Press Release: March 6th, 2014

Pahara Institute Announces Inaugural Class of NextGen Network Program

SAN FRANCISCO (March 6, 2014) – The Pahara Institute announced today the first cohort of leaders for its NextGen Network program. These 25 leaders have been selected to take part in a new initiative by Pahara that will develop exceptional mid-career professionals who can amplify the voices of underrepresented communities and others who are currently not well served by our public schools.

“Support of outstanding leaders is crucial in our efforts to achieve excellence and equity for all our public school students and to create the high quality learning environments our communities need,” said Kim Smith, Pahara Institute Founder and CEO. “Our first NextGen Network cohort, a group of accomplished leaders from across the country, exemplifies the diverse and exceptional leadership talent that our movement needs for the future and we are humbled to be able to support them.”

The NextGen Network is an 18-month program that identifies and develops diverse cohorts of mid-career leaders in the educational excellence and equity movement, providing them with high-level leadership development and networking opportunities, and strengthening their efforts within the movement to bridge traditional divides and engage different perspectives. The program will provide these leaders with the opportunity to step back from their daily work to reflect with their peers on the important ways that they can strengthen and shape the future of the educational excellence and equity movement. Participants will learn from, support, and challenge each other as they enhance their own leadership skills and continue to strive toward creating high quality education opportunities for every child in America.

The Spring 2014 NextGen Network leaders are:

  • Russell Altenburg, Associate Director, The Eli & Edythe Broad Foundation
  • Celia Alvarado, Acting Executive Director – Western Region, Education Pioneers
  • Amber Banks, Practice Associate, The Education Trust-West
  • Offiong Bassey, Director of the Bailey-Sullivan Leadership Institute, Black Alliance for Education Options
  • Sharhonda  Bossier, Deputy Director, Families for Excellent Schools
  • Emmile Brack, Vice President of Operations, Aspire Public Schools
  • Christina Braganza, Senior Director of Special Services, Achievement First
  • Alison Brown, Senior Director of History Achievement, Achievement First
  • Christine DeLeon, Director of Blended Learning, Denver Public Schools
  • Nella Garcia Urban, Vice President of Talent, YES Prep Public Schools
  • Omar Garriot, Senior Product Marketing Manager, LinkedIn
  • Ravi Gupta, Founder and Executive Director, Nashville Prep
  • Orville Jackson, Senior Research Analyst, The Education Trust-West
  • Laura Jiménez, Special Assistant, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, US Department of Education
  • Dominique Lee, Founder and Executive Director, BRICK Academy
  • Robert Lesser, Founder and Executive Director, Mott Hall Charter School
  • R.D. Leyva, Manager of Alumni Diversity Initiatives, Teach For America
  • Claudia Luján, Senior Policy Analyst, Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education, District of Columbia
  • Michael Montoya, Director of Alumni & Network Services, The Broad Center
  • Kimberly Osagie, Director of NYC Teaching Fellows Program & Assistant Professor of Practice, Relay Graduate School of Education
  • Stacey Shells, Managing Director, Victory Education Partners
  • Esther Tricoche, Education Program Manager, Laura & John Arnold Foundation
  • Aaron Walker, Founder and CEO, Camelback Ventures
  • Kareem Weaver, Executive Director, New Leaders, Bay Area
  • Erica Williamson, Regional Site Director, All Our Kin

To access bios and photos of these NextGen Network leaders, 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

Comments are closed.