Press Release: July 1, 2015

Pahara and Aspen Institutes Announce New Class of Innovative Leaders for Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship

SAN FRANCISCO, July 1, 2015 – The Pahara Institute, together with the Aspen Institute, announced today the selection of the Fall 2015 cohort of the highly selective Pahara-Aspen Education Fellows Program. These 25 innovative leaders join the community of leaders who have previously participated in the fellowship.

“As we strive to provide excellence and equity for all our public school students, we must support bold innovative leaders, who can create the high quality learning opportunities our communities need,” said Kim Smith, Pahara Institute Founder and CEO. “This group of Pahara-Aspen Fellows represents exactly this kind of exceptional leadership talent, and we are privileged to be able to support them.”

The Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship is a two-year, cohort-based program that identifies innovative leaders in the educational excellence and 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 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, which focuses on 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 nearly 2,000 Fellows from 49 countries who are collectively making tremendous positive change in the world.

The Fall 2015 Pahara-Aspen Education Fellows are:

  • Diego Arambula, Chief Growth Officer, Summit Public Schools
  • Naila Bolus, President and Chief Executive Officer, Jumpstart
  • Drema Brown, Vice President of School-Age Division, Children’s Aid Society
  • Kimberly Bryant, Founder and Executive Director, Black Girls CODE
  • Jon Clark, Co-Director, Brooke Charter School Network
  • Erik M. Clemons, Chief Executive Officer and President, Connecticut Center for Arts & Technology
  • Amanda Fernandez, Vice President of Latino Community Partnerships, Teach for America
  • Ryan Hill, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, KIPP New Jersey
  • Carrie Irvin, President, Charter Board Partners
  • Todd Kern, Founder and Principal, 2Revolutions
  • Paul Keys, Executive Vice President, Teach for America
  • Dr. Duncan F. Klussmann, Superintendent Emeritus, Spring Branch Independent School District
  • Max Koltuv, Regional Superintendent, Achievement First
  • Yetta Lewis, Co-Founder and Chief Academic Officer, Gestalt Community Schools
  • Tyra Mariani, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Opportunity@Work
  • Dr. Shane P. Martin, Dean and Professor, School of Education and Dean of Graduate Studies, Loyola Marymount University
  • Aaron North, Vice President of Education, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
  • Dr. Lisa R. Ramirez, Director, Office of Migrant Education and Acting Director, Office of School Support and Rural Programs, U.S. Department of Education
  • Beatriz Rendon, Senior Associate Vice President of Educational Outreach and Student Services, Arizona State University
  • Deborah Santiago, Co-Founder, Chief Operating Officer and Vice President for Policy, Excelencia in Education
  • Stephanie Saroki de Garcia, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Seton Education Partners
  • Ricardo Soto, Senior Vice President for Legal Advocacy and General Counsel, California Charter School Association
  • David Umansky, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Civic Builders
  • Dr. Louise Bay Waters, Superintendent and Chief Executive Officer, Leadership Public Schools
  • Sherman Whites, Program Officer, Walton Family Foundation

“Pahara-Aspen Fellows are pioneering fresh innovative solutions in our public education system in order to achieve excellence for all American children,” said Peter Reiling, Executive Vice President, Leadership and Seminar Programs at the Aspen Institute. “The Aspen Institute is pleased to continue partnering with Pahara and welcomes this outstanding new cohort of leaders into the Aspen Global Leadership Network where they join a global community of entrepreneurial ‘doers’ who are stepping up to solve the world’s most important challenges.”

To access bios and photos of the Pahara-Aspen Fellows, click here.

For More Information:
Saamra Mekuria-Grillo, Vice President of Strategy and Operations, Pahara Institute,

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 guiding principle of the Pahara Institute is that bold improvements are needed to our public schools so that every child in America has access to the tools and skills he or she needs to be successful in life. Pahara’s 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.


The Aspen Institute Logo

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.

Aspen Global Leadership Network Logo

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 2,000 “Fellows” from 49 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, the Middle East and China.

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