The Rocketship Story

In 1999, Father Mateo Sheedy, Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, created the Juan Diego Scholarship to Santa Clara University.  He was surprised to discover that of the hundreds of children in his parish, none of them met the basic academic requirements to qualify them to attend their hometown college, or any other top-tier university.

So, Father Mateo Sheedy reached out to his community and started creating a plan to improve high-quality educational options in Washington Guadalupe.

Unfortunately, Father Mateo Sheedy passed away too soon, but his movement lived on. In 2006, his parishioners approached John Danner and Preston Smith—two educational entrepreneurs who were developing a new model for schools in low-income neighborhoods. John Danner, a former software engineer, was interested in the ways technology could help personalize education. Preston Smith was a young principal at a promising elementary school in San Jose who recognized the impact empowered teachers and engaged parents can have on student success.

Rocketship Mateo Sheedy Elementary opened soon after and our students quickly showed strong results in academic achievement. As more families joined the waiting list, we realized the need for even more high quality schools in the San Jose community.

Today, there are twelve Rocketship schools in the Bay Area, CA, two in Nashville, TN, one in Milwaukee, WI and one school in Washington DC. Our students throughout the country are working to eliminate the achievement gap in historically underserved communities.

But we’re not stopping with sixteen schools—parents across the country are clamoring for access to great schools. 

Together, we will eliminate the achievement gap in our lifetime.







Bay Area
Washington DC


Network Demographics

8,000 Students
Grades PreK-5
85% low-income

National Office

350 Twin Dolphin Dr.
Suite 109
Redwood City, CA 94065