What Leaders Are Saying

Monique Chavez, 2021 LENS Leader

“LENS has helped me create strong systems and protocols with my teachers to grow in their skills. LENS has also provided empowerment in my role as a leader in my school building and I am just so grateful for that!”

Monique Chavez, 2021 LENS Leader
Dean of Academics - ELA, University Prep, Denver, CO

Angela Mu, 2020 LENS Leader

It’s exciting that I have been able to use many things I learned in LENS in my new position as assistant principal, including how to effectively coach and support adults; lead my team to plan for inclusion, diversity, and equity; and use data to drive goals and priorities, which is a big focus at Forte Prep. I completed LENS knowing that being a school leader is not an easy job – especially after the pandemic began – but it is a really important job that makes a big impact.”

Angela Mu, 2020 LENS Leader
Assistant Principal, Forte Prep, New York, NY

Jeff Kuhne, 2021 LENS Leader

“I can’t imagine navigating my first year as a principal without LENS. The trainings have supported me as I grow into my new position, allowing me to practice my leadership presence when coaching the adults in my building and planning for challenging meetings. The relationships I’ve made with the leaders in my cohort and my LENS coach have been a lifeline for me this year.” 

Jeff Kuhne, 2021 LENS Leader
Principal, Columbus Collegiate Academy, Columbus, OH

Emily Castillo León 

“As a founding leader, I see building a solid leadership bench as the most critical component of school sustainability, and this begins before a school even opens. LENS has developed the mindsets, knowledge, and skills of our emerging leaders and equipped them to make a seamless transition from the classroom into leadership roles to help our school stay strong.”

Emily Castillo León, 2015 BES Fellow
Founder and Head of School, Ethos Classical, Atlanta, GA

Dr. Trevor Ivey

“BES’s approach to helping us find the perfect candidate for our Founding Executive Director role was intentional, thoughtful, and personalized, and more than exceeded our expectations. Eight months later, it is clear that Dr. Graham’s leadership is the game-changer in redefining excellence in public education in the Sumter community.”

Dr. Trevor Ivey
Chief of Staff, Liberty STEAM Charter School, Sumter, SC

Megan Murphy

“Working with my coach develops my leadership lens as well as how my orientations/values impact our organization and growth. He is a wealth of resources and is always quick to respond when I have one-off questions/challenges – thus striking a good balance between the immediate and the long-term support I need. The coaching is more transformational rather than task or scenario-driven.”

Megan Murphy
2015 BES Fellow, Founder and Head of School, Circle City Prep, Indianapolis, IN

Graham Browne

“My coach is really strong at providing me perspective outside of the work I’m doing at my school. The resources that he has offered to me in our coaching sessions have allowed me to contextualize what I’m seeing on the ground at my school with my leadership team.”

Graham Browne, 2015 BES Fellow
Founder & Executive Director, Forte Preparatory Academy, Queens, NY

Beatriz Gutierrez

“BES Follow On Support has been absolutely critical to our school success. We were faced with unprecedented challenges over the last two years and I really could not have pushed through without the support of my coach. I feel honored to have a mentor that is accessible, relatable, and experienced.”

Beatriz Gutierrez, 2016 BES Fellow
Founder and Executive Director, Soleil Academy, CA

Sharifa Blackwell

LENS provides a blueprint to current and aspiring leaders. During LENS school studies, I was able to take what another school was doing well and then adapt it to my school to meet the needs of our students and families. Being able to go into another school virtually and observe has been a tremendous blessing in terms of implementing, adjusting, and constantly improving the instructional practice in my building.”

Sharifa Blackwell
Principal, St. Louis Language Immersion School, MO

Cynthia Rodriguez

LENS provided an opportunity for me to see schools in other parts of the country. The models were not cookie-cutter; we really had the opportunity to see people in different facets of the school. It was eye-opening to see what charter schools are doing and how they define success, and I was able to think about how we could bring some of these practices into the public school system. It was also really nice to be able to work with leaders in charter schools and get to see that their struggles are our struggles, and their triumphs are our triumphs. Our shared purpose is successful outcomes for students.”

Cynthia Rodriguez, 2020 LENS Leader
Instructional Coach, Lemon Grove School District, CA

Briana Marquez

“LENS provided me the opportunity to grow as a leader by enhancing my leadership skills. Despite the challenges we’ve faced this year in regards to COVID, LENS allowed me to receive both whole group and individual training provided by a phenomenal coach. She continuously pushed me to sharpen both my lens and vision so that I could be a better leader not only for my team but for my scholars that deserve an equitable education.”

Briana Marquez
Dean of Instruction, Legacy College Prep, NY

Daniel Bryant

“As a department chair who also teaches, I can’t say enough about how the LENS program has boosted my time management skills and increased my confidence as an educational coach. LENS has provided me with a supportive environment where I can polish my leadership skills, evaluate how I communicate and coach my team, and become more confident in having difficult but crucial conversations with teachers, staff, students, and parents. My teacher observation, appraisal, and coaching skills are miles above where they were last school year. My LENS coach has been a blessing to me and her impact on my leadership development is already leading to positive changes on campus that will impact our students this year.”

Daniel Bryant, 2020 LENS Leader
Dean of Science Dept., St. Thomas High School, TX

Vanessa Charles

“As a teacher transitioning into a leadership role, LENS played a major role in my professional growth. Through LENS, I have received hands-on training in providing effective professional development sessions, coaching educators, managing data analysis conversations, and culture building. My monthly meetings with my coach prove increasingly more meaningful as we work together to transition from my teacher leader mindset to that of a school-wide leader. I also appreciate the LENS team’s seamless and swift response to our current virtual world. They have not skipped a beat in providing high-quality training and connections with other BES schools. I am grateful to be a part of it and I know that what I learn here will impact teachers and scholars for years to come.”

Vanessa Charles, 2020 LENS Leader
Founding Lead Teacher, Ethos Classical, GA

Isaac Rivas-Savell

Working alongside my BES Follow On Support coach has been critical in identifying how education has rapidly evolved under the circumstances of 2020 and pivoting our model to be responsive to those changes.”

Isaac Rivas-Savell, 2018 BES Fellow
Founder and Head of School, Voz Collegiate Prep, Albuquerque, NM

Leadership Intensives Participant

“Thank you for the opportunity to attend BES’s Adult Management & Operations training. I gained an enormous amount of insight from both of them and they provided excellent resources. BES did an amazing job on the Zoom platform and it was a neat experience to be with educators all over the country.”

Leadership Intensives Participant

Dr. Khalil Graham

“Working with BES this year has been a breath of fresh air, even to someone like myself who has worked with high performing CMO’s for the greater part of the last decade. Having executive coaching that is tailored to my individual needs, skills, and goals has helped me be a more focused and effective leader as I develop our network, and is something I have desired for a long time. The partnership with my coach truly feels aligned, and because of his support I am 100% confident we will open with amazing results this year!”

Dr. Khalil Graham
Executive Director, Liberty STEAM Charter School, SC

Leadership Intensives Participant

“It was a great experience to hear from educators all over the country. Overall, the workshop was highly insightful and I feel tremendously more equipped.”

Leadership Intensive Participant

Christian Toledo

“LENS equipped me with the skills that I need to effectively and equitably lead a school in the South Bronx. The intensive small group training, school visits, monthly coaching calls, and networking opportunities have elevated my leadership skills and allowed me to bring back innovative ideas that have improved our overall school community. As a result, Legacy College Prep has achieved higher scholar growth while creating a safe and engaging learning environment for all.”

Christian Toledo
Middle School Principal, Legacy College Prep, NY

LaTrina Johnson

“LENS is the first program I’ve participated in that affirms leading with heart and passion, which was important to me as a woman of color in leadership. The uncompromising level of excellence in this program compels new leaders to courageously reach for the highest bar, even when we don’t yet know the pathway to get there. Educational inequity won’t be undone in a day, but LENS armors us with the skills and voice for us to be brazen enough to believe that we can end it in our lifetime.”

LaTrina Johnson, 2020 LENS Leader
Former Principal, RePublic High School, TN