On September 9, 2019, The Center awarded education advocate Eileen M. Ahearn the inaugural Eileen M. Ahearn Education Visionary Award for her foresight and commitment to ensuring students with disabilities have the same access to a high-quality charter school education as do their peers.
The Center’s Executive Director, Lauren Morando Rhim, stated, “Eileen’s recognition of the challenges that might emerge at the intersection of federal civil rights laws and state charter school laws have resulted in more than 300,000 children with disabilities exercising choice in charter schools across the nation. We are indebted to her vision and work, which created a foundation for the Center’s, and we look forward to recognizing her achievements annually as we honor other leaders having an impact in this movement.” The Center’s Senior Fellow, Paul O’Neill, added that “Eileen was the trailblazer, tirelessly insisting to all stakeholders that access, equity, and academic success for students with disabilities in charter schools must be a priority. She was right, and they listened.”
The Eileen M. Ahearn Education Visionary Award was established in 2019 to honor an individual or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to ensure that students with disabilities who are interested in attending charter schools are able to access and thrive alongside their peers.