James Willcox

President and CEO,
Strategic Growth Partners

James Willcox is currently President and CEO of Strategic Growth Partners, a public benefit corporation with a mission to serve as a strategic growth partner for high-performing charter management organizations. From 2009-2015, he was CEO of Aspire Public Schools, taking over for founder Don Shalvey. James joined the Aspire team as Chief Operating Officer in 2007. During his tenure at Aspire, the organization more than doubled in size from 17 to 37 schools and grew to serve over 13,000 students across California and Memphis, Tennessee. James was also instrumental in spinning out two independent organizations during his tenure as Chief Executive Officer: Schoolzilla and the Alder Graduate School of Education. Prior to joining the management team of Aspire, James was the founding Chief Operating Officer of Education for Change, an organization focused on restructuring underperforming schools as independent charter schools in partnership with the Oakland Unified School District.

Before his direct involvement in school system management, he served as a Principal at New Schools Venture Fund, a philanthropic organization founded to improve the educational opportunities for underserved students across the country. James has also spent time as a nonprofit consultant with The Bridgespan Group and served as a U.S. Army officer and helicopter pilot for over seven years. He holds a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MEd and MBA from Stanford University.