In North Carolina, charter schools that serve whites and non-economically disadvantaged students have doubled in the last fourteen years, whereas schools that serve economically disadvantaged students have closed at higher rates (Ladd, Clotfelter, & Holbein, 2015). Stories of school leadership that successfully promotes equity and excellence in schools that serve predominantly economically disadvantaged students of color guide school leaders serving similar communities. Drawing from interviews, observations, and document analysis, this portraiture study examines the theoretical groundings, leadership beliefs, and school-wide practices of charter school founders who successfully serve economically disadvantaged students of color in North Carolina. School founders who lead for equity and excellence communicate and invest their leadership teams and stakeholders in the school’s mission; selectively hire staff members who align with the school’s mission, vision and values; and build their staff members’ leadership capacity. Most importantly, they cultivate awareness of their positionality and racial identity; learn the history of racism and its impact on education in their community; and create systems to operationalize their leadership vision into equitable practice. Findings from this study may be of interest to organizations selecting charter school founders or principals; school district leaders, particularly those who supervise principals; or school leadership preparation programs.