We believe every child should have the chance to achieve their full potential

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

As the places where children spend most of their time learning, we want our schools to reflect the world we would like to see; to reduce inequity rather than increase it. In order to do that, we must rethink the way we approach schooling, shifting from a focus on changing student behavior and mindsets to changing systems and adult mindsets.

In the current public education system country-wide, Black, Latinx, and low-income students of all races are two years behind their wealthier, predominantly white peers in reading and math by the end of the fourth grade. By eighth grade, they have slipped three years behind, and by twelfth grade, four years behind.

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.

Without truly effective and transformational principals working to ensure that children growing up in low-income households have access to great schools, we will continue to have the same troubling conversation about education in America. Accelerate Institute believes school leaders who are properly trained—and believe that all students can and must succeed—have the power to transform under-resourced schools...and ultimately children’s lives.

WATCH: 30 Years of Igniting Academic Achievement

WATCH: See how much impact comes from the Accelerate Institute ripple effect

Our Mission

In order to enable every child to reach their full potential, we partner to create high-performing schools by dramatically accelerating student achievement


Driven by the possibility of closing the opportunity gap

Accelerate Institute was founded 30 years ago by Pat Ryan, Jr., after he served as a teacher on the South Side of Chicago. From early on, Mr. Ryan’s conviction has been that all children deserve access to a high-quality 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, demonstrating a results-oriented leadership approach that is deliberate, focused, and replicable.

Our Values


We make decisions in which student achievement and wellbeing are prioritized while honoring individual student experiences.



We do our best work and strive to accomplish our goals.



Our interactions and cooperation produce a combined effect greater than the sum of the separate effects. 


Equity & Inclusion

We value all dimensions of diversity and seek to model the fairness and justice that we want to see in the world. 



The work is hard. In that, we find joy and are thankful to each other and show appreciation for all stakeholders.

Our Commitment to Diversity

Accelerate Institute’s vision is that one day, all children will thrive in schools that graduate them prepared for
the rigors of college/career and a life filled with meaningful work, active citizenship, and personal fulfillment.
We recognize that our vision cannot be fulfilled without actively challenging racism and white supremacy;
our vision cannot be fulfilled without actively defending the lives of BIPOC. Accelerate Institute is committed
to being an anti-racist organization. As such, in 2019, we partnered with SF-CESS to launch internal DEI
programming which includes monthly iGroup meetings with all staff.

Accelerate Institute embraces creating and nurturing a diverse, equitable, and inclusive space for all team
members. 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 who
require any special assistance. Accelerate Institute is proud of our history of diversity and is a strong supporter
of the communities where we work.

Meet the Accelerate Institute Team