Beth Napleton is the Founder of Chicago Collegiate. When she started the school, she brought over 15 years of experience working in education with students in low-income areas. Beth was a 2011 Building Excellent Schools Fellow, which has an acceptance rate of less than 1%, and through that fellowship was able to travel to over 50 high-performing charter schools from across the country to study their best practices and design Chicago Collegiate.
Prior to founding Collegiate, Beth was the Senior Managing Director of the Los Angeles Institute at Teach For America for three years, where she worked with a full-time staff of five to manage over 120 summer staff members who trained over 650 new teachers. Those new teachers taught their students under the direction of experienced teachers in a network of 10 summer schools run entirely by Teach For America. Beth served basically as the superintendent of those summer schools and was responsible for student achievement (which reached record levels with average of 5 points growth on the DRA in four weeks of instruction and 78% of objective mastery reached), corps culture (including the highest level of corps strength seen in all Institute history to date) and staff effectiveness (which increased dramatically during her tenure). This experience also allowed Beth to develop her operational expertise as she managed a $2,500,000 budget and her operations staff assembled and ran a small village for all new teachers and all staff to live in for eight weeks. Her time in this role really allowed Beth to develop and hone her management skills.
Those management skills are built on a strong foundation of instructional expertise, which Beth developed in her previous role as a leader and a teacher at KIPP: Gaston College Preparatory in North Carolina, one of the highest performing schools in the state and in the KIPP network during her tenure. Her time in Gaston started as a teacher, as she joined the school when it was still growing and taught 5th grade writing her first year there to the Pride of 2011. She moved up with her students each year and taught them in 6th grade English, 7th grade English and 8th grade History. She earned exceptional results with her students, including record-setting growth for the school on the state tests and over 17% growth on the Stanford-10 in one year. She also formed very close relationships with her students and remains in good touch with many of them to this day. In her second year teaching, Beth conceptualized and ran No Shortcuts, the remedial reading program for the school, which resulted in over a 400% scale score increase for students in the program. In 2007, Beth was awarded the KIPP Excellence in Teaching Award, annually given to a handful of teachers throughout the KIPP network. At heart, Beth remains a teacher who values strong relationships with parents and students, coupled with high expectations for student’s academic achievement.
While she loved teaching, Beth was able to add to her repertoire and become a teacher of teachers in Gaston as the first-ever Dean of Instruction, where she wrote the entire curriculum for the school in all subjects 5th through 8th grade, led professional development for all teachers and coached the seven rookie teachers on staff. (Currently, those 6 of those 7 “rookies” are in administration or teaching, including a dean of instruction, a founding school leader and a KIPP Excellence in Teaching Award winner!) The experience of being the instructional leader of a high-performing school was invaluable experience in designing Chicago Collegiate and in leading our students to success.
Beth started her career teaching elementary school in New York City with Teach For America. She received a BA in American Studies from Barnard College in New York City and an MS in Teaching from Pace University. She lives in Chicago with her three children.