Our Team

Kim Smith
Founder and Chief Executive Officer

kim-150x180Kim Smith is the founder and chief executive officer of the Pahara Institute. She is widely recognized as an innovative and entrepreneurial leader in education, and was featured in Newsweek’s report on the “Women of  the 21st Century” as “the kind of woman who will shape America’s new century.” Immediately prior to the Pahara Institute, Kim was co-founder of Bellwether Education Partners, a nonprofit organization working to improve educational outcomes for low-income students. Earlier in her career she served as a founding team member at Teach For America, created and led an AmeriCorps program for community-based leaders in education, managed a business start-up and completed a brief stint in early online learning at Silicon Graphics. After completing her MBA at Stanford University, she co-founded and led NewSchools Venture Fund, a philanthropy focused on transforming public education through social entrepreneurship, where she helped to catalyze a new, bipartisan, cross-sector community of entrepreneurial change agents for public education. Kim has helped to incubate numerous education and social change organizations and has served on a range of boards. She has also authored or co-authored a number of publications about innovation and social entrepreneurial change in education. She is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.

Adria Goodson
Chief Program Officer

Adria GoodsonAdria Goodson is the chief program officer of the Pahara Institute. Adria also serves on the faculty of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education teaching personal mastery courses. She has spent over 15 years coaching and supporting the learning and development of national non-profit and education leaders. From 2005 to 2015, she was the founding director of Hunt Alternatives’ Prime Movers fellowship program, a program that supports social movement leaders in the United States. Adria earned her PhD from Boston College in sociology, specializing in social movement theory, public policy, and philanthropy. She has authored several pieces on movement leadership and has been a featured speaker at TedXBeaconStreet.

Jen Brandon
Interim Chief Operating Officer

Jennifer Brandon is the interim Chief Operating Officer at the Pahara Institute. Prior to joining Pahara, Jen led operations as part of the leadership team at the New School of San Francisco a diverse by design public school focused on inquiry, equity and personalized learning. She also led program operations, system design and event execution for the launch year of Transcend Education’s Collaborative, a cohort of education leaders designing schools with a focus on design thinking, equity, learning science and exposure to diverse learning environments. Before that she worked on the national alumni team at Teach For America leading strategy and operations work and serving as chief of staff during a time when the alumni network grew from 17K alumni to over 50K. Earlier in her career, she worked with state and district clients to design and launch innovative products at McGraw-Hill Education and ran a network of after school learning centers for kids throughout California. Jen graduated from UCLA and received her MBA from Harvard Business School. She currently lives in San Francisco.

Idrissa Simmonds-Nastili
Vice President of Pahara-NextGen Fellowship

Idrissa Simmonds Idrissa Simmonds-Nastili is the vice president of the NextGen Fellowship at the Pahara Institute. Prior to Pahara, she served as the senior associate director of organizational learning for Uncommon Schools, where she led organizational-wide diversity initiatives and directed the Summer Teaching Fellowship, a program geared towards increasing the diversity of Uncommon’s teaching staffs. During her time with Uncommon, she led the growth of the Summer Teaching Fellowship from ten fellows to one hundred. As a 2009 Education Pioneers fellow, Idrissa worked with the New York Department of Education’s Office of Academic Intervention Services to produce a college readiness resource guide. She was actively involved with New York University’s Center for Multicultural Education and Programming, serving as an Instructor for the Center’s Intergroup Dialogue Program, a Fellow in the Center’s ISM Project, and a Mentor in the Focus Mentorship Program. She received a 2009 NIA Award from the Center for her work on campus diversity and social justice. Prior to graduate school, Idrissa managed the health education program for the Ghana Cooperative Credit Union’s Association in Accra, Ghana. She taught adult ESL in Vancouver, Canada. Idrissa holds a BA in English Literature and International Relations from the University of British Columbia, and an MA in Educational Leadership, Politics, and Advocacy from New York University.

Brandon Malmberg
Director of Selection

Malmberg Headshot_swc2011Brandon Malmberg is the director of selection at the Pahara Institute. Prior to joining the Pahara Institute Brandon was executive director of the Western Region for Education Pioneers. In this role he led a team that recruited diverse groups of leaders, placed them into high-impact professional roles within education organizations and provided programming to accelerate their success. Brandon established Education Pioneers’ presence in Los Angeles and rapidly expanded operations by creating new partnerships and programs across the Western US. Brandon began his career working directly with young people with emotional and behavioral challenges and held management roles in school-based, residential and summer programs serving youth. He has also served as an executive coach to leaders from Head Start and Health Care organizations on issues related to strategic planning and general management. Brandon holds an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in Peace Studies from Colgate University. Brandon grew up in Minnesota where he attended his local rural public school. He now lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons.

Traci Dove
Director of Selection

Headshot 030115Traci Dove is the director of selection at the Pahara Institute. Traci plays a significant role in supporting Pahara’s efforts to build outstanding cohorts of leaders for our programs. Previously, Traci spent seven years with the Talent Services practice of Bellwether Education Partners, where she provided strategic and tactical support on numerous chief-level, executive searches for nonprofit organizations in the education reform community. Prior to Bellwether, Traci was engaged as a recruiter in the education practices of A.T. Kearney Executive Search and Storbeck Pimentel and Associates, executing searches for senior administrators at liberal arts colleges and research universities nationwide. Earlier in her career, she was employed as an analyst in the Regulatory Advisory Practice at KPMG, LLP. Traci attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., and currently resides in Jacksonville, Florida, with two teenagers and dog.

Maggie Scott-Weathers
Associate Director of Program Strategy and Evaluation

Maggie Scott-WeathersMaggie Scott-Weathers is the associate director of program strategy and evaluation at the Pahara Institute. Before joining Pahara, Maggie worked at the Democratic National Committee for two federal election cycles. As a Senior Paralegal and Information Specialist in the Voter Protection Department, Maggie worked to ensure that every eligible voter was able to successfully cast a ballot and have that ballot counted. Her work focused on voter education efforts and tracking laws that impacted voter access. Maggie graduated from Bryn Mawr College with a bachelor’s degree in English, and spent several years after college working in public libraries, first as a young adult librarian and then as a public law librarian, in Richmond, Virginia. A native of northwestern Pennsylvania, Maggie currently lives in Napa, CA.

Andrea Lazar
Senior Manager of Development

Andrea Lazar is the senior manager of development at the Pahara Institute. Andrea has a broad range of experience in fundraising and entrepreneurship. She comes to Pahara from Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast where she built a successful foundation giving program across two states; she also has significant experience in nonprofit arts management. Andrea has founded and operated several businesses as well as a small business consulting practice, and she continues to teach a graduate-level course on entrepreneurship for creatives at the University of Houston. Andrea brings her affinity for strategic planning and project management, strong writing skills, entrepreneurial spirit, and commitment to equity to her role at Pahara. Andrea holds an MBA and an MA in nonprofit arts management from Southern Methodist University, and a BA from the Plan II program at The University of Texas at Austin. Andrea holds down the Third Coast for Pahara with her home base in Houston, TX.

Sikander Iqbal
Data Systems Specialist

Sik Head ShotSikander Iqbal is the data systems specialist at the Pahara Institute. Prior to joining the Pahara Institute, he served as the management specialist at The National Institute of Criminal Justice Reform. Through that role he served as the deputy director for Community & Youth Outreach, a non-profit in Oakland focused on reducing violence and recidivism through empowering formerly incarcerated individuals. As Deputy Director, he led organizational strategy, daily operations, data & evaluation, and program management. This work came after dedicating seven years at Youth UpRising, a renowned youth development center. While at Youth UpRising, he led the PeaceMaking Program which provided intensive street outreach, conflict mediation, and case management with high-risk residents of East Oakland. He also created and led their youth leadership development & civic engagement model before becoming Chief of Staff. Over the past two years, Sikander has also served as a consultant for Bay Area Health Inequities Initiative, The Justice Collective, and The Brown Boi Project, delivering trainings on bystander awareness, racial equity & inclusion, implicit bias, and gender/sexuality. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from UCLA, where he double majored in Psychology and Political Science. Sikander grew up in Vallejo, CA, and now lives in Oakland, CA with his wife and two daughters.

Morgan Thrower
Program Manager, Pahara-Aspen Fellowship

Morgan ThrowerMorgan Thrower is the program manager for the Pahara-Aspen Fellowship at the Pahara Institute. Before joining Pahara, Morgan worked at the Pepperdine University School of Law as the director of events and assistant director of alumni affairs. At Pepperdine, she was responsible for the logistical development and execution of events produced by the law school dean, faculty, and programs.  Her work in alumni affairs focused on fostering alumni engagement through events and professional development programs. Morgan is a graduate of Stanford University where she majored in Communication and minored in Creative Writing. Originally from Southern California, Morgan currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Melinda Ellis
Manager of Operations

Melinda EllisMelinda Ellis is manager of operations at the Pahara Institute. Prior to joining Pahara she worked at First Christian School, a private preschool through 8th grade school in the Napa Valley. In her position as Finance Manager, she implemented and trained faculty on the school-wide classroom management system, initiated and executed the sales and data tracking system for the gift card fundraising program and managed the financial aid program. Melinda was also a member of the Administrative Team and served as President and Treasurer of the Parent Faculty Committee. Melinda graduated from Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri where she majored in Accounting and minored in Business Management. Melinda grew up in Kansas and currently resides with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Pricilla Perez
Program Manager, Selection

Pricilla PerezPricilla Perez is the program manager for selection at the Pahara Institute. Before joining Pahara, Pricilla worked for Staples as an operations manager and later as a print account manager, serving the Napa and Sonoma Valley areas. In this role, she was responsible for portfolio management and new business development, along with maintaining & growing established accounts. Prior to Staples, Pricilla was a sales and marketing coordinator for West-Com Nurse Call Systems, Inc., directly supporting the Director of Sales & Marketing and the Regional Management team. Pricilla attended California State University, Sacramento, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Human Resources & Organizational Behavior. She currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Kate Graham
Manager of Alumni Relations

Kate Graham Kate Graham is the manager of alumni relations at the Pahara Institute. Before joining Pahara, Kate worked as the global leadership program associate for blueEnergy, a San Francisco based non-profit organization connecting isolated communities along the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua to energy, clean water and sanitation solutions. While there, Kate managed the outreach, recruitment and interview process for blueEnergy’s Global Leadership Program. She also worked closely with the Executive Director on fundraising and development campaigns. Prior to moving to California, Kate lived in Atlanta, Georgia where she served as a team leader for Hands on Atlanta Schools-Based AmeriCorps program. She also held roles as senior special events manager for Special Olympics Georgia and marketing team leader for Whole Foods Market. Kate earned her MA in Organizational Management and Development from Fielding Graduate University and bachelor’s degree in English from Guilford College. Kate grew up in rural Western Maine and currently resides in Napa, California with her husband and daughter.

Jenny Brooks
Program Coordinator, NextGen Fellowship

Jenny Brooks Jenny Brooks is the program coordinator for the NextGen Fellowship at the Pahara Institute. Before joining Pahara, Jenny worked for the County of Napa assisting the County’s Auditor-Controller. Prior to working for the County, Jenny was the Office Manager at Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance, a non-profit organization providing one-on-one mentorship opportunities for underprivileged and socio-economic disadvantaged youth in grades k-12. As Office Manager, Jenny directly supported the Executive Director and Program Director with executing fundraising and program events, in addition to being responsible for tracking newly trained mentors, recording all donations, and completing daily clerical and budgeting tasks. Jenny attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Comparative Ethnic Studies and minored in Spanish. During her time in San Luis Obispo, Jenny completed an internship with the local Independent Living Program where she created a Cultural Awareness Training Guide for the program’s employees and consultants. Jenny grew up in Sonoma, CA, returned to the San Francisco Bay Area three years ago, and currently resides in Napa, CA.

Amber Shields
Selection Coordinator

Amber ShieldsAmber is the selection coordinator at the Pahara Institute. Prior to joining Pahara, Amber worked as an educator and program coordinator in a diverse range of institutions; she worked as an educator at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York, facilitated the implementation of and taught for a new Masters in Social Entrepreneurship at the Deshpande Foundation in India, and helped develop and teach a Student Skills Support program in the Film Department at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. Amber holds a BA in Latin American Studies from Carleton College and an MPhil in Screen Media and Cultures from the University of Cambridge. She grew up in Novato, CA and now lives in Santa Rosa, CA. Outside of Pahara she enjoys working in her community as a mentor for 10,000 Degrees and as a teacher in the Prison University Project.

Annalise Windsor
External Relations Coordinator

Annalise is the external relations coordinator at the Pahara Institute. Prior to joining Pahara, Annalise worked as the communications specialist at the Neighborhood House of Milwaukee, a community center in Milwaukee, WI serving urban youth, families, and newly-settled refugees. In this role, she was responsible for the development and implementation of the organization’s communications strategy, focusing on content development for print and online communications. Prior to Neighborhood House, Annalise worked as the development and communications associate at FamilyAid Boston, directly supporting the Director of Development and Communications Specialist on fundraising and development campaigns. Annalise graduated from Georgetown University where she double-majored in Psychology and Linguistics. She was born and raised in Wisconsin, and currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and dog, Millie.

Marisela Alvarez
Selection Coordinator

Marisela Alvarez is the selection coordinator at the Pahara Institute. Before joining the Pahara Institute, Marisela worked for social media tech companies, moderating online user content. Prior to that, she worked for several education organizations and science-education nonprofits on the northern coast, developing and implementing program curriculum and evaluation methods. She worked as the education and engagement manager for Audubon California’s north bay center, where she specialized in developing and running the youth leadership intern program and also managed the summer nature adventure camp and the summer staff of teacher naturalists and youth naturalists. Marisela began her career teaching and designing youth empowerment projects for underserved children and youth in east Oakland through the Investing in Oakland Internship with Oakland Parks and Recreation, and has worked with organizations such as Youth Employment Partnership, Inc., and the Marin County Outdoor School. She completed her BA in environmental education from Mills College, where she is also a graduate of the Institute for Civic Leadership. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Gina Rosellini Moreno
Special Assistant to the CEO

Gina Rosellini Moreno is the Special Assistant to our CEO at Pahara Institute. Before joining Pahara, Gina worked for an architectural design firm in Napa Valley and the greater Bay Area as the assistant to the CEO/Owner and the Chief Strategy Officer. Prior to the design firm, she lived in San Diego, CA. Her prior two roles were at a financial services company and at a for-profit education company. Gina has been in an executive assistant and operational role for the past decade and enjoys the challenges of the role and helping her CEOs stay organized and efficient. In San Diego, she was a Big Sister at Big Brothers, Big Sisters and enjoys giving time to Habitat for Humanity in the Bay Area. Gina attended San Diego State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Management. She currently resides in Napa, CA with her husband John.

Jenny Sargeant
Program Coordinator, Pahara-Aspen Fellowship

Jenny Sargeant is the program coordinator for the Pahara-Aspen Fellowship at the Pahara Institute. Before joining Pahara, Jenny worked for the American Red Cross, Service to the Armed Forces division, in partnership with Wounded Warrior Project while living in Germany. There she served across four U.S. military installations, coordinating resiliency and community engagement events for transient wounded, ill and injured service members as well as active duty and civilian medical caregivers. Prior to that role, she managed the non-profit support of aeromedical patient evacuation missions, which sent patients from Germany to the United States to undergo further treatment. She helped facilitate the relocation of mission staging activities between two installations and developed a volunteer leadership program in support of those missions. Before venturing abroad in the non-profit sphere, Jenny interned with an aerospace engine manufacturer in global supply chain and materials management roles. Jenny holds a BBA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in Operations & Information Management with a Sociology minor. Native to the Pacific Northwest, Jenny grew up across the Puget Sound from Seattle, WA. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her partner and their cat.