Press Release: February 26, 2013

Pahara and Aspen Institutes Announce New Class of Innovative Leaders Reimagining Public Education

SAN FRANCISCO (February 26, 2013) – The Pahara Institute, together with the Aspen Institute, announced today the selection of a new cohort of the highly selective Pahara-Aspen Education Fellows Program. These 24 accomplished leaders join the more than 100 exceptional leaders who have previously participated in the fellowship, which is designed to support extraordinary leaders who are reimagining America’s public schools.

“In order to achieve excellence and equity for our public school students, we need to develop and sustain bold innovative leaders, who are working tirelessly to provide high quality learning opportunities for all communities and children, particularly those who have been underserved,” said Kim Smith, Pahara Institute Founder and CEO. “This new cohort of Pahara-Aspen Fellows represents truly exceptional leadership talent, and we are honored to be able to support them in their work.”

The Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship (formerly the Aspen-New Schools Fellowship) is a two-year, cohort-based program that identifies innovative leaders in the educational equity movement, facilitates their dynamic growth, and strengthens their collective efforts to dramatically improve public schools for low-income children and communities. The Fellowship provides these exceptional leaders with the unusual opportunity to step back from their demanding daily work to reflect with peers on their collective and individual impact as leaders and change agents. Fellows challenge each other to think beyond traditional silos and sector boundaries to develop strategies that enhance their effectiveness as leaders, address leadership challenges in public education, and accelerate the improvements needed to provide high quality learning opportunities for all of our nation’s children.

The Fellowship is a partnership between the Pahara and Aspen Institutes. The Aspen Institute has created a leadership development model through its renowned Henry Crown Fellowship program aimed at inspiring Fellows to make a lasting difference in their spheres of influence, through the application of effective and enlightened leadership. Pahara-Aspen Fellows become part of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, which currently includes 1600 Fellows from 45 countries that are collectively making tremendous positive change in the world.

The Summer 2013 Pahara-Aspen Education Fellows are:

  • Sehba Ali, Superintendent, KIPP Houston Public Schools
  • Rob Birdsell, Chief Executive Officer, The Alain Locke Initiative
  • Andrew Broy, President, Illinois Network of Charter Schools
  • Richard R. Buery, Jr, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Children’s Aid Society
  • Margaret Fortune, President and Chief Executive Officer, Rex and Margaret Fortune School of Education
  • Nicole Baker Fulgham, Founder and President, The Expectations Project
  • Nina L. Gilbert, Founder and Executive Director, Ivy Preparatory Academy
  • Deborah A. Gist, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, Rhode Island Dept of Education
  • Jennifer K. Henry, Chief Program and Cities Officer, New Leaders
  • Parker Hudnut, Chief Executive Officer, Inner-City Education Foundation (ICEF)
  • Brad Jupp, Senior Program Advisor, Office of Secretary of Education
  • Neerav Kingsland, Chief Executive Officer, New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO)
  • Andrew Lee, Senior Vice President of Strategic and Education Partnerships, Agile Mind
  • Patricia Levesque, Chief Executive Officer, Foundation for Excellence in Education/Executive Director, Foundation for Florida’s Future
  • Brent W. Maddin, Ed.D., Provost, Relay Graduate School of Education
  • Deborah McGriff, Partner, NewSchools Venture Fund
  • Chris Plutte, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Global Nomads Group
  • Don Shalvey, Deputy Director, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Laura M. Slover, Senior Vice President, Achieve, Inc.
  • Sidney Smith, Founder and President, SRS Counsel
  • Jesse Solomon, Executive Director, BPE
  • Henry Wilde, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Acelero Learning
  • Jamie Woodson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Tennessee SCORE

“Pahara-Aspen Fellows are proven leaders who are innovating in the educational sector to provide quality education for all Americans. We know that leadership is lonely and change is hard. We also know that this model of Fellowship provides critical support to these leaders and infuses new energy and ideas into this important work,” said Peter Reiling, Executive Vice President, Leadership and Seminar Programs at the Aspen Institute. “The Aspen Institute is pleased to continue this partnership with Pahara, and to welcome this outstanding cohort of leaders into the Aspen Global Leadership Network, where they join a powerful global community of entrepreneurial Fellows who are bringing passion, tenacity and out-of-the-box-thinking to address the most important challenges that surround us.”

To access bios and photos of the Pahara-Aspen Fellows, 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 and developing transformational leaders for education reform. Its 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

About the Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also maintains offices in New York City and has an international network of partners.

About the Aspen Global Leadership Network

The Aspen Global Leadership Network is a growing, worldwide community of entrepreneurial leaders from business, government and the nonprofit sector — currently, nearly 1,600 “Fellows” from 45 countries — who share a commitment to enlightened leadership and to using their extraordinary creativity, energy and resources to tackle the foremost societal challenges of our times. All share the common experience of participating in the Henry Crown Fellowship or one of the dozen Aspen Institute leadership initiatives it has inspired in the United States, Africa, Central America, India and the Middle East





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