Joe Nathan, Ph.D., helped write the nation's first charter public school law. Legislators and governors in more than 25 states have asked him to testify and provide information about chartering and other school improvement issues. Nathan has spent the last 44 years as a public school teacher, administrator, parent, researcher and advocate. Parent, student & professional groups have given him a variety of awards for his work as an inner city public school teacher and administrator. For nearly 30 years, he has written a weekly newspaper column in Minnesota focusing on education issues.
Since 1988, Nathan has directed the Center for School Change. The Center works at the school, community and policy levels. It has raised more than $30 million from the Annenberg, Blandin, Bremer, Cargill, Carlson, Carnegie, Bill and Melinda Gates, Rockefeller, Minneapolis, St Paul, Kaufman, Target, Travelers and other foundations, as well as the US and Minnesota Departments of Education.
Among other accomplishments, Nathan directed a project (with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) in the Cincinnati Public Schools that increased overall high school graduation rates by more than 25 percentage points and eliminated the high school graduation gap between white and African American students over a seven-year period. He has helped create district and charter public school options in a number of states.
Nathan earned a B.A. from Carleton College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He has been married for 41 years to a recently retired (after 33 years) public school teacher, and he has three children and five grandchildren.