Braintree Group

Founding Principles

Founded in Strong Performance Character and a Passion for Lifelong Learning

The founding principles of Braintree Group are built from the core life values and lessons learned in business of co-founders Ryan Van Alfen and Jason Kotter. 

Entrepreneurs in their own right, Van Alfen and Kotter have attributed their success to life lessons: hard work, healthy choices, personal integrity, and a competitive drive. In examining their own childhood experiences, they realized many of the most influential lessons they learned were not taught in a typical classroom lesson. Often, they were experiences in an extracurricular or sports setting that required development of leadership skills, grit or social intelligence.

They were fortunate enough to have families and coaches that helped them see the relevancy in these experiences and develop their character. However, character traits are not always taught in the home and very rarely in the classroom.

In their first joint venture, Athlos Academies, Van Alfen and Kotter developed a program they termed Performance Character. This program, which is one of three foundational pillars of their charter school network, intentionally teaches the practice and application of 12 key Performance Character traits that are directly tied to success in life. These traits now serve as the foundation for each of th Braintree Group family of companies.


Rising up to meet challenges and persevering in spite of failure


Focusing our minds and bodies by resisting distractions and actively concentrating


Believing that effort today improves tomorrow


Finding wonder and passion in the experience of learning


Making responsible decisions and motivating others to action


Engaging in life with enthusiasm and excitement each day​


Taking risks and standing up for what is right


Taking action to help ourselves and others without being asked

Social Intelligence

Navigating relationships and interactions with respect and confidence


Allowing accomplishments to speak for themselves


Striving to do the right thing all the time


Thinking “outside the box” and solving problems with innovation

Image of the Braintree group founders standing in front of Athlos school

Additionally, Kotter and Van Alfen strongly believe that to be successful in life and in business, individuals must always embrace personal growth. As lifelong learners themselves, they take this principle into every business venture they take on. It’s this principle that challenges them to constantly assess their decisions and accomplishments and seek ways to improve and learn from every experience.