Irene Holtzman, a longtime director of KIPP DC was named the new executive director of FOCUS, an active advocacy organization for charter schools in the District.
She will replace Robert Cane, who has led the organization for 16 years, as charter schools emerged from a fledgling movement to enrolling 44 percent of public school students in the city.
Holtzman has been working as a policy director and senior advisor for KIPP DC, one of the largest charter management organizations in the city. She has been at KIPP since 2005, also serving as a director of student data and accountability and a fifth-grade science teacher at KIPP DC KEY Academy.
Cane announced his successor in an e-mail Thursday, saying that she is “a highly effective advocate for charter autonomy and equity.”
“Irene’s experience, encompassing as it does advocacy, data, accountability, and classroom teaching, ideally suits her to lead FOCUS into the future,” he wrote.
Holtzman will start her new job on July 1, and Cane, who is moving to Nevada, will become a senior adviser to the organization.
Before joining KIPP, Holtzman taught sixth grade at Gage Eckington Elementary School in the District, which has since closed, as a Teach For America corps member, according to her bio on the KIPP Web site.
FOCUS, or Friends of Choice in Urban Schools, provides support and training to current and aspiring charter leaders and plays a prominent advocacy role in issues affecting charter schools in the city.
The organization is currently supporting a lawsuit waged by dozens of charter schools that is seeking to equalize public funding dollar-for-dollar with traditional charter schools.