PRESS RELEASE: Charter school advocate joins School Finance Research Collaborative

Mary Kay Shields, former charter school advisor to Gov. John Engler, brings school finance and policy expertise to Collaborative  

LANSING, Mich. – Mary Kay Shields, a longtime charter school advisor and school finance and policy expert, has joined the School Finance Research Collaborative. Shields brings decades of charter school leadership to the Collaborative, a broad-based group of business and education experts who agree it’s time to change the way Michigan’s schools are funded.

“At the time of passage, Proposal A was a necessary change to school finance. However, after over 25 years, it is time to reexamine how the State of Michigan approaches funding education,” Shields said. “I am passionate about providing all children, whether attending traditional or charter public schools, the opportunity for a bright future through the delivery of a meaningful education. I look forward to lending my perspective and experience to this important endeavor.”

Shields is president of CS Partners, an organization that offers support for charter public schools. She began her career as a special education teacher, and worked on school finance and policy reform through her service with the Michigan House and Senate fiscal agencies. She later served as former Gov. John Engler’s Special Advisor for Charter Schools Development.

In 1999, Shields joined Central Michigan University, where she worked with the Center for Charter Schools and was Special Advisor to the President for Capitol Relations. In 2001, she left CMU to serve as the founding President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Charter Schools Institute. Shields also served as founding Executive Director of the Michigan Public Educational Facilities Authority, where she successfully helped charter public schools gain access to facility financing funds.

The School Finance Research Collaborative is a broad-based group of Republicans, Democrats, Independents, business leaders and education experts from Metro Detroit to the U.P., who agree it’s time to change the way Michigan’s schools are funded.
The Collaborative is planning to produce a school adequacy study using multiple methodologies that will provide policymakers with the best, most complete and most accurate information on what it truly costs to educate our students.


For media inquiries, contact Christopher Behnan, Byrum & Fisk Communications, at (517) 333-1606, ext. 1