The point man and top lobbyist who played a main role in opening up the state’s charter school laws is officially bowing out after a year of high-profile legislative defeat and amid the merger of two charter school groups.
Matt Throckmorton, most recently the executive director of the Tennessee Charter Schools Association, said it is time he “pass the baton to new leadership” as the organization begins a new chapter by joining with the Tennessee Charter School Incubator.
“It is gratifying to look back over the past six-plus years and see just how far we’ve come together in our campaign to increase Tennesseans’ access to high-quality public charter schools,” said Throckmorton in an email blast to charter school supporters Wednesday.
“I am proud to have been your partner to build the Tennessee Charter Schools Association, and I look forward to the continued growth of excellent educational options in our state. It has been inspiring to work with so many leaders dedicated to making a difference for Tennessee families, and I know that the movement will continue to be in good hands,” he continued in a message trumpeting the success of the TCSA.
Throckmorton will stay on in an advisory capacity during the transition as the two charter groups form the Tennessee Charter School Center , an organization that will push for policies important to the charter school community while grooming future charter school leaders to open their own schools. The venture will now be led by Greg Thompson who previously led the incubator operation.
Throckmorton came to Tennessee in 2007 when the state was home to a dozen charter schools and laws that restricted opening publicly funding, privately run schools. While the emergence of charter schools bred consternation among elected officials at the state level and often local level, under Throckmorton’s direction the charter school community has grown to some 70 charter schools statewide.
His efforts have led to expanding charter school laws under both Democratic and Republican governors, although this year saw the defeat of a high-profile effort to allow the state to approve charter school applications  rejected by local school districts.
Attempts to reach Throckmorton for comment on what role, if any, he will play in charter school or education policy going forward were unsuccessful as of this posting.