At the end of May, Don Shalvey handed the helm of Aspire Public Schools to James Willcox.  While in San Carlos, Don started the first charter in CA.  He put in 10 good years at Aspire and is headed to the Gates Foundation.

Don is one of the kindest, funniest, hardest working guys in the business.  He quietly built a great organization and let the results speak for themselves.  Many of us learned a lot from Don.  He was one of the first K-12 CMO’s and every one of the 25 schools is all about getting urban kids into college and careers.

When visiting Wilson Prep with Don, I did some mental math.  Almost all of their students graduate and go to college.  I estimated that more than 60% will ultimately graduate from college–10x the local high school.  Think about that–an order of magnitude of improvement in life opportunities in one of Oakland’s toughest neighborhoods.

Don has created better life opportunities for thousands of CA kids.  He’s a gentleman, a comedian, a music-trivia genius, and a gift to us all.

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