The Governor Markell FOIA Release: Rodel, Herdman, RTTT, Common Core, and guess who’s coming to town…

Governor Markell

For those who may not be aware, I requested a Freedom of Information Act request from Delaware Governor Jack Markell’s office on December 3rd, 2014.  I received it today, January 12th, 2015.  My request was for all emails between Markell and the following individuals: US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein (of Amplify) and Paul Herdman of The Rodel Foundation of Delaware.

Some things are obvious from this FOIA release.  Governor Jack Markell does not communicate big education matters via email.  At least not his official state email.  For a Governor that pushes education so much, you would think there would be more communication with his partner on the Education Blueprint.  Some questions that are answered in this:

1) How did Paul Herdman get into Rodel?

2) What charter chain may be filing a charter application this month and how could this possibly have something to do with priority schools?

3) Can a non-disclosure agreement be released?

4) Did I get everything? (Jury is out on this, but the initial inspiration of this request makes me wonder)

5) When did Markell first become aware of Mark Murphy?

Updated: Many people are already freaking out over the possibility of a KIPP Charter Chain possibly coming to Delaware.  Dr. Lamont Browne, the principal at Eastside Charter worked there.  KIPP, along with Uncommon Schools and Achievement First actually created Relay Graduate School.  Our very own Chris Coons had a college bill in 2012 that was endorsed by Richard Barth, the CEO of KIPP.

The application deadline for any new charter school applicants was December 31st, 2014.  So unless the Charter School Office at DOE didn’t put any new applications up by mistake, I don’t think KIPP will apply to have a charter school open up in Delaware.  But wait, KIPP is also considered to be a charter school management company.  And what were the three turnaround options for Christina and Red Clay with the priority schools: closure, conversion to charter, or MANAGEMENT COMPANY!!!!!

Let’s see if Penny Schwinn brings her buddy JJ over from Uncommon Schools to take over as “school leader” of one of these schools.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence Herdman specifically mentioned January 2015 if the deadline is December 31st.  And let’s not forget, that Relay Graduate School contract is going to start rolling out soon…

So if, and this is an if scenario, six schools were slated to become KIPP schools.  Where would they go?  The Community Education Building has a bunch of empty slots.  But that would require a whole new structure of management there, wouldn’t it?  Good thing I found this.  And would you look at that, they even mention human capital!

Click to access ceb_vp_of_operations_job_description.pdf

Click to access ceb_director_of_development_job_description.pdf

And look at this, straight from the CEB website:

Milestone Dates

  • February 2012 – Bank of America announces donation of the building
  • Summer 2012 – Selection process for first cohort of tenant schools
  • February 2013 – Bank of America transfers title of the building to the CEB
  • Spring 2013 – Facility build-out begins
  • Spring 2013 – Selection process for second cohort of tenant schools
  • Spring 2014 – Selection process for third cohort of tenant schools
  • Summer 2014 – Kuumba Academy summer induction in CEB
  • Fall 2014 – Kuumba Academy and Academia Antonia Alonso open in CEB
We expect our facilities to be at capacity in 2017/2018 as tenant schools grow their enrollment.  The CEB tenant school selection process will be completed once four high performing charter schools have become CEB tenants.  The initial cohorts were chosen in the fall of 2012 and the spring of 2013. Thereafter, additional school selection processes will be conducted as needed.

But who would lead this KIPP chain?  You would need a big name. Someone who has shown massive success in the charter chain world.  Wait a minute, what about Penny’s mentor?

But back to the CEB, you would need A LOT of community involvement and input.  You can’t just fill up a building with schools and think everyone is okay with that.  Oh, they already have that covered as well:

But the oversight over a project of this magnitude would be enormous.  You would want to make sure you had all the key people lined up for your Vision.  People with a proven track record of rapidly increasing proficiency in children in a short amount of time.  Who could possibly do that?

And what would these schools be like?  Did someone have the answer months ago and not even realize it?  with a link to

So who runs KIPP?  Lots of big names:

The big part that is confusing me, and maybe someone can clue me in here, is why the Wilmingon Education Committee wrote a “slow your roll” letter to Governor Markell last week.  The Committee is run by Tony Allen, a Bank Of America executive.  Bank of America was the company that donated the Community Education Building to begin with.  Allen has wanted a Wilmington City School District for many years, so maybe there are plans afoot for that as well.

I’ve decided I’m going to just keep posting updates to this article, so you might want to save it in your favorites cause it will be a long one!

Sometimes you just have to come right out and ask!

  • me
  • Today at 10:39 AM
To: May Alison
CC:, Paul Herdman, Murphy Mark, Johnson Donna R.

That was a quick response:


To: me
CC: Markell Jack, Paul Herdman, Murphy Mark, Johnson Donna R 

13 thoughts on “The Governor Markell FOIA Release: Rodel, Herdman, RTTT, Common Core, and guess who’s coming to town…

  1. A lot of things were talked about in 2013 and didn’t come to pass.

    Delaware’s new charter application deadline was 12/31/14. The submitted applications are received and posted. KIPP didn’t submit an application by 12/31/14. End of story for KIPP in Delaware until 12/31/15 – which, if submitted and approved, wouldn’t open until Fall 2017 or 2018/.

    If you had done your research instead of just throwing things on the internet, you might have discovered that KIPP isn’t looking to expand into Delaware anymore – as evidenced by KIPP submitting ZERO applications in Delaware and THREE in the more charter-friendly land of Philadelphia:


    1. Thank you “Citizen” hailing from a State of DE IP Address. It’s hard to tell what goes on in the DOE office and other offices in Delaware because it’s not like the folks there are transparent about things. Citizens like me have to submit FOIA requests to get emails that you should readily hand out to the public. But I believe you are afraid of what we will find, as evidenced in the FOIAs John Kowalko got. If something needs legal review, and unnecessary redactions, then something is probably fishy.

      KIPP is expanding everywhere. But they are also a Management Company as I put a link to that. So if DE brings in a Charter Management Company, what part of the state law would indicate they would have to go through the normal channels to open a chain of charters? I throw out pieces of things I find and people can come to their own conclusion. It’s more than the DOE does. And their unelected State Board of Education. And how do we know our education reform Governor won’t just issue an executive order about this?d

      Here’s my challenge to you State employee: Release the information Mike Matthews and I requested with NO over the top financial charges, without a FOIA, and have it available at the State Board of Education meeting. That is the only way you can hope to win trust back from the citizens, students, parents and educators you have toyed with for the past six years.

      Liked by 1 person

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