Hon. Ember Reichgott Junge, former State Senator, MN
Former Minnesota State Senator Ember Reichgott Junge is the author of Minnesota’s 1991 first-in-nation charter school law, which was a winner of the 2000 Innovations in American Government Award from the JFK School of Government at Harvard University. The 18-year legislator served as Senate Assistant Majority Leader before stepping down from senate service in 2000.
In honor of the 20th anniversary of the passage of the first charter legislation, Reichgott Junge wrote the history of the origins of chartering from 1988 through 1992 in her book Zero Chance of Passage: The Pioneering Charter School Story. The book was launched at the June 2012 National Charter Schools Conference in Minneapolis.
Reichgott Junge is a national spokesperson on charter public schools, traveling the country to tell the pioneering story (www.ZeroChanceOfPassage.com). As a state senator in the 1990s she appeared with President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, and U.S. Education Secretaries Richard Riley and Lamar Alexander; and at two national conversations of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). She was honored by Business Week Magazine in its 1992 Special Edition “Reinventing America” as one of “Six Local Heroes Making a Difference” in sponsoring one of the “most innovative experiments in the nation.” Sen. Reichgott Junge also sponsored into law the first public school open enrollment initiative in the country (1988), allowing students to attend public schools of choice anywhere in Minnesota.
Reichgott Junge has continued her involvement with charter public schools as a board member of the Washington D.C. based National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (retired, 2008), and current board member of Washington D.C. based Charter Schools Development Corporation (CSDC), which is copublisher of Zero Chance of Passage. She was inducted into the National Charter Schools Hall of Fame in April, 2008, and received the Brian Bennett Education Warrior Award from Democrats for Education Reform in December, 2012.
For over twenty years, Ms. Reichgott Junge practiced business and nonprofit law with The General Counsel, Ltd. She currently serves as Vice President of Strategic Outcomes for People Incorporated Mental Health Services, a Twin Cities nonprofit. Reichgott Junge is also a television political analyst, former radio host and editorial writer. Her board service has included Citizens Independent Bank, Twin Cities United Way, and the Minneapolis Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Ember received her BA from St. Olaf College, JD from Duke University Law School, and MBA from University of St. Thomas. She is an avid ballroom dancer and most enjoys spending time with her husband, Michael Junge.