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Office of Charter Schools director leaving for Charter Schools USA post

Dave Machado

Office of Charter School director Dave Machado has announced that he is leaving the position. Machado’s resignation is effective July 8.

Machado has led the office that oversees the state’s 200-plus charter schools since 2016. Before that, he was chief administrator of Lincoln Charter School in Lincoln County, a post he held for 14 years.

In an email to state charter school leaders, Machado said he is resigning to become the North Carolina state director for Charter Schools USA (CSUSA), a for-profit charter school management company based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. According to its website, CSUSA is one of the largest education management companies in the nation, serving 75,000 students in nearly 100 schools in five states.

CSUSA manages nine charter schools in six counties across North Carolina.

“During my discussion with CSUSA. It became apparent that this is an excellent opportunity for me to use my experience closer to the school level,” Machado said in the email to charter leaders, which was shared on Twitter.

He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

State Superintendent Catherine Truitt has named Ashley Baquero interim director of the Office of Charter Schools. Machado said in his email to charter operators. Baquero is currently an OCS consultant.

The state’s system of charter schools has seen steady growth under Machado’s leadership. When he took over as OCS director in 2016, the state had 166 charter schools. That number has grown to more than 200 over the course of his tenure, which followed the General Assembly’s 2011 decision to lift the 100-school cap of charters.

Charter schools now serve 130,000 students in North Carolina. There were approximately 82,000 students enrolled in state charters in 2016, the year Machado assumed directorship of the OCS.

CSUSA founder and CEO Johnathan Hage has contributed generously to political candidates who support school choice. Hage contributed $5,400 to Truitt’s 2020 campaign. His wife, Sherry Hage, also contributed $5,400 to Truitt’s campaign.

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