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New district hires have lengthy charter backgrounds

Many of those who will be overseeing principals are from charter management organizations

IN ADDITION TO Eric Becoats, several of the district's recent hires for senior positions come from the growing charter-school sector:

* Jeff Rhodes, assistant superintendent of Learning Network 9, spent two years as director of school quality at Michigan-based National Heritage Academies, a charter-management operator with about 51,000 students.

* Christina Grant, assistant superintendent of the Opportunity Network for district-run and contracted alternative education programs, worked for 2 1/2 years at the Great Oaks Foundation, a charter-management organization with five schools, where she was superintendent. Prior to that, she was founding executive director of the New York Campaign for Achievement Now, a pro-charter education advocacy group, which is part of a national network.

* Jack Perry, deputy chief of Academic Enrichment, was previously founder and executive director of Prestige Academy Charter School in Wilmington, Del., which opened in 2008.

* James Harris, executive director of operations, spent a year as director of operations at Project GRAD USA, a nonprofit college-access program. Prior to that, he worked as associate head of school for one year at Citizens Leadership Academy, a part of Citizens Academy Schools, which runs K-5 charters in Cleveland.

The district has also hired two more executives, according to a copy of an internal email obtained yesterday by the Daily News. Zachary Epps has been named director of advocacy and external engagement and DawnLynne Kacer has been appointed executive director of the Charter School Office.

A school representative could not be reached for comment.

Epps previously worked as scorecard consultant for Results Leadership Group, a consulting firm, and held roles in local, state and federal government.

Kacer comes from the New York City Department of Education, where she was executive director of Charter Evaluation and Policy.