Meet Our Founder
Ruben Morris was born in Birmingham, AL, to a single-parent home of a first grade teacher. He graduated from Shades Valley High School (Jefferson County Public Schools) in suburban Birmingham, AL. Upon graduating from Morehouse College in 2004 where he studied history, he joined Teach For America, where he taught 5th and 6th grade in Houston, TX, and Atlanta, GA.
After a brief break from the classroom to work in the family real estate development business, Ruben returned to the education reform world as the Director of District Strategy for Teach For America (TFA) Atlanta. After helping to significantly grow the footprint of TFA in Atlanta, he moved to Denver, CO, to pursue a Master’s in Social Change.
While completing his Master’s, Ruben went back to the classroom as a 7th grade reading and history teacher at KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy on Denver’s southwest side. During his time at KIPP, he helped to post the highest combined 7th and 8th grade reading growth in Denver Public Schools and the fourth highest in the state of Colorado in his first year.
After Ruben’s time at KIPP, he moved into school leadership in what was at the time Denver Public School’s only Innovation School Network, the Denver Summit Schools Network. His Innovation School experience began at a turnaround school, Collegiate Prep Academy (CPA). While serving at CPA, he was also awarded a school leadership fellowship with Get Smart Schools (now Catapult Leadership) established to train dynamic leaders on how to design and lead charter schools. He later completed a principal residency within Denver Public Schools at the Denver Center for International Studies at Montbello as the lead administrator for the high school. The very next year he went on to be the school’s first middle school principal.
Ruben later transitioned to Colorado’s only competency-based school district, where he served as a high school administrator at Westminster High School. Upon returning to Birmingham in 2016, he served as the Interim Education Director for the Woodlawn Innovation Network in Birmingham City Schools. He later served as the Executive Director of the New Rising Star Community Support Corporation, where he was instrumental in the planning of Birmingham’s first public charter school. He also was the interim principal of the Middle and High School at Cornerstone Schools of Alabama. Most recently, he led Build UP, the nation’s first and only private school workforce development program that turns inner city students into homeowners.