Charter Authorizing Panel

Charter Authorizing Panel

Formed in 2013 after the passage of the Arkansas Quality Charter Schools Act of 2013, the Charter School Authorizing Panel is the primary authorizer for all charters in the state. The panel oversees the authorization, renewal, revision and revocation of charters. Act 462 of 2017 allows for both department staff and individuals outside the department to serve on the panel. In accordance with Act 462 and in an effort to increase representation from multiple stakeholder groups, Commissioner Key named seven Charter Authorizing Panel (CAP) members on August 3, 2017.

Charter Authorizing Panel Members

  •  Deborah Coffman – Assistant Commissioner, Public School Accountability
  •  Phil Baldwin – CEO, Citizens Bank
  •  Dr. Sonja Wright-McMurray – Division of Career and Technical Education, Associate Director
  •  Toyce Newton – State Board of Education Member from August 18, 2009, to June 30, 2016
  •  Karli Saracini – Assistant Commissioner, Educator Effectiveness and Licensure
  •  Kim Davis, Senior Advisor, Walton Family Foundation
  •  Mark Zellner, Lead Cyber Security Supply Chain Analyst, Southwest Power Pool

2022 Charter Authorizing Panel Meeting Schedule

  • Meeting Date Agenda Items
    January 18, 2022 TBD
    February 15, 2022 TBD
    March 15, 2022 TBD
    April 19, 2022 TBD
    May17, 2022 TBD
    June 14, 2022 TBD
    July 19, 2022 TBD
    August 16-17, 2022  Open-Enrollment Application Hearings
    September 20, 2022 TBD
    October 18-19, 2022 District Conversion Applications Hearings
    November 15, 2022 Charter Reviews
     December 20-21, 2022 Renewal Application Hearings


  • Charter Authorizing Panel meeting agendas can be found at


For more information, please contact:

Dorie Summons,  Director of Charter Schools
Arkansas Department of Education
Division of Elementary and Secondary Education
Public School Accountability
Four Capitol Mall, Box 19
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: 501-682-4472
Fax: 501-683-3433