Dirk has worked for over 25 years with underserved students and communities expanding educational opportunities, and simultaneously striving for equity and excellence. He is the founder of the not for profit, Great School Choices, an organization committed to helping communities incubate better schools, push for quality improvements in existing ones, and underserved families accessing the range of quality choices available. Over the last several years he has incubated 19 independent charter schools dedicated to students and families often left behind, including the first college preparatory public school in NYS to deliberately target students with emerging mental health challenges, the first autism inclusion charter, the first Montessori charter in NY, the first charter to provide an admissions preference to English language learners, alongside a host of other innovative models targeted to the most disadvantaged students, in NY’s most challenging neighborhoods.
Prior to his work in NY, he consulted for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, post-Katrina in New Orleans, as the first national charter school boots on the ground. Living and working there to support both equity and excellence and continuing to work with community groups there to push for greater equity, noting the possibility that increasing school choice may not lead to greater equity. His school support work began in Oakland, California, where he led or developed several high achieving schools and founded a charter support organization, Oakland Charters Together, as well as sitting on the School Site Council of a District school, and serving on the District’s Site Based Decision Making Steering Committee.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from SUNY Albany and his law degree and master’s degree in jurisprudence and social policy from UC Berkeley.