Press Release: December 3, 2019

Pahara Announces New Class of Leaders for Pahara-NextGen Fellowship

SAN FRANCISCO (December 3, 2019) – The Pahara Institute announced today the Winter 2020 Pahara-NextGen Fellowship cohort. These 23 leaders have been recognized for their outstanding leadership and the role they each play in shaping the future of equity and excellence in education.

“At such a critical moment in this country and in our work, leaders who bring vision, expertise, and an equity lens are essential,” said Kim Smith, CEO of Pahara. “The Fellows in the latest cohort of Pahara-NextGen exemplify these traits and we are excited to welcome them into the Pahara community.”

“Values-centered leadership is needed now more than ever in the education field,” said Idrissa Simmonds-Nastili, Vice President of Pahara. “We are thrilled to welcome another cohort of fierce leaders who lead not only with great skill and vision, but with heart and intentionality.”

Now in its fifth year of operation, the Pahara-NextGen Fellowship is a space of affinity, critical reflection, and professional growth for leaders underrepresented in senior seats. These leaders are strengthening and shaping the future of the educational excellence and equity movement.

Field-wide efforts towards excellence and equity in American education are at a critical juncture. As this work evolves, it is essential to amplify the work of leaders who bring diverse voices and perspectives to the movement, particularly those who represent communities that are currently not well served by our public schools. By identifying underrepresented individuals and allies who are making significant contributions to the field of education, and providing these leaders with high-level leadership development and a supportive network, Pahara-NextGen aims to strengthen the field as a whole.

Pahara is thrilled to welcome this cohort of talented Fellows:

  • Veronica Brooks-Uy, Policy Director, National Association of Charter School Authorizers
  • Viridiana Carrizales, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder, ImmSchools
  • Peng Chao, Executive Director, Charter Schools Office, School District of Philadelphia
  • Janine Chen, Vice President of People Operations, Swing Education
  • Kimberly Díaz, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder, oneTILT
  • Ebonie Durham, Senior Director of Network Operations, Noble Network of Charter Schools
  • Duanecia Evans, Chief of Staff, Teach For America – DC Region
  • Jonathan Garcia, Chief Engagement Officer, Portland Public Schools
  • Larry Irvin, Chief Executive Officer, Brothers Empowered to Teach
  • Derrick Johnson, Director, School Launch & Incubation, CityBridge Education
  • Elizabeth Kesner, People + Operations Leadership Consultant, Umoja Student Development Corporation
  • Ben Lewis, Principal, STRIVE Preparatory Schools
  • Ana Martinez, Chief of Staff, Aspire Public Schools
  • Cristina Muñoz, Senior Consultant, Education First
  • Elliott Nguyen, Vice President of New Region & School Launch, IDEA Public Schools
  • Jorge Ochoa, Senior Director of College Programming, Wonderful College Prep Academy
  • Paul Ramirez, Head of School, Freire Charter School Wilmington
  • Evin Floyd Robinson, President, America On Tech
  • Virgil Sheppard, National School Partnerships Director, City Year, Inc.
  • Taylor Stewart, Senior Director, Regional Impact, Leadership for Educational Equity
  • Karla Vigil, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder, Equity Institute
  • Thomas Witherspoon, Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion, Whitman College
  • Andrea Wolfe, Managing Director of School Improvement, Mass Insight Education and Research

For more detailed biographies of these Pahara-NextGen Fellows, click here.

For more information please contact: Idrissa Simmonds-Nastili, Vice President, Pahara Institute, nextgen@pahara.org.

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 Pahara Institute is guided by the principle that bold improvements are needed to our public schools so that every child in America has access to the tools and skills they need to be successful in life. Pahara’s programs are designed to identify leaders in education innovation, and through a time-tested dialogue approach, strengthen and sustain their efforts to bring about critical improvements to our public schools. For more information, please visit pahara.org.

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