The Story of Athlos

Co-founders Ryan Van Alfen and Jason Kotter were introduced to charter schools almost serendipitously. While helping a charter school obtain real estate, they became impressed by the idea of parental choice in education, yet realized that obtaining facilities was a major challenge for these organizations.

Recognizing a need, they began developing outstanding campuses to match each charter schools’ distinctive qualities. The more charter operators they met, the more they were intrigued by their offerings—but began sensing there were gaps to a child’s lifelong development that went beyond academic offerings.

Entrepreneurs in their own right, the two founders had always chalked up their success to life lessons: hard work, healthy choices, personal integrity, and a competitive drive.

As they looked to their own days in school, they credited great teachers and coaches to be sure, but they also recognized the opportunities for developing character that often occurred outside typical classroom settings. Their charter school partners also made them keenly aware of the decline of physical activity among today’s students and why schools are hard-pressed to improve this.

A concept began to take shape. Consulting with education experts, fitness specialists, and social science thought leaders, a new charter school model was born. Athlos, derived from the Greek word for “feat” or “contest,” revived the classical ideal of balance—balance of mind, body, and character.

Today, Athlos Academies presents families with choices and schools with the education service supports needed to succeed. We purposefully incorporate life application skills into our curricula. By offering students, parents, and educators both the tools and the environment to excel, we aim to help every child perform better and change education for the better.