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The Children’s Guild (TCG) DC Public Charter School has recently appointed three new members to their School Board.  Mark Lerner, Cassandra Blassingame and Jessica Rios join Robert Seabrooks, Board Chair, Michael Curran, Mayra D. Figueroa-Clark, Jason Henderson, Yolanda Lusane, Charles W. McNeill, Jr., Angelo Wong and Parent Representative Cleo Green on the board.   The Children’s Guild DC Public Charter School is a unique and free DC public charter school serving grades K-8 which offers personalized supportive educational services, safe transportation hubs around the city, a nurturing and engaging learning environment and a true sense of community.

“Cassandra, Mark and Jessica each bring years of valuable experience to our school board, and we look forward to working with them on delivering our educational services to the DC community,” said Robert Seabrooks, Chair TCG DC Public Charter Schools board.  “Our school board is committed to the strategic direction and mission of TCG DC which is to prepare students with disabilities and general education students for college, career readiness, and citizenship in their community by developing in them critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills, self-discipline and a commitment to serve a cause larger than themselves.”  The three new board members are:

Casandra Blassingame is CEO of the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training in Sterling, VA.  As CEO, Blassingame provides leadership for this international standard developing organization that serves the continuing education and training industry. She oversees the standards development process, daily operations and administration. She is responsible for strategic plan execution, operating budget development, profit & loss, partnerships, business strategies, contracts, and business agreements. Blassingame also monitors education regulations and legislation, and provides leadership organization wide with direct reporting to the Board of Directors.

Jessica Rios, a former middle school teacher at DC Prep, is a professional, caring, organized teacher with 15 years’ experience in teaching multiple grades and adults.  Her dedication is to provide students with appropriate learning activities and adventures designed to fulfill their potential for emotional, intellectual, social and physical growth.  She developed a comprehensive curriculum for a 2-12 English Language Arts/Literacy program and integrated data from system-wide testing programs to better instruct students.

Mark Lerner, R.T. is a healthcare recruiter for PSI Recruiters and has been actively involved in Washington  , D.C.’s charter school movement and the issues surrounding school choice for over 20 years as a tutor, board of directors’ member, and board chair.  Mark has been writing about charter schools in the nation’s capital since 2009.  Mark’s blog Parents Have School Choice Kids Win focuses on education reform in the nation’s capital.  “I recently visited The Children’s Guild to write about them for my blog, and literally had tears in my eyes at their story, that is when I knew I needed to get more involved in this organization.”  Mark writes:

The school’s mission is to “use the philosophy of Transformation Education to prepare special needs and general education students for college, career readiness, and citizenship in their community by developing their critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills, self-discipline and a commitment to serve a cause larger than themselves.”  Mr. Daniels offered that this is accomplished by providing both an inclusionary model in a general education setting and through self-contained classrooms led by teachers with the support of dedicated aides.  “Our aim with the self-contained setting is to be much more therapeutic and allow these students to attend school with their siblings who may not require the same level of instruction,” Mr. Daniels said.  “The goal is to transition the self-contained students to a less separated environment.”

When I asked how the school can manage students with such variations in learning ability, most with their own Individualized Education Plan, the two leaders simultaneously looked me in the eyes with smiles on their faces and practically recited in unison, “at the Children’s Guild we are here to make the impossible, possible.”

This is probably when tears started flowing down my face.  


The Children’s Guild DC Public Charter School is part of The Children’s Guild’s schools and programs which respond to the unique needs of every child, family, and community it serves. The organization is one of the largest providers of charter schools, special education, autism services, treatment foster care, and family mental and behavioral health services in the region.
Affiliates of The Children’s Guild include The Children’s Guild, Inc., Baltimore Campus, The Children’s Guild DC Public Charter School, The Children’s Guild – Prince George Campus, Monarch Academy Glen Burnie, Monarch Academy Global – Laurel, Monarch Academy Annapolis, The Outpatient Mental Health Clinic, Treatment Foster Care, The Children’s Guild- Transformation Academy, Monarch Preschool College Park, TranZed Academy for Working Students (TAWS), and TranZed Apprenticeships.  For more information, visit https://childrensguild.org/.