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Wesley Frakes



Born in Montana, raised in California, I come to this space of my career with a simple personal goal in mind. I want to spend the next decade or so of my life working in a school and a school system that really matters. I want to live my professional life in congruence with how I live my personal life, and I want to find a community of people searching for the same thing and who will push my growth and challenge me. The values of Aspire and our mission and vision fit perfectly with both my standards and aspirations as a dad and husband, as well as how I believe we should approach student learning. 

My adventures in becoming an educator, and ultimately a school leader, was not a straight line. I came from a school system that behaves like many school systems in the US; good and decent humans teaching in a structure that did little to lift up under-represented communities. Since I grew up in significant poverty in the Central Valley, I was never, in the eyes of the system, a serious contender for college. Many years and many struggles later I proved that to be untrue and dedicated the rest of my career toward affecting school change. I began at Questa Community College, finished my degree at Chapman University, and ultimately completed my admin credential and graduate work at CSU Stanislaus. While working for Aspire Schools, I have led two schools that helped to prove that college-goers could be found in all students, regardless of background; most of my students were the first in their families to receive college acceptance letters and our school was the highest performing secondary school in the county. I also had the honor of leading a turnaround school in the Cole neighborhood of Denver, Colorado. Before Aspire, I honed my practice in K-5 schools in the Sylvan School District of Modesto as a classroom teacher and as a school leader.

Being here at Aspire’s Ben Holt Academy makes me feel alive and proud and excited. It’s energizing to know that we are engaging the national conversation about what it really means to be an educated student, and what it really means to serve our communities through an antiracist lens.

Come by and ask me about my personal education story, and I’ll ask you about yours. There’s much work still to be done; together, we can continue to impact education for our children here and for educators everywhere.