Kairos Academies St. Louis is starting the school year with fresh leadership and an ambitious plan to transform teaching culture. This realignment coincides with Kairos’ expansion into high school and as schools nationwide grapple with concerns about sustainability and retention in education.
Kairos Academies first opened its doors to sixth-graders in 2019 and, after annual expansions, now serves approximately 500 students in grades 5-9. Faced with hiring dozens of additional teachers in an increasingly competitive teaching landscape, incoming Kairos board President Aaron Jackson, of World Wide Technology, recognized that building a staff culture of inclusion and support would be critical to growth and retention.
“Kairos is one of the most ambitious educational undertakings in St. Louis history and it’s working. Personalized learning, one-one-coaching, and student choice are transforming our students’ lives by teaching them how to learn; how to independently navigate the world around them,” said Jackson. “But as our organization has matured, our board made a conscious decision to find a leader with substantial experience building systems and a culture that supports staff from every walk of life.”
After a nationwide search, Jackson says Kairos found that transformational leadership in Dr. Khalil Graham. Graham, who stepped into the role of CEO beginning in June, hasn’t wasted any time filling his team with top educators from across the country. He attributes his success in attracting talent to his holistic view of school culture.
“Culture is the number one differentiator for where people want to work and grow,” said Graham. “Schools have taken workplace culture for granted. We continually have to ask ourselves how we are pouring into our teachers so they can pour into our students? Our vision for Kairos is to become the top performing public school in the region–we get there through operational excellence and, most critically, by loving and supporting our team members as human beings and not just as employees.”
About Kairos Academies
Kairos Academies are personalized learning public schools in St. Louis where students are empowered to direct their own lives and learning. Each student masters content at their own pace with the help of a personalized coach, while project-based classes challenge students to apply their skills to solve real-world problems. Kairos students practice making decisions about when, where, how, and with whom to learn; leveraging technology; and setting their own goals–just like a modern professional or college student. Kairos Academies' innovative learning model and social-emotional supports have been recognized by Forbes and on NBC’s Today show.
About Aaron Jackson
Aaron Jackson is the incoming Board President of Kairos Academies and a founding member of the school’s board; he serves in a volunteer capacity. Aaron is an Engagement Manager at World Wide Technology and has spent the past 11 years in Management Consulting and Strategic IT Consulting. Aaron has a BA from the University of Illinois, an MBA from Webster University, is a St. Louis Business Journal "30 Under 30" award recipient, and a Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA) "Modern Day Technology Leader" award recipient. Aaron has spent the past 12 years volunteering for organizations empowering STEAM in children. Aaron holds a philosophy that every child deserves the chance to pursue their dreams; that children need access to great educators, modern technology, and involvement in the arts.
About Dr. Khalil Graham
Dr. Khalil Graham is the CEO of Kairos Academies. Khalil is an educational leader bringing over 15 years of educational experience, with a strong track record for directing strategic planning initiatives, developing culture, increasing stakeholder engagement, and building highly productive teams. Khalil previously served as the Executive Director of Liberty STEAM Charter School in Sumter, South Carolina. He also served as the Managing Director of Aspiring Leaders Program in Dallas Texas, the Principal of Friendship Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., and as a Principal at IDEA Public Schools in San Antonio, Texas. Khalil has a BA from the University of Richmond, an MA in Elementary Education and Teaching from Sacred Heart University, and a Doctor of Education in Leadership and Administration from the University of Kentucky.