Kinnari Patel-Smyth Joins KIPP Foundation as President and New Board Updates

We are thrilled to announce Kinnari Patel-Smyth will be joining the KIPP Foundation leadership team as President and updates to our board.

Dear Team & Family,

Over the last several months, I have been in awe as everyone has rallied together on behalf of our KIPPsters. The planning and equity commitment that has gone into the launch of our school year has been extraordinary, and the sharing of great ideas among KIPP schools across the country is inspiring. On every phone call and video session, I have seen us lean into our mission:

Together with families and communities, we create joyful, academically excellent schools that prepare students with the skills and confidence to pursue the paths they choose—college, career, and beyond—so they can lead fulfilling lives and build a more just world.

Our mission anchors us, and it challenges us to ask ourselves if there is more we can be doing or ways to do the work differently. As we prepare and position ourselves to deliver the very best for our more than 110,000 students, their families, and our 30,000+ alumni, I am excited to share an evolution in KIPP’s national leadership structure that  will further strengthen our bench of next generation leaders.

First, with the support of our board, we are thrilled to announce Kinnari Patel-Smyth will be joining the KIPP Foundation leadership team as President. In this role, she will work directly with network leaders in support of delivering on our commitments to academic excellence, equity, and growth. We launched the search for this role in February 2020, and Kinnari was chosen from an incredibly talented pool of candidates. Kinnari has been an educator for over 20 years, first as a teacher and dean, then as a principal for five years before transitioning into regional leadership. She led a team of principals in New York City before joining the KIPP Team and Family in Atlanta. Kinnari worked as the Chief Academic Officer in 2012 before transitioning to the Executive Director role in 2014. Under her leadership, KIPP Metro Atlanta has grown into a network of 11 schools and more than 5,000 students. Heart and human connection are at the core of Kinnari’s leadership, and I could not be more excited for her impact as we work together. Kinnari will remain at KIPP Metro Atlanta through the end of this school year.


I am excited to announce that as Kinnari prepares to join the KIPP Foundation leadership team, the KIPP Metro Atlanta Board has selected Mini’imah Shaheed as the incoming CEO for KIPP Metro Atlanta. Mini’imah founded the first elementary school and was a school leader in KIPP Metro Atlanta prior to expanding her impact as Chief Schools Officer. Learn more about this exciting announcement.


We will soon launch a search for a senior leader at KIPP Foundation to work closely with me and to focus on deepening engagement with key constituencies, including our national board and partner organizations in the education and justice space.

Second, to the Foundation Board, please see the description of changes the board voted on at its July meeting. In brief, these are:

Katherine Bradley


A member of the Foundation board since 2008 and founder and chair of CityBridge in Washington D.C., Bradley was elected board Chair to succeed longtime chair John Fisher who will become chair of our Development Committee.

Shavar Jeffries

Shavar Jefferies

CEO of Education Reform Now, founding chair of the KIPP Newark board, and until this fall a KIPP Newark parent, Jeffries was elected Vice-Chair.

Jessica Cunningham Akoto
Executive Director representative


CEO of KIPP Philadelphia, Cunningham Akoto was elected as the board’s Executive Director representative.

We have named committee chairs for the first time and expanded the number of standing board committees, adding a formal Equity Committee and a Development & Outreach Committee.

As we head into more months of virtual and hybrid learning, I am humbled by and grateful for all of the ways you are showing up for our students, our families, alums, and one another. Thank you for your commitment to our KIPPsters, for being the constant in a time of extraordinary change and challenges. While we know there is much work ahead, we always rise to the challenge. Always.


Richard Barth, CEO –  KIPP Foundation