Kathryn Connell-Espinosa Appointed Executive Director of State University of New York Charter Schools Institute

Photo of Kathryn Connell-Espinosa

Albany, New York (June 14, 2023) — The State University of New York (SUNY) Board of Trustees’ Charter Schools Committee announced today the appointment of Kathryn Connell-Espinosa to the position of Executive Director of the SUNY Charter Schools Institute, effective June 12, 2023. Ms. Connell-Espinosa has served as Interim Executive Director since August 4, 2022, following the departure of longtime Institute leader Susie Miller Carello.

“Our focus throughout this process was to find a highly qualified, experienced candidate who understands the charter world, can serve as an advocate for the Institute and all our schools, and has the vision to build upon more than twenty years of SUNY authorizing excellence,” said SUNY Trustee Joseph Belluck, Chair, Charter Schools Committee. “Throughout her time as Interim Executive Director, Kathryn demonstrated strong character and leadership skills, the competence to navigate an increasingly complex authorizing environment, and the ability to build trust with everyone she meets. The SUNY Trustee Charter Schools Committee and importantly, Chancellor John King, have the upmost confidence in her ability to push the Institute and the sector forward.”

“This is a critical moment for New York’s public education system as we emerge from the pandemic and I’m excited for the opportunity to lead the Institute forward and continue its vitally important work to cultivate an authorizing environment where great public charter schools can take root and thrive,” said Connell-Espinosa.

Since joining the Institute as an administrative analyst in 2013, Ms. Connell-Espinosa has advanced to take on a number of roles including Director of Leadership Team Operations and then Chief of Staff, before her appointment as Interim Executive Director last summer.

In her new permanent role, Ms. Connell-Espinosa says she will maintain the Institute’s focus on transparency to instill trust in decision-making, leadership, practices, and policies and foster a deeper collaboration with the New York State Education Department’s Charter School Office and New York City Department of Education. Evaluating the Institute’s work against national standards for effective and inclusive practices, strengthening communication with schools, and placing a greater focus on identifying, understanding and problem-solving regional challenges facing charter schools are also top priorities.

SUNY-authorized charter schools are among the highest performing public schools in New York state. In 2021-22, the most recently available year with statewide testing data, 80% of SUNY schools outperformed their local district in math and 81% in English Language Arts (ELA). Additionally, 41 SUNY schools scored in the top 10% of public schools statewide in math and 32 schools in ELA. Economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, and English language learners at SUNY schools also all posted average proficiency rates in ELA and mathematics that surpassed their statewide peers. Remarkably, through the years, 17 SUNY charter schools have been recognized with a national Blue Ribbon.


About the SUNY Charter Schools Institute

The Charter Schools Institute assists the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York (SUNY) in meeting its responsibilities under the New York State Charter Schools Act of 1998 and in furthering SUNY’s leading role in strengthening public education across the State.