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2 min read

Episode #18 - From Operator to Authorizer with Lana Ewing

Episode #18 - From Operator to Authorizer with Lana Ewing




Episode Guest:

  • Lana Ewing, Executive Director of the Maine Charter Commission




Lana Ewing, Executive Director of the Maine Charter Commission, discusses the landscape of charter schools in Maine and the role of the authorizer. She shares her transition from being a school operator to an authorizer and highlights the importance of transparency and communication between schools and authorizers. Lana emphasizes the need for authorizers to provide support while maintaining accountability. She also provides resources for schools and authorizers and invites individuals to consider opening a charter school in Maine.


  • Maine has a unique ecosystem of schools, including traditional district public schools, independent schools, Maine town academies, and charter schools.
  • The Maine Charter Commission is the state authorizer for charter schools in Maine, responsible for reviewing applications, authorizing schools, and monitoring their performance.
  • Authorizers should focus on supporting schools while holding them accountable to the goals in their charter contract.
  • Transparency and communication are key in building a strong relationship between schools and authorizers.
  • Authorizers can provide resources, facilitate best practice sharing, and connect schools with experts to support their success.
  • The National Charter School Institute and National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) are valuable resources for authorizers and schools.
  • Maine offers opportunities for individuals interested in opening a charter school, with one more slot available for a new charter school.



National Charter School Institute:

National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA): 




00:00 Introduction and Overview of Charter Schools in Maine

04:28 Role of the Maine Charter Commission

05:37 Transition from School Operator to Authorizer

07:25 Relationship between Schools and Authorizers

10:30 Different Perspectives on the Role of Authorizers

13:09 Responsibilities of an Authorizer

21:30 Supporting Schools as an Authorizer

25:42 Recommendations for School Leaders in Working with Authorizers

28:31 Resources for Authorizers and Schools

30:37 Opportunities in Charter Schools in Maine




Lana joined the Maine Charter Commission in January 2022, where she serves as Executive Director. Before joining the Commission, Lana was the Chief Academic Officer at Excel Academy Charter Schools, a high-performing charter network in East Boston, Chelsea and Providence. Prior to joining Excel, Lana was the founding principal of UP Academy Dorchester, a turnaround charter school in Boston, where she continues to serve on the board. Before UP, Lana served as the Managing Director of The Achievement Network. Lana was an elementary school teacher at Edward Brooke Charter School, teaching 1st and 2nd grades. She began her career teaching 2nd and 3rd grades in NYC as a 2003 member of Teach for America. Lana holds degrees from Connecticut College and Fordham University.




Daniel Casselli is a life-long learner whose passion for education has driven his professional endeavors. He is a former classroom teacher and youth ministry director whose entrepreneurial spirit landed him in the world of education technology. At EVERFI Inc., Daniel helped run the business development efforts for EVERFI’s Financial Education Program and the company was eventually sold to Blackbaud for $750M in 2021. Shortly before EVERFI’s acquisition, Daniel joined Class Technologies as one of the earliest sales hires and went on to lead K12 Enterprise Sales and helped the company land its first 100+ K12 customers across public, charter, and private schools. Daniel brings his unique experiences to BuyQ where he is focused on growth, operational excellence, business strategy, and client satisfaction. He is a graduate of Grove City College where he studied Religion and History. 


You can listen to Charter School Insider: Lessons from the Nation's Top Charter School Operators on your favorite podcasting platform...

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