for nearly two decades to great success in the Nation’s Capital, with lasting impact on school reform efforts in states around the country.

In spring 2013, Allen announced that she was stepping down as CER President and today she and the CER Board of Directors put in place a succession plan that will set the organization up for continued success in the years — and decades — ahead. The two main elements of that plan are the appointments of Kara Kerwin as President, and Alison Consoletti Zgainer as Executive Vice President. Both are protégés of Allen, and together they have served with distinction at CER for nearly two decades.

Kerwin, who will become CER President on November 1, 2013, has been a key deputy to Allen for 13 years and currently holds the title of Vice President, External Affairs. Consoletti Zgainer assumes the newly created role of Executive Vice President of CER on November 1, moving up from her current position as Vice President of Research, and has been with the Center since 2006.

“I am both professionally proud and personally thrilled that the CER Board of Directors approved my enthusiastic recommendation that Kara Kerwin and Alison Consoletti Zgainer be promoted to these top leadership roles at our organization,” said Allen. “Kara has been part of creating and promoting every major accomplishment of CER since she stepped through the doors of our building in 2000, and Alison has provided the research integral to those efforts. I know that they will take CER to even greater heights in the coming years, as they understand fully there is much work to do, and are very capable of making it happen.”

Allen, who will step down as the Center’s President on October 31, will remain on the CER Board of Directors and support the organization as a Senior Fellow. One of her final acts as CER President will be to serve as host for “CER at 20” — Conference, Gala and Award Show on Wednesday, October 9 at The Washington Hilton in Washington, DC. For more information and to register for the conference and/or gala, please visit