Gaston Caperton, a former two-term governor of West Virginia, is the eighth president of the College Board, a not-for-profit membership association founded in 1900 that consists of 5,000 of the nation's leading schools, colleges, and universities. Among its best-known programs are the Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) and the SAT®.
Since his appointment in 1999, Caperton has transformed the College Board into a resolutely mission-driven, values-oriented organization that takes bold steps to connect greater numbers of students to college success and opportunity while raising educational standards. In his successful effort to expand equity within programs that foster academic excellence, he has more than doubled the size of the College Board's staff, modernized its management structure, and established collegeboard.com, the nation's predominant comprehensive Web site serving nearly 4 million students a year as they plan their paths to college.
Caperton: I think any way that we can, that we can bring a better opportunity for students… We have in New York now, the College Board has not 14 schools that we run in New York City that are from the 6th grade to the 12th grade, small schools. You see a school within a school, and we’ve had remarkable success in those schools. I think those students are coming out of there, in New York… I mean, in New York City, the graduation rate is a little above 50% [or about] 80%, and we have, about 80% of these students are prepared to go to some sort of post-high school graduation. Valedictorians are going to the very best schools in the country. So, I know what you can do when you put a special effort into a school. We’re only able to do that because we’ve gotten great support from the Gates Foundation and other foundations. So, we’ve had additional resources that we could put in the schools to really bring them up to the level. The students rise to that level when they’re given the challenge.