The Texas Charter Schools Association named Dr. Soner Tarim the Leader of the Year at the 2017 Texas Charter Schools Conference today. Dr. Tarim, Founder and CEO of Harmony Public Schools, received his award at a luncheon with keynote speaker Education Commissioner Mike Morath.
“I am thrilled to recognize Dr. Soner Tarim as TCSA’s Leader of the Year,” said David Dunn, Executive Director for TCSA. “Under Dr. Tarim’s direction, Harmony Public Schools is the largest charter network in the state, delivering an excellent STEM education to students who achieve great outcomes. Not only is he a strong leader, he is a true friend,” Dunn added.
TCSA’s Leader of the Year program honors one outstanding charter leader from across the State of Texas. As the second recipient of the award for Leader of the Year, Dr. Tarim received a complimentary registration to the conference, a plaque, and a cash award of $1000. The award recognizes charter leaders that advocate for charters at the state and national level, have successfully replicated high performing charters that are innovative in their approaches to educating all students, and serve as a mentor to other charter leaders.
Dr. Soner Tarim has been an educational advocate for more than 30 years, encouraging students in underserved communities to pursue learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. He is a driving force for STEM education throughout Texas and the United States. He brings decades of experience developing innovative educational programs for K-12 schools to Harmony, which has garnered state and national recognition for its high academic standards. Harmony was a finalist for the Broad Prize for Urban Education in 2017. The Broad Prize for Urban Education recognizes school districts in urban areas for closing the achievement gap by improving the academic performance of low-income and minority students.
Under Dr. Soner Tarim’s headship, Harmony has earned the reputation as one of the best charter schools in the country, many of its campuses recognized on prestigious high school rankings, such as News & World Report and Children @ Risk. These successes have only increased Harmony’s demand with 55 campuses scheduled to open in the 2017-18 school year in Texas and Washington D.C., educating close to 36,000 students.
“Dr. Tarim is a perfect candidate for the TCSA Leader of the year as a result of his contributions to the charter school movement in the state of Texas. His initiatives created a safe learning environment for 30,000+ students, and a pleasing teaching opportunity for 3,400+ educators,” said Yalcin Alkyildiz, CFO of Harmony Public Schools.
Dr. Tarim holds a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University and is a trained biologist and ecologist. He taught courses in biology, ecology, general science, and physical education at the high school, college and graduate-school levels, and spearheaded scientific symposiums and international science Olympiads, such as the International Sustainable World Energy, Engineering, and Environment Project – or ISWEEEP — which attracts more than 600 top-ranking high school students from more than 60 nations.
Dr. Tarim continuously works toward building meaningful partnerships, maintaining effective communications and positive relationships with high-level corporate and civic leaders to advance high-quality, rigorous education throughout the state and nation. As a highly sought-after consultant, speaker, and published researcher, Dr. Tarim often finds himself at state and STEM conferences nationwide where he provides vital insight on results-oriented education through his unrivaled expertise and knowledge in developing and managing innovative charter schools.
The Texas Charter Schools Association is the statewide membership organization for effective charter schools of all types, proudly representing nearly 270,000 students at 675 open-enrollment charter school campuses. The Texas Charter Schools Conference is the largest gathering of its kind for the charter school community. About 1,600 attendees participate in training sessions over three days.