Dave Machado, who has led Lincoln Charter School for 14 years, was named Thursday to head the N.C. Office of Charter Schools.
The unanimous appointment by the state Board of Education puts Machado in charge of the staff that oversees a growing segment of public education in North Carolina. The state has 158 of the independently run public schools this year, up from 100 when the state lifted its cap in 2011.
It also stands to put him in a political hot spot, with state lawmakers, the Board of Education and a state Charter School Advisory Board scrutinizing his work. Charter advocates are divided over whether North Carolina should speed the pace of charter expansion to meet public demand or set stricter standards for academic performance and financial accountability.
The Charlotte region has been at the heart of the state’s charter growth. It has seen thriving charter schools with strong academic records, as well as a spate of recent closures. Just before naming Machado to the post, the board voted Thursday to stop public money to two longstanding Charlotte charter schools – Kennedy and Crossroads.
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Lincoln Charter School opened in 1998, among the state’s first charter schools. It now has more than 1,900 K-12 students on campuses in Lincolnton and Denver. It received a B based on student performance last year and had a 95 percent on-time graduation rate.