Statement of Purpose
The mission of the Keystone Center for Charter Change at PSBA (Pennsylvania School Boards Association) is to build support for the development and enactment of legislation that would provide regulatory and funding changes to Pennsylvania’s 25-year-old Charter School Law. We advocate for fiscal and regulatory reforms that level the playing field and treat all public schools fairly. The focus of the Keystone Center for Charter Change will support Pennsylvania’s public-school districts. Our work will include active advocacy on behalf of charter reform, timely research, increased awareness, along with education and thought leadership on charter accountability.
The center is managed by a dedicated director and guided by the input of an advisory board and participants of the center’s residency program. The center is operated by PSBA and funded through a grant from the Pennsylvania Public Education Foundation (PaPEF).
Lawrence A. Feinberg, Director
Lawrence A. Feinberg has served as a school board director since 1999, and as board president from 2017 to 2021. A vocal advocate for public education, he has provided testimony before both the PA House and Senate Education Committees, the Republican and Democratic Policy Committees, the auditor general, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission and the Governor’s Task Force on School Cost Reduction. Since 2006 he has served as chair and co-chair of the Delaware County School Boards Legislative Council. Feinberg founded the Keystone State Education Coalition in 2006 and published the PA Education Policy Roundup newsletter reaching more than 4,000 state policymakers daily from 2012 to 2021. He served several terms on the PSBA Governing Board. For many years, he was also a member of the National School Boards Association’s Federal Relations Network, regularly meeting with members of Congress to discuss federal policy issues and legislation. More recently, he served as a circuit rider with the Campaign for Fair Education Funding and as a PSBA Advocacy Ambassador covering 97 school districts in southeastern PA. In March of 2021, he became the director of the Keystone Center for Charter Change.
Phone: (717) 506 – 2450 ext. 3420
Keystone Center for Charter Change Advisory Board
Chair, Keystone Center for Charter Change Advisory Board; President, Governing Board, Pennsylvania School Boards Association
Chief Advocacy Officer, Pennsylvania School Boards Association
Kevin Busher is PSBA’s Chief Advocacy Officer. He was born and raised in Hazleton, PA, and graduated from Elizabethtown College in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. During his time at Elizabethtown, he served as a peer mentor and student senator, for which he was presented with the E-Town Leadership Award in 2007. After college, Busher was employed as the director of government affairs for the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association until 2017, when he joined the lobbying firm Duane Morris Government Strategies as manager of government affairs. He is well acquainted with school boards and the education world, as he served on the Lower Dauphin School Board from 2013-22. Busher is an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan and loves to travel with his wife and children.
Susan DeJarnatt, Esq.
Professor of law, Temple University Beasley School of Law
Attorney Susan DeJarnatt is a professor of law at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, having joined the faculty in 1996. She has written extensively on several aspects of public education reform, including how parents exercise choice over their children’s education, the impact of school closures in Philadelphia on families and communities, and the finances and governance and disciplinary policies of charter schools. She was a contributing author to The Fight for America’s Schools: Grassroots Organizing in Education. Most recently her scholarly focus has been on the need for charter reform in Pennsylvania.
Director of Policy, School District of Philadelphia
Sarah currently serves as director of policy for the School District of Philadelphia. In this role, she leads the district’s state and federal government relations efforts. She works with legislative, executive and community partners to proactively identify and strategically address state and federal public policy issues central to the district’s operations, financial health and strategic vision. Additionally, she is an adjunct professor in the Public Administration program at Villanova University, where she teaches decision making and public policy to master level students. Prior to joining the School District of Philadelphia, she served as secretary of policy and planning for Governor Wolf where she led the development and implementation of the governor’s policy agenda. Her background includes significant experience in both the government and nonprofit sectors. Sarah has a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.P.A. from Villanova University.
Resident, Keystone Center for Charter Change
Rob Gleason is president of the Westmont Hilltop School District Board of Education (Cambria Co.), where he has served for four years, and is a board member of the Greater Johnstown Career and Technical Center. Gleason is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he served as a trustee for 15 years. He also served four years active duty and six years reserve duty with the U.S. Air Force, leaving as a captain. From 1985-87, Rob was secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Subsequently he was appointed to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, the Pennsylvania Transportation Commission and the Pennsylvania Lawyers Fund for Client Security. He served as chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania and the Republican National Committee from 2006-17 and was president of the Pennsylvania Electoral College in December 2016. He was appointed to the Commission of Presidential Scholars and the Board of Visitors of the United States Air Force Academy.
Dr. Robert O’Donnell
Superintendent, Downingtown Area School District
Dr. Bob O’Donnell has been the superintendent of the Downingtown Area School District since July of 2022, the seventh largest school district in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Prior to this, Bob was superintendent of the State College Area School District from 2011 through 2022. He has been a champion for charter school legislation reform. Under his leadership in State College, the district investigated and discovered former Wonderland Charter School’s failure to provide critical services to students with special needs, which led to the school’s closing. In 2021, he led a movement among 11 school districts, creating a joint resolution calling for charter school reform legislation. At present, he serves on the board of Leaders for Educational Accountability and Reform Network (LEARN), a statewide coalition of school superintendents working to secure improvements in Pennsylvania’s charter school sector.
Allison S. Petersen, Esq.
Shareholder, Levin Legal Group
Attorney Allison S. Petersen is a shareholder in the Levin Legal Group. Since joining the firm in 2001, Petersen has represented public school entities on all facets of education law and in litigation. A large part of her practice involves representing school entities in the federal and state trial and appellate courts and before administrative agencies. She has also handled a multitude of transactional matters, including the negotiation and preparation of multimillion-dollar transportation contracts and commercial contracts with various vendors and service providers.
Dr. Damaris Rau
Former Superintendent, School District of Lancaster
With more than 35 years of experience in public education, Dr. Damaris Rau is a seasoned veteran when it comes to setting the standard for student achievement. Known for her passion in urban education and commitment to equity for all students, Dr. Rau has a proven track record of reducing the achievement gap, increasing graduation rates, expanding early childhood programs, implementing programs to reduce bullying behaviors and successfully turning around low-performing schools.
Dr. James Scanlon
Former Superintendent, West Chester Area School District
Dr. Jim Scanlon has served as superintendent of the West Chester Area School District since 2009. During his tenure, he helped develop programs such as full-day kindergarten, blended learning classes at the high school, a 1:1 technology program, and a K-12 cyber program. He has also focused efforts on developing the district’s equity teams to help close the achievement gap between white students and students of color. He was a founding charter school board member and helped to write the charter for the 21st Century Cyber Charter School, the highest achieving cyber charter school in Pennsylvania.
Dr. Ron Sofo
Former CEO/principal, City Charter High School, Pittsburgh, and former superintendent, Freedom Area School District
Dr. Ron Sofo was CEO/principal of City Charter High School, one of the most innovative and effective urban, public high schools in the country, from 2012 to 2018. Prior to this role, he was superintendent at the Freedom Area School District from 2002 to 2012, following nine years as assistant superintendent. He also served as assistant to the superintendent of the Pittsburgh School District. He co-authored a book entitled No Bad Schools and currently owns and operates Human Engagement for Learning & Productivity (HELP) as a transformational education design consultant.
Dr. Brian White
Superintendent, Butler Area School District
Dr. Brian White is the superintendent of Butler Area School District, where he facilitated a comprehensive strategic planning process leading to the creation of the Butler Area School District Strategic Plan. He also has extensive experience with charter schools. Not only has he been involved in the creation of several charter schools, he has also worked to secure funding, managed their operations and served as a consultant. As a member of the Keystone Center for Charter Change Advisory Board, he hopes to advocate for change that will ultimately benefit both Pennsylvania’s public schools and charter schools.
School director, Avon Grove School District
Bill Wood is a lifelong educator and supporter of public schools. He is a professional teaching artist, presenter of educational assembly programs, as well as a leader of student workshops and teacher professional development trainings. He also facilitates team–building programs that focus on social and emotional learning skills for youth, college and corporate groups. He served on the board of the Avon Grove Charter School in 2011–12, and currently is a board member of the Avon Grove School District. He was recently a participant of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association Charter Reform Task Force.