OAKLAND -- Lighthouse Community Charter School was named charter school of the year Wednesday at the 20th Annual California Charter Schools Conference.

The Oakland-based K-12 charter school is one of three Oakland schools to have received the Hart Vision Award. Previous recipients include KIPP Bridge Charter School in 2011 and Oakland Charter Academy in 2009.

Founded in 2002 and home to more than 700 students, Lighthouse Community Charter School aims to prepare their students for college and cater to their individual needs and goals with high expectations of achievement, said Jenna Stauffer, director of strategic development at Lighthouse.

"It was an amazing feeling to be recognized," she said. "And really that award belongs to our teachers, parents and students more than anyone else because of their persistence and hard work."

The Hart Vision Awards, established in 1995 by the California Charter Schools Association, honors those schools and individuals whose goal is to expand student achievement and improve the quality of California charter schools.

The awards cover six categories: charter school, principal, teacher, school site staff, school site volunteer and statewide charter school movement supporter.

David Castillo, Oakland regional director of the California Charter Schools Association, nominated Lighthouse for the award, saying Lighthouse stands out from the other amazing programs in Oakland because they're always improving their program and are committed to engaging with students' families and the community.

"I'm glad that they received that recognition. I think it's well deserved, and I'm very happy a school from Oakland won," he said. "There are great things happening in Oakland schools, and I felt it was really amazing to see the spotlight on one of our charter schools -- it's well deserved."

The California Charter Schools Conference was held in San Diego from March 11-14. Its purpose is to bring together stakeholders in charter school education and provide resources and sessions to improve and advocate for California charter schools.