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EPAPA Graduates sitting at the ceremony

Discover Aspire

In 1998, longtime public school educator (and now Deputy Director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) Don Shalvey joined forces with Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Netflix founder Reed Hastings to launch Aspire Public Schools, one of the nation’s first charter management organizations. The mission Don and Reed set out to achieve was simple and straightforward, and it remains the same to this day: open and operate small, high-quality, college-prep charter schools in low-income neighborhoods.

Aspire now has 38 community-based schools serving over 15,500 students in California. Our schools range from TK through 12th grade, and College For Certain is the focus for every age group. Teachers and parents partner closely to ensure students are prepared to succeed in college, career, and life.

Aspire’s Vision

Aspire’s vision: Every student is prepared to earn a college degree.

Aspire’s Mission

Aspire’s mission is to open and operate small, high-quality charter schools in low-income neighborhoods, in order to:

  • Increase the academic performance of underserved students
  • Develop effective educators
  • Share successful practices with other forward-thinking educators, and
  • Catalyze change in public schools.

Equity Focus

Aspire is committed to providing equitable opportunities for our students, families, and teammates. We use an equity lens to examine our policies, practices, and systems at Aspire to strive for all groups to increase access and benefit from our work. This belief is woven throughout our core values. Read more about Equity at Aspire.

Core Values

  • PurposefulnessDeliberate action focused on the organization’s goals and priorities
  • CollaborationWorking collectively to accomplish more than what is possible alone
  • OwnershipIndividual and group accountability for results, actions, and decisions
  • Customer ServiceResponsiveness to the needs of external and internal customers
  • QualityCommitment to excellence and the discipline to continually improve

Aspire’s core values are a part of its culture, but they do not define the culture. Culture is a shared system of values, beliefs and behaviors that collectively determine how things are done in an organization; it includes but is not limited to values.


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