Van Schoales joined Keystone Policy Center in as senior policy director in 2021. He is one of the two Founding Partners of Education Civil Rights Now and the former President of A+ Colorado, a research and advocacy organization founded by Senator Michael Bennet and Mayor Federico Pena designed to improve public education in Colorado. Van has a 33-year experience leading education improvement efforts from the classroom to the statehouse.
Van is an award winning public high school science teacher (National Association of Geoscience Teachers and Stanford University) along with having been a successful school leader in independent, public district and public charter schools for the first half of his career. He was the founding principal of the first Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound Charter, The Odyssey School, the first ELOB charter in the nation. He helped organize a variety of successful efforts to improve public schools and school systems, overseeing more than fifty reports on public education improvement. Van is a consultant and regular speaker on education topics. He is often quoted in education news stories from The Denver Post, NBC News, ABC News, National Public Radio, Chalkbeat, The New York Times, Education Week, Univision and Fox News. Van volunteers on a number of nonprofit boards including serving as a Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for the City of Denver. He also has a great love for the arts and serves as a Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for the City of Denver as well as a number of other and nonprofit boards.
Van earned a B.S. from the University of California – Santa Cruz (Earth Sciences), M.S. from Brown University (Geological Sciences), M.A. from San Francisco State University (Education Administration), and an M.A. from Stanford University (Education).