As deputy director for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s U.S. Programs Education initiative, Don Shalvey leads grantmaking for states, districts, and networks throughout the United States. Prior to joining the foundation, he was founder and CEO of Aspire Public Schools and has spent the past 40 years in public education where he is widely recognized as a leader in public school reform and the charter school movement.
In 1992, Dr. Shalvey served as the superintendent of the San Carlos School District, where he sponsored California’s first charter school. The San Carlos Charter Learning Center became a California Distinguished School and has since served as a model for many other charter schools. In 1998, he and entrepreneur Reed Hastings, cofounded Californians for Public School Excellence, a grassroots organization that led to the passage of the Charter Schools Act of 1998, lifting the cap on the number of charter schools in the state.
Dr. Shalvey is a frequent advisor to policymakers, practitioners, and authorizers of charter schools across the nation. He currently serves as chair of the California Commission for Special Education; he is also a board member for a number of nonprofit organizations including: Jobs for the Future (JFF), Ed Source, and the Stanford University School of Education. His work has been recognized in a variety of national publications and television/radio shows including: The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Newsweek, and NPR’s Charlie Rose Show. In 2002, the prestigious Ashoka Foundation recognized him as a Fellow for his outstanding work as a social entrepreneur. More recently, he was given the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award for advancing the quality of life for Californians. In June 2009, he was elected to the Charter School Hall of Fame by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
Dr. Shalvey earned a Doctorate of Education in educational leadership/administration from the University of Southern California, a Master’s of education in counseling and guidance from Gonzaga University, and a B.A. from LaSalle College.