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Bess Kennedy

Executive Director, Aspire Foundation


As Executive Director of the Aspire Public Schools Foundation, Bess oversees the Foundation’s work to support all 15,000+ scholars at Aspire Public Schools, and to ensure Aspire’s schools, scholars, educators, and communities have the resources and partnerships critical to change the odds. 

Bess began her career in education in 1999 as a 4th grade teacher at Aspire East Palo Alto Charter School, where she taught exceptional young people and launched Aspire’s first development program. After four years with Aspire EPACS, Bess then took a 13-year detour to attend NYU School of Law and practice law at Bingham McCutchen in San Francisco. Feeling the pull of education, Bess returned to Aspire in 2016 as the Vice President of Advancement. In 2019, Bess and her team launched the Aspire Public Schools Foundation, raising in its first year over $5M in philanthropic funds to support Aspire’s scholars. 

Bess received a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy with honors in Ethics in Society from Stanford University. She received her law degree from NYU School of Law, where she was also an Arthur Garfield Hays fellow in civil rights law. Bess lives in Menlo Park, CA with her partner, five children, dog, and hamster.