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 and equip a new wave of leaders.

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 supports leaders through long and short-term tailored coaching options to continuously improve and sustain their schools. Designed to meet the unique needs of each participant, these one-on-one and cohort coaching opportunities inspire and equip leaders towards delivering on the ambitious goals of the organization.

Executive Searches

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 & Leadership Audits

BES conducts school and leadership audits to assess the organizational and leadership health of organizations looking to streamline processes, deepen practices, 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.

Driving Achievement Through SEL

How does a high-achieving charter school network continue to deliver results, grow with quality, and reach its students’ needs over time? One answer lies with Excel Academy Charter High School in East Boston. 

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.

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.

Bloom Academy in the Houston Defender

Bloom Academy is taking its first graders on virtual college tours. First up: Howard University, an HBCU located in Washington, DC. Bloom Academy was founded by 2017 BES Fellow Courtney Sales.

Excel Academy in National Alliance and Public Impact Report

Excel Academy, founded by 2002 BES Fellow Yutaka Tamura in Boston, MA, was featured in a report on how charter schools responded to COVID-related school closures. Excel Academy’s leadership prioritized student health and wellness, consistent communication, and equity in online learning.

Purpose Prep in the Tennessean

Lagra Newman, 2011 BES Fellow and founder of Purpose Prep in Nashville, TN, penned an op-ed titled “Divisive charter vs. public school argument takes focus away from Metro Nashville students.”

Our Impact

Click here to read about our impact.