Press Release: August 6, 2013

Pahara and Aspen Institutes Announce New Class of Exceptional Leaders for Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship

SAN FRANCISCO (August 6, 2013) The Pahara Institute, together with the Aspen Institute, announced today the selection of the Fall 2013 cohort of the highly selective Pahara-Aspen Education Fellows Program. These 24 innovative leaders join the more than 150 leaders who have previously participated in the fellowship, which is designed to support diverse, exceptional leaders who are reimagining America’s public schools.

“As we strive to provide excellence and equity for all our public school students, we must support bold innovative leaders, who can create the high quality learning opportunities our communities need,” said Kim Smith, Pahara Institute Founder and CEO. “This group of Pahara-Aspen Fellows represents exactly this kind of exceptional leadership talent, and we are privileged to be able to support them.”

The Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship (formerly the Aspen-New Schools Fellowship) is a two-year, cohort-based program that identifies innovative leaders in the educational equity movement, facilitates their dynamic growth, and strengthens their collective efforts to dramatically improve public schools for low-income children and communities. The Fellowship provides these exceptional leaders with the unusual opportunity to step back from their demanding daily work to reflect with peers on their collective and individual impact as leaders and change agents. Fellows challenge each other to think beyond traditional silos and sector boundaries to develop strategies that enhance their effectiveness as leaders, address leadership challenges in public education, and accelerate the improvements needed to provide high quality learning opportunities for all of our nation’s children. 

The Fellowship is a partnership between the Pahara and Aspen Institutes. The Aspen Institute has created a leadership development model through its renowned Henry Crown Fellowship program aimed at inspiring Fellows to make a lasting difference in their spheres of influence, through the application of effective and enlightened leadership. Pahara-Aspen Fellows become part of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, which currently includes 1600 Fellows from 45 countries that are collectively making tremendous positive change in the world. 

The Fall 2013 Pahara-Aspen Education Fellows are: 

  • Shawn Arévalo McCollough, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence
  • Fatimah Burnam-Watkins, Executive Director, Teach For America – New Jersey
  • Myrna Castrejon, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, California Charter Schools Association
  • Allison Fansler, President & Chief Operating Officer, KIPP DC
  • JoAnn Gama, Co-Founder and Chief of Schools, IDEA Public Schools
  • Sajan George, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Matchbook LearningCarolyn Hack, Chief Operating & Financial Officer, Uncommon Schools
  • Kathy Hamel, Partner, Charter School Growth Fund
  • Matt Hammer, Founding Executive Director, Innovate Public Schools
  • Garth Harries, Superintendent, New Haven Connecticut, Public School System
  • Tomeka Hart, Vice-President, African-American Community Partnerships, Teach For America
  • Henry Hipps, Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Ed Kirby, Deputy Director, K-12 Education Reform, Walton Family Foundation
  • Stig Leschly, Chief Executive Officer, Match Education
  • Mark Murphy, Secretary of Education, Delaware Department of Education
  • Ellen Moir, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, New Teacher Center
  • Dana Peterson, Deputy Superintendent of External Affairs, Recovery School District
  • Marcus Robinson, Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer, EdPower
  • Yvette Sanchez Fuentes
  • Dan Scoggin, Chief Executive Officer, Great Hearts Academies
  • Eileen B. Sigmund, President and Chief Executive Officer, Arizona Charter Schools Association 
  • Kim Syman, Managing Partner, New Profit
  • Eric Thomas, Assistant Superintendent, Noble Network of Charter Schools
  • David Wick, Chief Development Officer, KIPP Foundation

“It sounds almost cliché, but leadership can be lonely — especially when you are trying to create ambitious, systemic change. Giving leaders a community from which they can draw inspiration and support is invaluable. And that is precisely what this Fellowship is doing,” said Peter Reiling, Executive Vice President, Leadership and Seminar Programs at the Aspen Institute.  “The Aspen Institute is honored to continue its partnership with Pahara and to welcome this latest cohort of leaders into the Aspen Global Leadership Network where they join a powerful community of leaders applying their entrepreneurial energies to create a better world.”

To access bios and photos of the Pahara-Aspen Fellows, click here.

For More Information:
Saamra Mekuria-Grillo, Deputy Director, Pahara Institute (510) 984-2513, 

About the Pahara Institute

The Pahara Institute is a national nonprofit organization focused on supporting the sustainability, diversity, and quality of leadership for the educational excellence and equity movement.  The guiding principle of the Pahara Institute is that bold improvements are needed to our public schools so that every child in America has access to the tools and skills he or she needs to be successful in life. Pahara’s programs, including the Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship, are designed to identify seasoned leaders in education reform, and through a time-tested dialogue approach, strengthen and sustain their efforts to bring about transformational improvements to our public schools. Pahara’s work strives to overcome inequalities in our society by accelerating innovations and reforms that increase access to high-quality education for all children, particularly those in low-income and underserved communities. For more information, please visit

About the Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also maintains offices in New York City and has an international network of partners.

About the Aspen Global Leadership Network

The Aspen Global Leadership Network is a growing, worldwide community of entrepreneurial leaders from business, government and the nonprofit sector — currently, nearly 1,600 “Fellows” from 45 countries — who share a commitment to enlightened leadership and to using their extraordinary creativity, energy and resources to tackle the foremost societal challenges of our times. All share the common experience of participating in the Henry Crown Fellowship or one of the dozen Aspen Institute leadership initiatives it has inspired in the United States, Africa, Central America, India, the Middle East and China.



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