Missouri Charter Public School Association
1300 Papin Street
St. Louis MO 63103
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (314) 776-3551
Mission Statement
To improve student achievement by increasing access to high-quality charter public education options throughout Missouri.
CEO/Executive Director Dr. Douglas Thaman
Board Chair Mr Dean Johnson
Board Chair Company Affiliation Crossroads Academy Charter School
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 2006
Former Names
Association of Missouri Charter Schools
Volunteer Opportunities
Ways to donate, support, or volunteer The Missouri Charter Public Schools Association excepts checks, credit card, and in-kind donations.
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Mission Statement To improve student achievement by increasing access to high-quality charter public education options throughout Missouri.
Background Statement

The current public education system in Missouri is not preparing all students for college, career or to succeed in the local and global economy. Student needs have become more complex and achievement gaps persist, particularly for low-income students. MCPSA and its member schools are working to strengthen public education, providing Missouri’s students and families with more high-quality public education options to create a better-educated populace.

MCPSA offers full memberships to any charter school currently operating in the state of Missouri. Members are entitled to all our benefits, including representation on our Members Council. We welcome sponsors to be Associate Members of the Council, such as universities and nonprofit organizations, who are interested in funding and furthering high-quality education for underrepresented groups. Our Associate Members are critical in working towards a vision of a diverse, excellent public school sector.

Charter public schools are independent but MCPSA serves as the coordinating body working to maximize their collective impact. MCPSA provides member schools with quality best practices, resources, cooperative buying agreements and advocacy efforts focused on improving the charter environment in our state.

Our top priority is to ensure all charter schools are high-performing, are fiscally responsible, and are accessible to all families.

In order to accomplish this end, we have created Quality Standards to strengthen charter schools. The underlying principles of these Quality Standards encourage schools to:


  • Promote student learning through a clear mission, vision and high expectations for all students, teachers, and administrators;
  • Have quality leadership, where leaders work to fulfill the school’s mission and enable students to achieve academic growth and success;
  • Be governed responsibly, encouraging school boards to develop and implement policies to fulfill the school’s mission an enable students to achieve academic growth and success;
  • Fulfill its fiduciary responsibility for public funds and preserve a minimum three percent budget surplus, maintain accessible fiscal records and conduct an annual financial audit; and
  • Engage parents and community, as we recognize that families and communities are assets and can impact and inform educational decisions.


We work to make others aware of the success, innovations, and best practices of our top-performing charter schools and for the renewal and expansion of excellent charter schools.

Additionally, we provide families with the information needed to make the best educational choices for their children and offer transition assistance to students, families, and charter school employees.

When a school is not performing up to standard, MCPSA offers targeted assistance and, if needed, we advocate to close schools on the rare occasion that they are not consistently meeting goals.

Impact Statement

IMCPSA’s advocacy efforts have had a significant impact on legislation that impacts charter schools, including more equitable funding and greater accountability standards. As a result of our advocacy efforts, we have:


  • Protected $5,000,000 in Federal Charter School Program Grant dollars earmarked for Missouri that were at risk of being returned to the Federal Government.
  • Improved the accountability requirements of charter schools by requiring performance contracts between sponsors and schools, changing the appeals process from costly judicial review to the Missouri State Board of Education and increasing public reporting.
  • Expanded opportunities for charter school establishment and sponsorship by removing the geographic restriction on charter schools, allowing schools to open in new markets across the state and by allowing vocational and technical schools to sponsor.
  • Defended the rights of charter schools against an ongoing lawsuit levied by the public school system that threatened charter school public funding.
  • Worked to change, define, clarify, support or remove (if detrimental) 25+ pieces of legislation in the past several years that have improved the charter environment in Missouri.


In Missouri’s 2018 Legislative Session, we established several priorities including the establishment of weighted lotteries in order to ensure the socioeconomic diversity of student populations; expansion and establishment of charter schools in more Missouri districts; and increased accountability.

But most significantly, our work has strengthened the quality of education in Missouri. Charter schools associated with MCPSA are among some of the top-performing schools in Missouri. 

This year we will focus on implementing a new Quality Framework for schools, advocating for reasonable expansion, and working or measures to achieve equitable funding and sustainable pensions.

Needs Statement
MCPSA funding priorities.
  • Teaching and Professional Learning are at the top of our list. The Association provides dozens of professional learning opportunities and a New Resource Center is in development.
  • Leadership and Governance training and assistance. MCPSA invites and coordinates professionals to work closely with School Leaders and Boards through workshops, speaker series, and best practices board training.
  • Community Engagement. Research clearly shows that when families and community groups are involved with their schools, children do better. MCPSA facilitates Public Awareness Campaigns, Community Education, and Parent outreach.
  • Implementation of a Quality Framework self-assessment tool for members designed to identify strengths and targeted assistance and resources to areas needing improvements. 
  • CharterStart Program/New School Development MCPSA is seeking funding to help cover initial costs that many founding groups cannot afford
Service Categories
Charter Schools
Educational Services
Professional Societies & Associations
Areas of Service
Geographic Area Served Narrative
Current law requires that Missouri charter schools are located in either Kansas City or St Louis, therefore our primary focus is on those regions. However, MCPSA is dedicated to improving education statewide and have been advocating for legislation that would allow for expansion and increased accountability. In light of our vision, we travel throughout the state educating groups and consulting with community organizations and others interested in developing new schools.
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement
Tens of thousands of Missouri parents entrust their children to charter public schools. They expect and deserve an education of the highest quality. They expect that their children will learn to read and write and think for themselves. They want schools in which their children learn the cornerstones of good citizenship and the skills and knowledge they’ll need to succeed in life. In short, parents expect charter schools to prepare their children to pursue their dreams.
The State of Missouri also has placed its trust in charter schools to spend tax dollars wisely and honestly, to achieve educational standards that exceed their peers, and to help develop a workforce that will be an economic engine for Missouri now and in the future.
Missouri needs more high-quality public schools — traditional and charter. It needs exceptional principals leading passionate teachers who have the belief that every child can learn and the ability, persistence, and creativity to prove it. We need administrators and
Every child in Missouri deserves a high-quality education regardless of race, ethnicity, address or income. This is the promise of public education and a foundational principle of the American dream. Unfortunately, a significant gap exists in Missouri between the number of high-quality school seats and the number of Missouri children who seek a high-quality public education. The gap is especially evident for low-income students. It constitutes a real barrier as they strive to achieve the American dream.
Missouri needs more high-quality public schools — traditional and charter. It needs exceptional principals leading passionate teachers who have the belief that every child can learn and the ability, persistence, and creativity to prove it. We need administrators and school boards that put principals, teachers, parents and students in a position to succeed by creating high-performing, autonomous, innovative, and publicly accountable schools. We need opportunities for parents to be involved and assurances for taxpayers that public schools are working.
Missouri’s charter public schools gladly accept this remarkable responsibility because we believe in our children and we want the very best for them. Missouri’s charter public schools also understand that because this work is so important, we must hold ourselves accountable for its success.
Dean Johnson
Board Chair, Missouri Charter Public School Association
Description CharterStart is a comprehensive and targeted training program offering strategic, technical, and hands-on assistance to those interested in starting high quality charter schools in Missouri. CharterStart supports potential charter school founders as they move through the application process, specific to the laws and rules of Missouri. Additionally, the program ensures that each application is aligned with the MCPSA Quality Standards for Charter Schools and is complete, allowing MCPSA to provide a Letter of Application Readiness, before it is submitted to a potential sponsor and the State.

MCPSA’s Quality Standards and the Letter of Application Readiness ensure that only charter school founding groups with a quality application and the greatest capacity to open and sustain a high performing charter school do so.
Category Education, General/Other Education Policy Programs
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Short-Term Success Starting a charter school is a demanding undertaking but CharterStart participants have the drive and passion to create education options in the state of Missouri. Most CharterStart participants enter into application development focused on their mission and short on knowledge.

Through their participation in CharterStart, participants develop a deep understanding of the standards of quality necessary for an effective school as well as primary knowledge regarding various aspects of school operation and finance. As applications receive substantive application feedback, participate in evaluation debriefing sessions, and engage in new school development seminars they become more knowledgeable and confident as individuals and a founding board building the capacity to open, operate, and sustain a high performing school.
Long-Term Success The ultimate goal of CharterStart is for charter school founders to open, operate, and sustain high quality charter schools. The program provides support through one-on-one consulting, arranged to fit the founding groups schedule and provide individualized support. MCPSA is confident that participants leave the program with the necessary knowledge, coaching resources, and connections to open an excellent charter school.
Program Success Monitored By In order to ensure the quality of CharterStart and the applications, MCPSA grants a Leader of Application Readiness to groups that are part of CharterStart and whose applications are determined to be of high quality, ready for submission to the St. Louis Mayor’s Educational Advisory Board and/or a potential sponsor.

When a charter school applicant group under contract with MCPSA’s CharterStart Program has fully developed an application determined to be of quality and ready to move forward with Sponsor consideration, MCPSA provides the applicant group with the Letter of Application Readiness to include in their submission. MCPSA will only grant the letter to groups whose application has been reviewed by both MCPSA and a national expert. This ensures that the application itself is a quality application.
Examples of Program Success In the fall of 2015, five CharterStart founding groups successfully opened their charter schools in St. Louis. One of the founding Board Members stated:

“MCPSA’s CharterStart program was a tremendous resource to us as we worked through drafting our application to obtaining authorization from DESE. The seminars were very informative, the school leader networking extensive and encouraging, and the consulting invaluable. I don’t see how we could have done it without MCPSA there to guide us through the charter application process.”

Currently, there are fourteen groups participating in CharterStart. Each group is at a different point in the application process and continues to progress toward application submission. 
Description Parents will be recruited from each of the charter schools in Kansas City to participate in the Parent Connection Network. The purpose of PCN is to train parents to advocate for their children and their schools and to provide educational opportunities. PCN will also connect parents with a broader community. Research shows that the more closely connected parents are, the better the outcomes for their children.
Program Budget $25,000.00
Category Education, General/Other Education Policy Programs
Population Served Families
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success Short Term Success is having at least one parent volunteer from each school, developing a partnership with other Kansas City community-based organizations, and  completing at least 1 training session for parents.
Long-Term Success Long Term success would be the self-sustainability and growth of the Parent Connection Network. As more parents become engaged, they will encourage others to join. Supporting parents and educating them about current charter school issues, policies and events will allow them to have a voice in the debates that rage of education and education reform. Parents should have a place at that table and PCN helps them achieve that goal.
Program Success Monitored By Success will be monitored by the number of recruits, the number of trainings, the growth of the organization, and any measurable impact.
Examples of Program Success
  • Organizing a Day at the Capitol for All Charter School Children
  • Creating a Facebook Page and networking
  • Development of Training materials 
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Dr. Douglas Thaman
Term Start June 2011

Douglas Thaman has served as the Executive Director since 2011. Prior to joining the Missouri Charter Public School Association (MCPSA), Douglas served as the Director of Professional Services for the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA). Douglas has also previously served as a teacher and administrator and was the founding Executive Director of St. Louis Charter School (now Premier Charter School) located in St. Louis City.

Senior Staff
Title Director of Federal Programs Consulting
Title Director of Development and Communications
Experience/Biography Edie Barnard joined MCPSA in 2016 to serve as the Director of Development and Communications. Before joining the Association, Edie served as the Executive/Development Director for the Midwest Center for Media Literacy. Edie has many years’ experience in communications and has produced work for both public and private sector organizations. Edie is also an Adjunct Professor of Communications at Webster University in St. Louis.
Paid Full-Time Staff 3
Paid Contractors 5
Volunteers 0
Retention Rate 100%
Staff Diversity (Ethnicity)
Caucasian 3
Staff Diversity (Gender)
Female 2
Male 1
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan No
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
  • Children's Education Alliance of Missouri
  • The University of Missouri-St. Louis
  • Visiting Nurses Association
  • Charter School Sponsors 
CEO Comments
Missouri's Education Landscape
While there are many bright stories of Missouri's children exceeding expectations and accomplishing many dreams, the fact is Missouri's public education system is not adequately serving all our children.
Did you know
  • Nearly 400,000 (44%) Missouri students can not read or write at grade level
  • Missouri's workforce has been in decline from more than a decade
  • Missouri's public schools are not competitive nationally or internationally 
  • An improved education system would provide more income to the State than total current K-12 spending
Our challenge is to help Missouri charter schools meet or exceed State performance averages preparing students to be competitive here, nationally and internationally by
  • advocating for public policies that demanding accountability and academic rigor
  • promoting our "Commitment to Quality" and implementing a self-assessment tool and supporting resources
  • supporting teaching through Professional Learning, Resources, Technical Support and mini-grants
  • encouraging governance by offering training, workshops, and speakers series
  • supporting parents and students through community education programs, and civic and community events
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr Dean Johnson
Company Affiliation Crossroads Academy Charter School
Term Oct 2014 to Oct 2018
Email dean@crossroadsacademykc.org
Board Members
Mr. Engin BlackstoneGateway Science Academy
Ms Kate CasasNexus Group
Mr. David Desai-RamirezIFF
Mr. Scott Dieckhaus
Mr. Paul FedchakKIPP St Louis
Ms Shanika HarrisUniversity of Missouri - Columbia
Mr. Dean JohnsonCrossroads Academy of Kansas City
Ms. Charnissa Holliday ScottJames W. Tippin & Associates Law Firm
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 7
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 1 1 Middle Eastern
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 8
Female 3
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 4
Board Meeting Attendance % 83%
Written Board Selection Criteria? No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 83%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Standing Committees
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01, 2018
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2018
Projected Revenue $844,200
Projected Expenses $787,680
Form 990s
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FY 2017, 2016, 2015: Financial data reported using IRS Form 990. 
  • Foundation/corporate revenue line item may include individual contributions.
Detailed Financials
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$331,500$304,902$318,850
Administration Expense$393,791$362,379$379,474
Fundraising Expense$63,006$57,981$60,714
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses2.030.631.24
Program Expense/Total Expenses42%42%42%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue------
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$1,001,925$212,620$457,221
Current Assets$999,038$209,477$453,763
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$30,872$53,444$30,473
Total Net Assets$971,053$159,176$426,748
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities32.363.9214.89
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountWalton Family Foundation $250,000 -- --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountHRJ Consulting $100,000 -- --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountEwing Marion Kauffman Foundation $100,000 -- --
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years No
Organization Comments
Changing public policy is challenging, expensive and not well understood by many. Often it takes years of diligent advocacy and relationship building to realize meaningful systemic change. Funders are sometimes reluctant to contribute policy efforts and prefer to support programs with tangible results. However, the fact remains that policy is the only way to achieve equity in a democracy. MCPSA is well positioned to meet these challenges. Recently, the State Board of Education announced revisiting the structure of charter school law. This is an opportunity to address inequities in the system and have to have a voice at the table. The Association is also a launching a "Commitment to Quality" initiative designed to assist member schools in assessing progress and meeting goals impacting the quality of the education delivered.
Funding our policy-making board and the administrative efforts to inform our patrons, legislators, and policy makers is often a challenge. We feel MCPSA is in a sound financial position. Due to the generosity of donors several months ago, the MCPSA has been able to maintain enough cash reserves to operate for approximately eight months. MCPSA has a history of prudently managing our limited resources to maximize the benefits received by our members. Monthly meetings of our finance committee assures our membership and donors that we manage our resources effectively on an ongoing basis.
Other Documents
MCPSA Brochure2017View
What we fund2017View
Missouri Charter School Basic Data2016View
MCPSA Annual Report2016View
History of Missouri Charter Schools2015View
Missouri Charter Schools Basic Data2015View
MCPSA Quality Standards for Schools2014View
Organization Name Missouri Charter Public School Association
Address 1300 Papin Street
St. Louis, MO 63103
Primary Phone (314) 776-3551
CEO/Executive Director Dr. Douglas Thaman
Board Chair Mr Dean Johnson
Board Chair Company Affiliation Crossroads Academy Charter School
Year of Incorporation 2006
Former Names
Association of Missouri Charter Schools