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.

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, high-capacity 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.


Leaders for Emerging Networks of Schools (LENS) is year-long, part-time training for individuals preparing to take on heightened leadership roles in schools. LENS is a valuable tool for schools looking to build their leadership bench.

Leadership Intensives

Leadership Intensives (formerly Weekend Warriors) support leaders to sharpen the skills they need to run a transformational school that ensures opportunity and success for students in their communities. We have reimagined our Leadership Intensives in light of the changing educational landscape. For the first time, we are offering fully virtual, two-hour intensive workshops led by BES’s veteran educators.


BES coaching packages are designed to support and challenge school leaders on the skills and mindset they need to execute at the highest level. 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.

Coaching is for any experienced principal or school leader in an executive, instructional, or operational 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. 


BES conducts audits to assess the organizational and leadership health of organizations looking to streamline processes, accelerate growth, and improve overall outcomes for their students. Schools can take part in a Comprehensive School Audit or a One Day School Review.

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.

Leaders on LENS

Hear from 2019 and 2020 LENS leaders about the value of LENS coaching, training, and school studies. 

A New BES: Looking Back, Moving Forward

Over the last 18 months, we have been learning and growing as a team to make BES more equitable, inclusive, and diverse. We publicly committed to being an actively anti-racist organization and have made shifts to align with this promise.

Akeem Brown in the San Antonio Business Journal

Akeem Brown, 2020 Fellow and Founder of Essence Prep, a proposed K-8 public charter school in San Antonio, TX. SABJ named Akeem as its 40 Under 40 Man of the Year for 2021.

Purpose Prep in One Day Magazine and USA Today

Purpose Prep, founded by 2011 BES Fellow Lagra Newman in Nashville, TN, was recently featured in One Day Magazine and USA Today.

In a story titled “Socially Conscious School Studies,” Lagra, along with the school’s Director of Academics Shauna Russell, describes how students learn about the history of Africa through the school’s social studies curriculum.

Lagra was also profiled in a USA Today op-ed titled “Families need options: Why school choice is essential to ensuring racial equality.”



Tori Jackson Hines on WAOK 1380-AM Radio Atlanta

Tori Jackson Hines, 2015 BES Fellow and Head of School of Resurgence Hall Charter School in Atlanta, GA, discussed the importance of families having access to an excellent public school in their community.

BES at the New York Charter Schools Virtual Conference

BES Fellows Ambrosia Johnson, Dr. Chris Manning, and Brian Pawloski took part in a Build, Excel, Sustain leadership panel, facilitated by Senior Director of Follow On Support, Paul Adler. These leaders offered insight into how they are opening and operating schools and supporting their communities during a global pandemic.

Milwaukee Excellence in the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service

Milwaukee Excellence, founded by 2014 BES Fellow Maurice Thomas, is preparing its entire sophomore class of 102 Black students to take the AP Computer Science Principles exam. Last year, only 23 Black students took the exam in the entire state.

BES at the National Association of Charter School Authorizers Virtual Leadership Conference

BES’s CEO, Aasimah Navlakhi, and Senior Director of the BES Fellowship, Stephanie Patton, hosted a session titled “Community Connections and School Incubation.” The session detailed how three BES Fellows integrated community and authorizer input into their school designs.

Our Impact

Click here to read about our impact.