The first state charter school conference was in the fall of 1994. It was in Summit County and there were maybe 40 of us in attendance. At this meeting I first met several people that I would eventually get to know quite well.
One of those people is Keith King. During the summer of 1994 Keith had called me repeatedly to ask me if he could get a copy of our Jefferson Academy charter application on disk (at this point in time it was a small floppy disk). The summer of 1994 was the busiest summer I ever remember. We had just gotten Jefferson Academy approved on May 9th, my kids were aged 4 to 12 years, and I was working on a statewide ballot initiative that consumed about 60-80 hours a week. It wasn't a priority for me to go downtown and download a copy of the charter application for Keith, so it took several phone calls before I mailed him what he wanted. When I met Keith at this fall charter school conference, his first words were, "Thank you SO much for sending that disk, it only took me about 20 hours after that." To say that I was fuming was an understatement. It had taken us hundreds of hours to write the Jefferson Academy application and having Keith's process be that much quicker just wasn't fair! If you know Keith, you can probably hear the roar of his laughter whenever I tell this story. Yep, I've gotten lots of mileage out of it!
Some of the other people at this first conference were: Jim Griffin, Kin Griffith, Bill Windler, Bill Bethke, and Barry Arrington. All of these people continue to be involved in charter schools today.