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Kate Ford, area superintendent of Aspire Public Schools, currently leads the “College for Certain” instructional programs and management of eleven schools in the Los Angeles areas of Huntington Park, South Los Angeles, and South Gate. Aspire operates 38 schools throughout the state of California and Tennessee in low income communities of underserved populations. Previously, Kate was a senior program officer for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, managing education grants to charter management organizations and to the state departments of education of California, Tennessee, and New Mexico.
Kate is from Southern California and prior to joining the Gates Foundation, Kate was the executive director/principal of Peabody Charter School in her hometown of Santa Barbara. She spent 20 years as a director/principal in public, charter, and private elementary and secondary schools in Lodi, San Jose, and Phoenix; and she was a middle and high school English and drama teacher for fifteen years before that. In the late 90’s, Kate was regional vice president for Advantage Charter Schools, where she oversaw the management and educational programs of several schools located in Texas and Arizona.
Kate has received two Educator of the Year awards, and she holds a Masters in Educational Leadership from Chapman College, her Clear Administrative Credential from Santa Clara University, and a BA in sociology from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Theatre, travel, sailing, and movies are Kate’s lifelong hobbies. She is a Fellow of the 15th class of the Pahara - Aspen Education Fellowship and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.