About us

The History of Aspire

In 1998, longtime public school educator Don Shalvey joined forces with Silicon Valley entrepreneur Reed Hastings to launch Aspire Public Schools, one of the nation’s first charter management organizations. The mission they set out to achieve was simple and straightforward: grow the public charter school movement by opening and operating small, high-quality charter schools in low-income neighborhoods…and prepare these students for college.

Now sixteen years later, Aspire is one of the nation’s highest performing and well respected school systems in the country, serving over 14,600 students in 38 schools throughout California and in Memphis, Tennessee. For the past five years, 100% of Aspire graduates secured admission to a four-year college or university. 

Since its founding, Aspire has stayed true to Dr. Shalvey's vision of preparing students to earn a college degree. Aspire is committed to sharing our practices to help catalyze education reform in public schools across the nation. Today, Aspire has built on our history of reform to become a national education leader.

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Don Shalvey, Founder