Mark Francis, DMA.
Director of the Arizona Department of Education
Mark Francis, DMA, is Director of the Arizona Department of Education (ADE), Arizona Charter Schools Program (2009-present). AZCSP is funded by the US Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Program, Charter School Program.
Dr. Francis was the founder and Executive Director of Arizona School for the Arts (1995-2007), the nation’s first secondary charter school to receive the US Department of Education National Blue Ribbon School Award and the first charter school awarded the Arizona Department of Education Spotlight on School Success. Under his leadership, the school was also awarded a $300,000 ED CSP Dissemination Grant for the school’s professional learning community. Following his retirement in 2007, he helped reconstitute the Arizona Charter Schools Association sponsored by a $1.5 M grant from the Walton Family Foundation (2007-2008) and later served as Director of New American Schools for Arizona State University’s University Public Schools Initiative (2008-09).
Mark has a B. A. from Augsburg University (1970). For his work as an Arizona charter pioneer, he was awarded the 2022 Lisa Graham Keegan Award by the Arizona Charter Schools Association. For his work in arts and academic education, he was honored as an Augsburg Distinguish Alumni in 2017. He completed his DMA at the University of Arizona (1986). At UA he was named Outstanding Graduate Student by the University of Arizona Faculty of Fine Arts and received the Meritorious Performance in Teaching Award from the University of Arizona Foundation.