Keith Leadership Team

Charo Chaney and Ashleigh Van Thiel are the Head of School Co-Leads at Keith. Both individuals are well-qualified, highly experienced and passionate about education, achievement and fun. Together, their vision and leadership enhances our students’ education, positively impacts teacher development and ensures the continued stability of our school.


Charo Chaney is a results-oriented leader in education with a proven track record of success in our region. She is a certified teacher and administrator dedicated to providing leadership, expertise and ongoing support for the teachers, administrators and students she serves. Prior to accepting the Head of School co-lead position, Chaney served as Director of Data, Assessment and Professional Development at School District of Beloit. She’s also held influential positions within RPS 205, Chicago International Charter School (CICS) Patriots and Distinctive Schools, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and accelerating the work of charter schools. She volunteers her time as a Board Member for Burpee Museum of Natural History and for Global Outreach Solutions, a non-profit organization supporting development of the continent Africa through professional development and hands-on learning experiences. Chaney is a lifelong Rockford resident only leaving to attend college at Eastern Illinois University. She and her husband Robert “Bo” are proud parents of sons Robert (16) and Rakim (14).

Van Thiel

Ashleigh Van Thiel is a passionate educator and community advocate with over a decade of dedicated leadership experience within the public and private school sectors. She is a national board-certified teacher and exceptional needs specialist. Prior to accepting the position for Head of School co-lead, she led professional development efforts at RPS 205 as the district’s Director of Talent Development and Peer Assistance and Review Coordinator, and served as a consultant for the Boys and Girls Club of Rockford where she developed a number of successful programs for students and staff. She has also held leadership positions at GiGi’s Playhouse, Bronzeville Lighthouse Charter School and Lighthouse Academies. Her work throughout the community includes volunteering for the Boys and Girls Club SMASH Committee, Club Blue and Winnebago County Medical Society Alliance’s Charisma event. She and her husband, Geoff, are proud parents of two Keith Cougars, Adalie (6) and Parker (4).