In Memoriam

Last week, one of the founders of the New York City Charter School Center, Carol Reich, passed away.  You can read the outline of Carol’s life and contributions in the New York Times’ obituary. And, if you want to know more, and wonder how the charter movement got started in New York, I encourage you to read the book she and her husband and partner, Joe Reich, wrote, Getting to Bartlett Street.

I had the great honor of knowing Carol. Indeed, I’m sitting in my present seat not only because Carol and Joe had a big hand in hiring me, but because there would be no Charter Center without them. They conceived it, they offered the first incredibly generous funding for it, and they got others, including the Robin Hood Foundation, to contribute as well.

If you didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Carol, she was vibrant, whip-smart, frank, unstoppable, and deeply caring about children she knew and countless others she didn’t.  She was a happy warrior with the best laugh in the world.

As the tailwinds turn to headwinds, I can tell you this: we are the poorer for not having her tremendous strength pushing us along. For those of us who remember her (and miss her terribly), and for others who care about this work, we will honor her memory by fighting on, even if the road we walk is now lonelier.  

James Merriman