Dr. Ben Chavis was born into a Lumbee Indian family of sharecroppers and as a youngster attended Indian segregated public schools in Robeson County, North Carolina. An athletic scholarship provided him the opportunity to graduate from Pima College and University of Arizona. He has worked in farming, construction, education, and business. He is now Chief Executive in charge of training and implementing the successful American Indian Public Charter School model in schools. His educational model has been replicated in other schools serving low-income students with the same high academic results. During his leadership at AIPCS, it went from the lowest-scoring middle school in Oakland, California, to one of the top in the United States.
Carey Blakely grew up in Massachusetts and California and majored in English at UC Berkeley. After teaching at American Indian Public Charter School for three years, she helped launch American Indian Public High School (AIPHS) and was appointed the school’s leader. During the time she headed AIPHS, it ranked as the fifth-highest-scoring high school in California. She now lives and writes in the San Diego area.