Kriste Dragon’s life and career have been grounded in the fundamental belief that all children deserve the opportunity to realize their full potential. As Co-founder and CEO of Citizens of the World, a national network of tuition-free schools committed to serving diverse communities across the country, Kriste and her team’s work has been recognized as a model for building understanding and connection.
Kriste grew up in Atlanta, Georgia in a family of mixed racial, ethnic and cultural perspectives. She graduated from public high school, college, and law school. As a law student, Kriste witnessed the impact of systemic inequity in a juvenile court public defender program: the children she defended were under the age of ten. Determined to engage earlier in the life trajectories for court-involved youth, Kriste turned to education. As a middle school math teacher, instructor at UCLA, and board chair for several charter schools, Kriste has worked across the broad spectrum of public education in Los Angeles.
Kriste’s professional path has also included leadership at the systems level as Vice President of Regional Operations for Teach For America, Board Chair of EdNavigator, Board Member of the National Charter Collaborative, Board Member of Promise54, Advisory Board Member of the National Association for Charter School Authorizers, a Pahara-Aspen Fellow, and a Broad Academy Fellow.
Kriste has served as a moderator for numerous fellowships and programs including Pahara-Aspen, Pahara-NextGen, Aspen Action Forum, and Aspen Young Leaders. As a result of these experiences, Kriste is more committed than ever to strengthening and sustaining diverse, high-integrity leadership in order to reimagine public education for all students in America and beyond.