Mark Claypool

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, Claypool grew frustrated by decreasing resources for children with learning differences, so in 1999 he founded ChanceLight™ Behavioral Health & Education, formerly known as Educational Services of America (ESA). Under his leadership, the company has grown from a start-up to nearly $130 million in annual revenue, and today, ChanceLight is the nation’s leading provider of behavior therapy and alternative and special education programs for children and young adults.

Mr. Claypool is a judge of the annual Penn Graduate School of Education Business Plan Competition and a frequent speaker about the value of public-private partnerships in education and behavioral learning. He also serves on the advisory board for the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts.

He is president of the board of directors of Book’Em, a Nashville nonprofit that seeks to inspire a love of books and reading in all children, and that collects and distributes books to children and teens in lower-income families who might not otherwise have books of their own. Through Book’Em, Mr. Claypool also serves as a volunteer reader at an urban elementary school.