Michael Strader, President
Charter School Associates was established by Mike Strader, a life-long educator and business man with involvement in over fifty charter school start-ups. Mr. Strader is a former teacher, coach, Headmaster and university administrator. He founded the Center for American Free Enterprise at Jacksonville University and the Center for Education Entrepreneurs at the Tallahassee-based, James Madison Institute—A Foundation for Florida’s Future, two national education related organizations.
As Executive Director of the Center for Education Entrepreneurs, Mike organized Florida’s first state-wide workshop to assist first year operators (Survival Training for Charter Operators) and developed the first “How-To” guide for Florida charter developers (The Florida Charter School Planning Guide).He has presented at national and state conferences including the National Association of Educators in Private Practice, The National Charter School Conference and the Florida Charter School Conference.
Estelle Strader, Chief Academic Officer
Estelle Strader has been a classroom teacher, lower school administrator, Assistant Principal and Principal of a large municipal charter school serving over 1600 students in grades 6-12. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education and from Nova Southeastern University with a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership. She held certification in Elementary Education and Educational Leadership, all levels with ESOL Endorsement. Estelle is a graduate of Leadership Broward, Class XXII, a member of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the International Reading Association, the Florida Reading Association, Phi Beta Kappa and the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Mrs. Strader works closely with Principals and school staff to develop curriculum, operational procedures and policies, and instructional strategies to ensure student success. She works with teachers to determine professional development activities and mentors new teachers in obtaining professional certification.
Brian Strader, Executive Vice President
Brian Strader has been a member of Charter School Associates since its inception in 2003. His key role has been to aid in the company’s growth, tackling projects from facility financing options to school equipment retro-fits. His on-going focus continues to create value for Charter School Associates’ clients as well as explore and streamline cost controlling options while maintaining the integrity and quality of the overall educational experience.
Prior to joining Charter School Associates, Strader was a certified state Law Enforcement Officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission where he conducted marine patrol to preserve and protect Florida’s vital ecosystems for future generations. Strader is a graduate of the University of Florida, with a Master’s in Business Management and a Bachelor’s in Building Construction.
John P. (Jay) Drag, Jr., VP of Operations
Jay Drag oversees the facilities, technology, safety, and food service operations for twenty-three schools on seventeen campuses in six counties. Mr. Drag has been a classroom teacher, assistant principal, and principal in both district and charter schools throughout his more than thirty years in the field of education. He is a former Broward County Teacher of the Year. His degrees include a B.A. in Finance, a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, and he is currently pursuing his doctorate in Organizational Development at Nova Southeastern University. He is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve with over twenty-eight years of meritorious service and one combat tour (Iraq) where he was awarded the Bronze Star.
Jeannette Merced, VP of Finance
The key role of Jeannette Merced as VP of Finance is to position CSA as a management company providing the best services related to financial health, budgeting, banking, investments, and financial reporting for the schools it serves. Prior to joining CSA, Ms. Merced served as Charter School Accounting Manager for the Palm Beach Public Schools. She served as a Commissioner for the Charter Schools Appeal Commission for the Florida Department of Education and as a Treasurer for the Florida Association of Charter School Authorizers. She also actively participates as part of the program review committee for the Florida Charter School Conference organized by the Florida Department of Education. She has served as Accounting Manager for several private industries prior to her government, not-for-profit experience.
Tiffani Richmond, VP of Curriculum and Instruction
Tiffani Richmond has been a classroom teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal, and an Area Director within the CSA network of schools for over 13 years. She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education and from Nova Southeastern University with a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership. She holds certification in Elementary Education and Educational Leadership.
Mrs. Richmond supports school leadership teams and instructional coaches in the delivery and implementation of curriculum and instruction to support student achievement.
Maria Corluka, VP of Human Resources
Maria Corluka has more than 20 years of professional Human Resources leadership experience developing top talent and building more aligned organizations. Her strength is in recruiting highly motivated candidates and creating a strong culture in the organization.
Mrs. Corluka’s key focus is to build on mission-critical plans including our talent needs and driving our business forward, making CSA the preferred employer.
With a Bachelor’s Degree in Management from Florida International University and a Masters in Employment Law, she has been living in our community for 23 years. She is actively involved in multiple charity organizations and is an avid marathon runner and triathlete.
Lauren Herbert, VP of School Accountability & Strategy
Lauren Herbert has been a classroom teacher, Dean of Students, Principal, and Director of Client Services for Charter School Associates. She received a M.Ed in Curriculum, Instruction, and Technology in Education from Temple University and a M.A. in Educational Leadership from American College of Education. Ms. Herbert also participated in Charter School Associates Next to Lead program as well as the FDOE Dr. Brian Dassler Leadership Academy.
Ms. Herbert believes in a shared leadership approach to education and the importance of strong mentors. She helps CSA school leaders implement their vision based on organizational expectations and initiatives.