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.


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.

Fellows on the Fellowship: Josh Pinto Taylor, Ed.D.

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.

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 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 BES 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 BES Fellow Bill Spirer.

2020 Fellow Akeem Brown in the San Antonio Report

Akeem Brown, 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.

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.

Our Impact

Click here to read about our impact.