As the founding president of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, Darrell Allison is working to reform and redefine K-12 education. His work, focused on expanding educational opportunity for all children, is based on a fundamental premise: Parents, regardless of address or income, should be free to choose the best school for their child.
Darrell’s belief in the power of parental school choice has served as a catalyst for building bipartisan alliances that promote and effect legislative change. Darrell has played an instrumental role in the passage of historic school choice legislation, including: elimination of the cap on public charter schools; creation of a tuition grant program for special needs students; and establishment of the Opportunity Scholarship Program, which provides private school scholarships to low-income families. In 2016 Darrell worked to secure successful passage of legislation that exponentially grows the Opportunity Scholarship Program through $145 million in funding over the next decade.
A results-driven reformer, Darrell has also pushed to increase school choice access and resources for families. In 2012 he launched the North Carolina Public Charter School Accelerator, an innovative schools project to create and sustain new public charter schools in underserved communities. In 2016 Darrell led development of PEFNC’s location-based school choice web application, NCSchoolsAroundMe; the app provides parents with critical school report card data and customized information about their private and public charter school options.
Darrell understands the strategic importance of advocacy and outreach in mobilizing public support for reform. He is a frequent commentator on school choice and education reform topics across television, print, and radio channels, and has been featured or quoted more than 1,000 times in the media within the past two years. His emphasis on coalition-building has helped PEFNC become North Carolina’s leading parental school choice organization, with a membership base of 60,000-plus supporters.
Honored as an Education Reformer to Watch by the Walton Family Foundation in 2013, Darrell has also been recognized as a Diversity Champion for Education Reform by Partners for Developing Futures.
Darrell’s success as an education reformer builds on his experience working with White House officials and congressional leaders, as well as from serving as a legal specialist for the US Department of Justice. A former White House intern, Darrell graduated magna cum laude from North Carolina Central University and received his juris doctor from the University of North Carolina School of Law.
Darrell has not only been impactful in the K-12 landscape in North Carolina, but he also serves on the Board of Governors for the University of North Carolina System that oversees 16 university campuses serving nearly 250,000 students.