Press Release: December 19, 2013

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

SAN FRANCISCO (December 19, 2013) – The Pahara Institute, together with the Aspen Institute, announced today the selection of the Spring 2014 cohort of the highly selective Pahara-Aspen Education Fellows Program. These 24 innovative leaders join the community of leaders who have previously participated in the fellowship, which is designed to support diverse and innovative leaders who are reimagining America’s public schools.

“Support of exceptional leaders is crucial in our efforts to achieve excellence and equity for all our public school students and to create the high quality learning opportunities our communities need,” said Kim Smith, Pahara Institute Founder and CEO. “This new cohort of Pahara-Aspen Fellows exemplifies this kind of bold, innovative leadership talent, and we are humbled to be able to support them.”

The Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship is a two-year, cohort-based program that identifies innovative leaders in the educational excellence and 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 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 1700 Fellows from 46 countries that are collectively making tremendous positive change in the world.

The Spring 2014 Pahara-Aspen Education Fellows are:

  • Marcia Aaron, Executive Director, KIPP LA Schools
  • Lars Beck, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Scholar Academies
  • Jason Bernal, President and Chief Executive Officer, YES Prep Public Schools
  • Donnell Butler, Senior Associate Dean for Planning & Analysis of Student Outcomes, Franklin & Marshall College
  • Kenneth L. Campbell, President, Black Alliance for Educational Options
  • Karen Cator, President and Chief Executive Officer, Digital Promise
  • Rick Cruz, Former Chief Executive Officer, DC Prep
  • Jacqueline Elliot, President and Chief Executive Officer, PUC National & Co-Founder, Partnerships to Uplift Communities Schools
  • Frederick J. Ferrer, Chief Executive Officer, The Health Trust
  • Libia Gil, Assistant Deputy Secretary and Director, Office of English Language Acquisition
  • Keri Hoyt, Chief Operating Officer, Success Academy Charter Schools
  • Julie Jackson, Managing Director, Uncommon Schools
  • Carolyn Laub, Founder and Executive Director, Gay-Straight Alliance Network
  • Benjamin Marcovitz, Founder, Sci Academy & Chief Executive Officer, Collegiate Academies
  • Nina S. Rees, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
  • Jeremy Resnick, Executive Director, Propel Schools Foundation & Founder, Propel Schools
  • Juan Salgado, President and Chief Executive Officer, Instituto del Progreso Latino
  • Joe Scantlebury, Senior Program Officer, US Program Policy & Advocacy, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Mora Segal, Chief Executive Officer, The Achievement Network
  • Abigail Smith, Deputy Mayor for Education, District of Columbia
  • Andrea Stouder Pursley, Executive Vice President of Alumni Affairs, Teach for America
  • Susan Valverde, Franchisee and Executive Director, Sylvan Learning in Rio Grande Valley, Texas
  • Dan Varner, Chief Executive Officer, Excellent Schools Detroit
  • Rob Waldron, Chief Executive Officer, Curriculum Associates

“The Aspen Global Leadership Network is comprised of entrepreneurial change makers disrupting the status quo to improve the lives of others. We believe that Pahara-Aspen Fellows are doing just that in public education.  We can’t afford to fail in this endeavor. Our children and our collective future depend on it,” said Peter Reiling, Executive Vice President, Leadership and Seminar Programs at the Aspen Institute. “The Aspen Institute is pleased to continue this partnership with Pahara, and welcomes this outstanding cohort of leaders into the Aspen Global Leadership Network.” 

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 1,700 “Fellows” from 46 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.



Comments are closed.