What is the achievement gap, and why does it matter? 

The achievement gap is not about students who are failing; it is about the schools that have failed the students. There are far too many statistics discussing what children cannot do simply because their education has failed them. 

It is time to change the conversation. Change the outcomes. Change how we address education in the U.S. 

Across the nation, there are dramatic examples that show there are significantly better, measurable outcomes that are possible for our children. It all starts with one key factor: transformational school leadership.  

Two out of three 8th-graders can’t read proficiently. 

  • Ryan Fellow students grew faster then 65% of their national peers in reading in 2014-2015.

Nearly two-thirds of eighth-graders scored below proficient in math. (NAEP, 2011).

  • Ryan Fellow students grew faster than 67% of their national peers in math in 2014-2015.

Only one in four high school students graduate ready for college in all four core subjects (English, reading, math and science), which is why a third of students entering college have to take remedial courses. (ACT, 2011)

Only 4% of African American students and 11% of Hispanic students finish high school ready for college. (ACT, 2011)

  • Ryan Fellow 4th 3rd graders are projected to achieve a national rank of 95% in reading by 12th grade.
  • Ryan Fellow 4th graders are projected to achieve a national rank of 99% in math by 12th grade.

Without truly effective and transformational principals working to ensure that children growing up in poverty have access to great schools, we will continue to have the same troubling conversation about education in America.  Accelerate Institute believes that with the right leaders, properly trained have the power to transform urban schools, and ultimately children’s lives. 

 Our commitment to diversity 

Accelerate Institute embraces diversity. It is something we have believed in and supported from day one. Having a diverse organization aligns with our commitment to an equal opportunity workplace. We celebrate equal employment opportunities regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital status, disability, gender identity, Veteran status, or other legally protected status. We are also ready to accommodate physically challenged or special needs individuals that require any special assistance. Accelerate Institute is proud of our history of diversity and is a strong supporter of the community. 

The Accelerate Institute Story

Driven by the possibility of closing the achievement gap

Accelerate Institute was founded over 20 years ago by Pat Ryan, Jr., after he served as an inner-city teacher and gang narcotics officer. From early on, Mr. Ryan’s conviction has been that all children deserve access to an equal education. That became the genesis of Accelerate Institute.

Since then, Accelerate Institute has pioneered a strategic approach to creating transformational school leaders. The proof lies in the results its own charter school (Alain Locke Charter School) posts again and again. The school serves as an incubator for up-and-coming leaders, showing them how the achievement gap can be remedied through a leadership approach that is deliberate, focused, and replicable.

Important Milestones

Board of Directors

Pat Ryan, Jr., Founder, Accelerate Institute
Founder and CEO INCISENT Labs Group 


Larry W. Gies
President and Chief Executive Officer, Madison Industries

Gregory K. Jones
Partner/COO, The Edgewater Funds

Bryant Keil 
Founding Chairman of Potbelly Corporation

Larry Levy 
Founder and Chairman, Levy Restaurants

Muneer Satter 
Founder and Chairman, Satter Investment Management

Joe Scoby 
Head of Quantitative Investments, Magnetar Capital

Brad Sullivan 
Managing Member, Broken Dice Trading and Research

Key Partnerships

Alain Locke Charter School

Alliance College-Ready Public Schools

Big Shoulders Fund (Chicago)

Bright Star Schools

Building Excellent Schools

Catalyst Charter Schools

CICS (Chicago International Charter Schools)

City Leadership (Memphis)

Cristo Rey Network

Gestalt Community Schools

Great Public Schools Now

Grizzlies Prep

High Tech LA

Jubilee Schools (Memphis)


KIPP: Memphis

LEAD Public Schools

Memphis Education Fund

New Memphis Institute

Opportunity 180

Project Renaissance

Schools That Can Milwaukee

Shelby County iZone Schools

Teach For America

Valor Collegiate Academies

Veritas College Prep

And many others!