A top official at New York City’s largest charter school network, Success Academy, is leaving to start her own charter schools.
Emily Kim, Success Academy’s vice president of policy and legal affairs, will leave at the end of June to launch her own charter school network, Chalkbeat has learned.
Kim would enter a crowded charter school market where competition for students and space is fierce — and where a legal cap on the number of charters could limit new schools.
She told Chalkbeat she has not yet settled on a model for her schools but plans to “consider several different approaches” and could borrow from her current employer.
“Success is an incredibly impressive model,” Kim said. “I would like to do a lot of what Success does.”
In Kim’s six years at Success, she helped the network defend itself against multiple lawsuits, including a federal suit regarding its treatment of children with disabilities. She’s also fought the city on behalf of Success. In ongoing litigation, unsuccessful thus far, Success sued to participate in the city’s universal pre-K program without signing the required contract.
In addition to legal work, Kim also focuses on advocacy and oversees “scholar support,” including special education testing and placement.
A former high school English literature teacher, Kim has two sons who attend Success Academy schools, in second and fifth grade. She said she has no plans to remove them from their schools, and they’re eager to return in the fall. “I’m very happy with the education they’re both getting,” she wrote in an email.
One former employee described Kim as a “loyal soldier” to Success CEO Eva Moskowitz and said she was “surprised that she would choose to go out on her own.”
Kim said her decision to leave was not the result of any friction with Moskowitz, a notoriously tough leader. “I have been fortunate to work with Eva and Success for the past six years, and I am immensely proud of the work we’ve done together,” Kim said, adding that she considers Moskowitz a “guide and mentor.”
In a statement, Moskowitz praised Kim, calling her a “bureaucracy-buster” and a “dedicated ed reformer.”
“We are grateful for her many contributions,” Moskowitz wrote, “and believe her plans to open her own schools will result in more high-quality education options for NYC families.”