Home Education Chris Gibbans leaves his charter network STRIVE Prep

Chris Gibbans leaves his charter network STRIVE Prep

Chris Gibbans leaves his charter network STRIVE Prep

Chris Gibbons, CEO of the homegrown network of charter schools in Denver STRIVE Prep, is leaving the organization he founded 16 years ago.

In a letter to the school community, Gibbans said he plans to leave in late August to get a job at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He will lead a national strategy for charter schools with a focus on supporting students with disabilities and schools in Washington, D.C., where the foundation is based. (The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a Chalkbeat supporter. See our list of sponsors here.)

Gibbans called his years at STRIVE Prep “the most proud work I’ve done in my life”.

“I love this community more than any other, and working with our teachers, staff and our entire community over the past 16 years has been one of the most valuable works I have ever done,” he wrote in the letter. “Seeing our scientists grow, succeed and prosper has been a great stimulus over the years and will always be a source of pride for me. Thank you for allowing me to lead. ”

Chris Gibbans

Photo courtesy of STRIVE Prep

Gibbons ’departure comes at a difficult time for Denver’s charter schools. Denver’s public schools were once considered a national model of education reform and worked closely with state-funded but independently managed charter schools. But the sector came under pressure as the declining number of entrants and the new school board, backed by the teachers ’union, are wary of statutes, have made it difficult to open new schools and maintain existing ones.

In 2019, LOSSES closed the high school that divided the campus with North High School, one of a number of Denver charter schools that have voluntarily closed in recent years. Three other STRIVE schools have lost significant revenue over the past five years.

Gibbans acknowledged the changes in his letter, citing “much more complex policies and declining entrants across the county.” This puts STRIVE Prep in a transitional moment that requires new ideas and strategies, he said.

STRIVE Prep opened its first charter school, then known as West Denver Prep, in 2006. The home-grown network now has 10 schools – one primary, seven secondary and two secondary – serving more than 3,300 students, the vast majority of whom work in Spanish-speaking families.

Under the leadership of Gibbons STRIVE Prep was Fr. a pioneer in the Denver charter sector to serve students with disabilitiesincluding those with significant needs, and Gibbons advocated for charter schools create inclusive learning conditions. STRIVE Preparatory Schools serve more students with special education plans than the district average.

Gibbans said the charter network’s board of trustees has set up a succession committee and will seek feedback from the community on the qualities of the next leader, as well as the vision of families and teachers of the network to appoint the next leader by Aug. 1.

Head of the Bureau Eric Meltzer covers education policy and policies and oversees education coverage at Chalkbeat Colorado. Contact Erica at emeltzer@chalkbeat.org.

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