Nominate a Fellow


The Pahara-Aspen Fellows program seeks to strengthen and sustain diverse, high potential leaders who are reimagining public education. Using the time-tested Aspen Institute method of text-based dialogue, the program will provide participants with the perspectives necessary for effective, enlightened leadership across the public, nonprofit and private sectors.


Each cohort of Pahara-Aspen Fellows will consist of 20-24 exceptional men and women who will undertake a program of advanced leadership seminars and leadership projects under the direction of experienced moderators. The program requires significant preparatory reading, 17 days onsite for four seminars over two years, and a leadership project. Participation will be without cost to participants or their organizations, exclusive of incidental expenses incurred.


The Pahara-Aspen Fellowship is designed for exceptional individuals in the public, nonprofit and/or private sectors who have achieved significant success in creating or leading dynamic organizations aimed at improving public education for underserved communities. Approximately 85% of Pahara-Aspen Fellows are C-level or founders of their organizations. Others have bottom line ownership of a significant division within a large organization or are recognized thought leaders who bring a unique perspective to their cohort.

While the vast majority of our Fellows come directly from the pre-K-12 education field, we recognize we work in a complex ecosystem and are pleased to also include leaders from related fields like college access and success, community organizing and development, youth development and youth services, workforce development, and juvenile justice and juvenile health.

We strive for diversity in each cohort of Fellows, in order to foster deep discussion of values tensions and to encourage bridging leadership across historical divides. We seek to include individuals bringing an array of different perspectives including, but not limited to: sector, ethnicity, race, religion, socio-economic background, gender, geography, sexual orientation, and political perspective.

In addition to these criteria, ideal nominees will:

  • Possess a significant track record of extraordinary commitment and results advancing educational opportunity for all children, and have potential for even greater leadership impact;
  • Bring an innovative, entrepreneurial mindset with a bias toward action and urgency;
  • Hold a breadth of experience and maturity gained from overcoming professional or personal challenges;
  • Be at an inflection point where reflection and learning is particularly timely;
  • Have demonstrated an orientation towards listening to and learning from others with different perspectives; and,
  • Be able to productively engage in dialogue across an array of difference with humility, vulnerability, curiosity, and empathy.

Nomination Procedures

We ask your assistance in identifying outstanding individuals for the Pahara-Aspen Fellows program. Individuals may not apply to the program; they must be nominated by leaders in the field.

Nominators are asked to:

  • Complete the online form found on the following pages (basic demographic information about you and your nominee);
  • Upload a letter of nomination, based on the criteria above (specific examples illustrating the criteria are encouraged); and,
  • Upload the nominee’s current resume/CV

We consider many factors when assembling a cohort, and creating the ideal blend of perspectives in each group is a key component of the program’s value and impact on participants. Therefore, compelling leaders who meet the criteria of the Fellowship may remain under consideration for an extended period of time until they fit into the mosaic of a particular cohort.

We accept and review nominations on a rolling basis throughout the year and candidates may be considered in either the current or an upcoming selection cycle. Please use the link below to submit a nomination. You may contact us at with any questions.

Click Here to Nominate a Fellow

Want to submit a Pahara-NextGen Fellow nomination instead? Click here.