About

Mark Claypool is a social entrepreneur who believes that all children can advance academically, behaviorally and socially if they are given the right tools in the right environment.

He obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Sociology from Middle Tennessee State University. He has held various positions in both state government and the private sector in mental health, juvenile corrections and education, and has more than two decades of experience in K-12 education, special and alternative education, behavioral health and residential treatment programs.

A social worker and education administrator, Mark grew frustrated by decreasing resources for children with learning differences, so he founded Educational Services of America (ESA) in 1999. Under his leadership, the company has become the nation’s leading provider of behavior therapy and alternative and special education programs for children and young adults, and, in 2015, completed a rebranding to ChanceLight Behavioral Health and Education.

Mark is a judge of the annual Penn Graduate School of Education Business Plan Competition a panelist at the annual BMO Harris Back to School Education Conference. He is a frequent speaker about the value of public-private partnerships in education and behavioral learning, and, in 2015, he co-authored a book exploring the topic: We’re in This Together: Public-Private Partnerships in Special and At-Risk Education.

Mark serves on the advisory board for the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts and is co-writing a book examining the discord between special education practice and the growing discipline of Applied Behavior Analysis for children who have autism spectrum and related disorders.

He volunteers to read to children at a Nashville elementary school and is president of the board of directors of Book’Em, a nonprofit that seeks to inspire a love of books and reading in all children, and collects and distributes books to children and teens in lower-income families who might not otherwise have books of their own.