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Don Shalvey, fearless charter school pioneer and mentor, dies at 79 [Video]

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Brain Cancer

Don Shalvey

Credit: San Joaquin A+

Don Shalvey, who created California’s first charter school in 1994 and, as an organizer, strategist and mentor, had an outsize influence on the charter movement’s growth over a quarter-century, has died.

Shalvey succumbed Saturday to glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer that was diagnosed a year ago. He was 79 and living on the family ranch in Linden, a small town near Stockton, where for the last seven years he was CEO of San Joaquin A+, a nonprofit that underwrites charter and district early college pathways for career opportunities. He was also a longtime member of EdSource’s board of directors, returning to the board for a second time in 2021.

“Don was a towering figure in public education with a direct influence on the opportunity of people in under-resourced communities to get a first-class education. He did it regardless of criticism or compliments because it was the right thing,” said John Deasy, former …

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