Thomas Franta is the Managing Director of Accountability and Authorizer Supports at SchoolWorks. An education policy professional with extensive experience in charter school authorizing, technical assistance, monitoring and reporting, and legal compliance and litigation strategy; Thomas leads the company’s extensive ongoing work with charter school authorizers.
Thomas’ professional history in K-12 education spans a variety of roles and several states. Before joining SchoolWorks, he served as the Executive Director of School Services of Montana, a non-profit membership-based education service agency focused on building systems to connect and support rural educators. Prior to that role, he served as CEO of the Washington State Charter Schools Association, an advocacy organization that aims to partner with communities to advocate for and support public charter schools that meet the needs of historically underserved students. As CEO, he formed, staffed and managed an affiliated 501(c)(4) and Political Action Committee to successfully influence the legislature to pass a new law, now independently recognized as one of the strongest charter laws in the country.
In the charter school authorizing sector, Thomas served as the Director of the Office of New Schools for Minnesota Public Schools, from 2013 to 2014. As Director, he developed and executed upon a strategic plan to promote and sustain a portfolio of high-quality educational options, and created an organizational structure aligning functional skills across the department with clear accountability. He also served as the former Associate General Counsel for SUNY Charter Schools Institute from 2009 to 2013. In this role, he analyzed, reviewed, and evaluated more than 150 initial and renewal charter applications, led interviews of prospective applicants, and conducted school site inspection visits.
Prior to his academic and professional career, Thomas served four years in the United States Marine Corps. He holds a Juris Doctor (JD) from Syracuse University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.