Learn More About BES

About BES

BES is a national nonprofit that identifies and prepares excellent leaders to transform education in their communities. We are a leadership development organization that supports leaders to not only build new schools, but to ensure their schools excel and sustain their results over time.

We invest in leaders so that they can invest in their teams and students, delivering on the promise of an excellent education for every child.

In many states, BES’s leadership development programs and services are an allowable use of federal COVID-19 relief program funding. This means districts and charter schools can use funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021, the education portion of which is known as the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, to partner with BES for school leadership development. The purpose of ESSER funding is to support schools to reopen safely, sustain safe operations, and meet students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact us at partners@bes.org to learn more about how your school or district might leverage this funding.

BES Strategic Plan

BES recently completed a robust, yearlong strategic planning process. The BES 2020-2023 strategic plan establishes four priorities to help us realize our vision and meet our goals over the next three years.

BES Fellowship

Through the BES Fellowship, individuals deeply committed to transforming education embark on a four-year process to design, found, and lead an excellent school. BES Fellows can participate in the Build Track to found a fresh-start charter school, found and lead the replication or expansion of an existing school through the Growth Track, or found and lead a high-quality, autonomous in-district school through the Autonomous School Track.


LENS is a valuable tool for schools looking to build their leadership bench. Through yearlong, part-time training and coaching, LENS prepares its participants to lead with equity and advance their leadership potential in their schools.

Leadership Intensives

Leadership Intensives are virtual two-hour workshops that support leaders to sharpen the skills they need to run a transformational school.

School Leadership Coaching

BES school leadership coaching packages are designed to support and challenge school leaders on the skills and mindset they need to execute at the highest level. School leadership coaching sessions include tailored feedback, strategy, and problem-solving support in which leaders are equipped with the lens, mindset, and tools required to consistently perform at the top of their game.

School leadership coaching is for any experienced principal or school leader in an executive, instructional, operational, or culture role looking to advance organizational priorities and outcomes.

Follow On Support

To ensure that schools start strong and sustain excellence over time, BES provides Follow On Support to school founders in their planning year and first two years of operation. Follow On Support consists of various coaching activities – virtual site visits, coaching calls, webinars, document review, and video feedback. Leaders in their planning years also take part in small group intensives that mirror a cohort-based learning experience, led by BES coaches and leaders of high-performing BES schools.

Training Modules

Our training modules can be tailored to meet the unique needs of leaders in a variety of school models, programs, and organizations. Our modules cover the following topics: leadership, culture, school operations, school start-up, academic programming, and talent and recruitment. 

Executive Search

BES provides expert recruitment support to schools and networks in their search for executive leaders that share in their mission to provide a high-quality education for all students. 

School Review and Consultancy and One Day School Review

BES conducts a School Review to assess the organizational and leadership health of organizations looking to streamline processes, accelerate growth, and improve overall outcomes for their students. 

About BES

In 2019, Building Excellent Schools became BES, sharpening our focus on leadership training to not only build new schools, but also help existing schools excel and sustain their success over time. Watch this video to hear from our leaders.

Fellow Spotlight

Hear from Melanie Askew, 2015 BES Fellow and Founder of Élan Academy in New Orleans, LA about her experience founding and leading an excellent school.

BES Fellowship: First Year

Learn more about the first year of the BES Fellowship as our Fellows prepare to found and lead an excellent school.

LENS: Equipping Leaders to Sustain Equitable and Excellent Schools

Through year-long, part-time training and coaching, LENS prepares its participants to lead with equity and advance their leadership potential in their schools. Hear from LENS leaders about the benefits of this program.

Fellows on the Fellowship: Community Co-Design

Hear from Dr. Josh Pinto Taylor, 2020 BES Community Co-Design Fellow and Founder of The Anchor School, a proposed community co-design public charter school in Atlanta, GA.

BES CEO Aasimah Navlakhi in The74

BES CEO Aasimah Navlakhi went to The74 to speak out in support of 2020 Fellow Akeem Brown. Akeem is the founder of Essence Preparatory Public School, which was recently embroiled in an erroneous political controversy over critical race theory. We believe this issue was an effort to sabotage school choice for Black and brown students.

BES CEO Aasimah Navlakhi on the National Association of Charter School Authorizers Blog

BES CEO Aasimah Navlakhi shared key takeaways from our journey to support a more diverse group of school founders and models. We think these can also help authorizers better support great and innovative leaders who can create new, high-quality educational opportunities rooted in equity for all learners.

2021 Fellow Nolan McDaniel in the Chattanooga Times Free Press

ChattAcademy Community School, founded by 2021 Fellow Nolan McDaniel, will be the first school in East Tennessee with a Spanish/English dual immersion curriculum for middle and high school students.

2020 Fellow Mamie Howard in the Denver VOICE

Mamie Howard has returned to the classroom while serving as principal resident at University Prep and preparing to lead the network’s third campus, which will open in fall 2022.

2021 Community Co-Design Fellow Dr. Brenda Jones on News Channel 5 Nashville

News Channel 5 featured an interview with Dr. Brenda Jones, 2021 Fellow and Founder of Invictus Nashville, a proposed K-5 public charter school to open in fall 2024.

2020 Fellow Ken Miller in The Journal News

The Journal News published a story titled “New charter school in Mount Vernon will be the first in a decade in Lower Hudson” on 2020 Fellow Ken Miller and her journey to open her school, Intellectus Prep, through the BES Fellowship.

BES CEO Aasimah Navlakhi on The Dr. Will Show Podcast

BES CEO Aasimah Navlakhi joined host Dr. Will Deyamport, III for a discussion on how BES is building strong schools by building strong leaders.

2020 Fellow Antoinette Kane in the Poughkeepsie Journal

Antoinette Kane, 2020 Fellow and Founder of Little Water Preparatory in Poughkeepsie, NY was featured in the Poughkeepsie Journal. Central to Little Water Prep’s model will be social-emotional and identity development, which will empower students and help them to ask critical questions of the world around them.

BES in Real Leaders Magazine

BES Board member Charles Mitchell and BES Community Advisory Council member Chris Clements share what they, as business leaders, have learned from BES school leaders and educators across the country.

BES on Education Post Blog

As BES celebrates the 20th Anniversary of its Fellowship, we focus on the future of supporting leaders dedicated to building public charter schools that are truly responsive to their communities. Education Post recently published an article from BES CEO Aasimah Navlakhi discussing the shifts BES has made to center our work in community need and anti-racism.

BES CEO Aasimah Navlakhi on Leading Equity Podcast

BES CEO Aasimah Navlakhi joined Leading Equity host, Dr. Sheldon Eakins, to discuss how an education organization can “walk the walk” when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Compass Rose Public Schools in My San Antonio

Paul Morrissey, 2015 Fellow and Founder of Compass Rose Public Schools, is interviewed in a story about the opening of Compass Rose Journey, a nature-based public charter school and the third campus in the Compass Rose network.

MA Governor Tours Springfield Prep

Governor Charlie Baker of MA attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Springfield Prep’s new building. Springfield Prep was founded by 2012 Fellow Bill Spirer.

2020 Fellow Akeem Brown in the San Antonio Report

Akeem Brown, 2020 Fellow and Founder of Essence Preparatory in San Antonio, and his founding team were featured in the San Antonio Report for their focus on meeting community needs and supporting their future students’ social and emotional health.

BES CEO Aasimah Navlakhi and Isaac Rivas-Savell on National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) Blog

As our work with leaders has shifted this year given the changing educational landscape, we’ve considered what authorizers could do to reflect on their roles and how they evaluate and support community-responsive schools. In a guest blog for the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, BES CEO Aasimah Navlakhi spoke with Isaac Rivas-Savell, Founder of Voz Collegiate Preparatory Charter School in Albuquerque, NM. Isaac offers insight into what it’s like to prepare to open a school during a global pandemic, and what authorizers can do to further support founders during this time and beyond.

BES CEO Aasimah Navlakhi on NACSA Uncharted Waters Expert Roundtable Series

In May 2021, BES CEO Aasimah Navlakhi presented at the National Association of Charter School Authorizers’ Uncharted Waters Expert Roundtable series. Aasimah discussed the intersections of race and community with authorizing.

Our Impact

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