Inaugural Head of School Mr. Sean Aiken is a passionate and innovative teacher and a gifted school manager. He has distinguished himself in our network of schools as a colleague, a Head of School and a curricular manager who builds joyful and challenging student learning communities by forging an intellectually vibrant and caring culture.
Raised in Arizona by two accomplished educators, Mr. Aiken distinguished himself as an exceptionally curious and well-rounded student from an early age—he excelled in his science/math magnet program, ranked at the top in the state in academic competitions, was an avid athlete, an accomplished musician, and a recipient of the highly prestigious Flinn Scholarship, making him one of 20 Arizona students hand-picked and awarded a full merit scholarship to any Arizona school, plus money to travel the world.
Though Mr. Aiken entered the University of Arizona as a committed Biochemistry major determined to make a career in science, he soon found himself mesmerized in English and philosophy lecture halls, and realized quickly that the questions raised in those classes were ones he wanted to explore for himself. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with his Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and minor in English.
It was during his Master's program while student teaching at-risk youth that Mr. Aiken first discovered BASIS Curriculum Schools. What he loves about BASIS.ed schools is that they are places where "students do vector calculus, but also read Kant. This perspective—that you can be inspired by many different ways of thinking and investigation—is really important to instill in students."
Mr. Aiken was a crucial member of the leadership team that built BASIS Oro Valley which was ranked, within five short years by the Washington Post, the fourth most challenging high school in America. As an English teacher, soccer coach, the developer of the first 7th grade Logic curriculum, the school's founding college counselor and finally the Head of School, his influence on the school community was profound.
In 2013, Mr. Aiken relocated to Washington D.C. where, as Head of School, he led BASIS DC and its faculty to achieve Tier 1 status and recognition as the #2 charter school in the District in the school's second year of operation.