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Amy Anderson, an education consultant whose work includes helping to pass the nation’s first charter school law, will head the state’s innovation and choice efforts, the Colorado Department of Education announced today.

For the past four years, Anderson has been director of strategic partnerships at the Donnell-Kay Foundation, where she’s focused on blended learning, charter schools and innovation schools. She begins her job as the state’s assistant commissioner on innovation & choice on Aug. 29.

Amy Anderson

Anderson’s involvement in education stems from the early 1990s when she worked to pass the nation’s first charter school law in Minnesota. She’s worked with school reform groups in Washington, Oregon and California and was the director of new school development for the Colorado League of Charter Schools. Prior to joining the Donnell-Kay Foundation, she was a senior associate at Augenblick, Palaich, and Associates, a Denver education consulting firm.

Anderson was one of a small group of parents and teachers who founded The Odyssey School, a charter in Denver’s Stapleton area, in 1998 and she still serves on that school’s governing board. She also is a member of the board of directors of the state Charter School Institute. She holds a doctorate in educational leadership and innovation from the University of Colorado.

See the full CDE press release and read a Q & A with Anderson about her work on blended learning – the use of technology to improve classroom instruction – and her passion for charter schools.

Disclosure: The Donnell-Kay Foundation is a funder of Education News Colorado.

What’s on tap:

Also today, students in Aurora Public Schools began returning to classes and all Douglas County schools are now back in session. Denver Public Schools has two start dates – Aug. 10 for 11 schools in Far Northeast Denver – and Aug. 18 for other students. And Jefferson County Public Schools, the state’s largest district, goes back to class on Aug. 22. Check out this report from our partners at 9News.

Good reads from elsewhere

  • In case you missed it, the Wall Street Journal on Friday published this story on Douglas County’s voucher program, saying if a judge allows the voucher pilot to move forward, it “could transform the debate about vouchers nationwide.” County Ups the Ante in Voucher War.
  • Colorado Public Radio’s new education reporter, Jenny Brundin, produced a report on increased success in Northwest Denver after a controversial reform plan approved – twice – by 4-3 votes of the Denver school board in November and December 2009. Go here to listen to the report or to read the transcript.

The Churn appears as news warrants during the summer and will return to daily production on Aug. 22.