I received the following email yesterday afternoon from Shantelle Wright, founder and chief executive officer of Achievement Prep Public Charter School. With her permission I am posting her message and I will add no commentary, as none is necessary.
I’m writing to share some bittersweet news. After more than a decade leading Achievement Prep, I have decided that it is the right time for me personally and professionally to transition out of the role of Chief Executive Officer of Achievement Prep.
Founding and leading Achievement Prep has been my calling, my passion, and one of the most important things in my life. I have spent over a decade of my life dedicated to Achievement Prep and that will never change. I believe we have built an amazing organization that does great things for children, and we will continue to do this important work for many years to come.
Although the Achievement Prep Board of Trustees requested that I reconsider my decision, I know in my heart that it is time to move on. My goal was to get the school through its ten-year charter renewal, and with that done, I feel it is time for me to pursue my next calling.
I am deeply proud of the growth that Achievement Prep has made under my leadership. Over the past ten years, Achievement Prep has grown from a single site school serving 68 fourth and fifth grade scholars to a multi-campus LEA serving nearly 1,000 scholars in grades pre-school through eighth. Our founding scholars are currently freshmen and sophomores at some of the most elite schools in the nation, including Duke, Hampton, Morehouse and George Washington. Our families are among the most courageous and inspirational people I know and they will always be the wind in my sails. It has been my honor to serve as the Founder and CEO of Achievement Prep. It has been beyond my wildest dreams to serve and work amongst the heroes in this important work: my committed Achievement Prep team, the amazing educators in the District of Columbia, and most importantly, my odds-defying scholars. They are the reason I have served at Achievement Prep. I am honored to have served them.
It is my priority for this transition to be smooth in order to pave the way for future success of the schools. My transition is an amazing opportunity for Achievement Prep to identify a leader with a shared commitment to our community who can help to build on our accomplishments to date. I am committed to making sure that this leadership transition causes minimal disruption to our scholars’ learning. Although I will officially step down as CEO in June of 2018, my service is not done – I will stay on as an advisor to the new CEO through the end of the 2018 calendar year. After that, I plan to stay active in the arena of educational excellence and equity, advocating for our scholars and other students of color throughout the DC area. I look forward to the next phase of my journey.
I leave this role humbled, honored and with the utmost respect for the important work that is greater than any one person. I remain unapologetically committed to historically underserved children who, when given the opportunities and support, can soar higher than anyone ever thought. I’ve had the privilege of seeing that first hand over these last ten years in my scholars and they never cease to amaze me. I hope, in my own small way, my service has done the same for them and this city. I know I am leaving Achievement Prep in excellent hands. Our leadership team and Board of Trustees are fully committed to continuing our legacy of three-generational change – knowing if we change the lives of our scholars, we change the lives of their parents and of their future children. I have
attached a letter from our board chair, Jason Andrean, sharing his thoughts about this transition and plans for the immediate future.
Thank you for all your support over these past ten years. I have been blessed. I am honored to know you and eternally grateful.
Yours always in partnership,
Founder and CEO
Achievement Prep Public Charter Schools
Here is the letter dated January 4th from board chair Jason Andrean that went out to the Achievement Prep community:
I want to share some information around an upcoming leadership transition. Shantelle Wright, our Founder and CEO, will be stepping down at the end of the 2017 -18 school year.
My fellow board members and I were truly saddened when Shantelle informed us of her decision. She has been the heart and soul of Achievement Prep since its founding in 2007. The board tried to persuade her to stay, but she has decided it is time to pursue educational equity in a different capacity. We will miss her at Achievement Prep and we admire so greatly the work that she has done to date.
Since founding Achievement Prep in 2007, Shantelle has worked to expand high-quality educational options for children in Washington, DC, with a specific focus on children living east of the Anacostia River. She has helped Achievement Prep grow from 68 scholars to a campus of two schools serving nearly 1,000 students in grades PreK3-8. Through her leadership, Achievement Prep’s middle school has become one of the top-performing public schools in the District of Columbia. With her vision and guidance, we’ve empowered families, built relationships throughout our community, and put the name of Achievement Prep on the map as a public charter school of choice in DC.
Although we are sad to see Shantelle go, we are happy to know that she will remain a strong voice in the DC area for equal access in education. In the meantime, we are focused on finding the right person to fill her shoes at Achievement Prep and build upon our accomplishments to date. With the guidance and support of On-Ramps, a national executive search firm, we will embark on a national search for Shantelle’s successor. We will be seeking an innovative, passionate executive with a shared commitment to our community. The Board hopes to have that person officially enter the role in June 2018. Shantelle has agreed to stay on as an adviser to the CEO until December 2018, in order to ensure a smooth transition.