Press Release: May 4, 2016

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

SAN FRANCISCO (May 4, 2016) – The Pahara Institute, together with the Aspen Institute, announced today the selection of the Summer 2016 cohort of the highly selective Pahara-Aspen Education Fellows Program. These 24 individuals join the community of leaders who have previously participated in the Fellowship, which is designed to support diverse and innovative leaders who are reimagining America’s public schools.

“The Summer 2016 cohort of Pahara-Aspen Fellows inspires us with their tremendous leadership talents and their deep commitment to providing equity and excellence for all our public school students,” said Kim Smith, Pahara Institute Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “As more underserved children face barriers in access to high quality education, we recognize the need for groundbreaking leaders that are willing to address long-standing challenges and create learning environments where all children can thrive. We are honored to be able to support this exceptional cohort.”

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 more than 2,100 Fellows from 49 countries who are collectively making tremendous positive change in the world.

The Summer 2016 Pahara-Aspen Education Fellows are:

  • Daniel Anello, Chief Executive Officer, New Schools for Chicago
  • Jose Arenas, Managing Director, Community Organizing, Innovate Public Schools
  • Layla Avila, Chief of Staff and Executive Vice President, Strategic Projects, The New Teacher Project
  • Scott Bess, Head of School, Purdue Polytechnic Indianapolis High School, Purdue University
  • Richard Buery, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives, City of New York
  • Steve Bumbaugh, Senior Vice President, College and Career Access, The College Board
  • Shirley Collado, Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer, Rutgers University – Newark
  • Elizabeth Corcoran, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, EdSurge
  • Kristin Ehrgood, President, Flamboyan Foundation
  • Harris Ferrell, Chief Operating Officer, Achievement First, Inc.
  • Kate Ford, Area Superintendent, Los Angeles, Aspire Public Schools
  • Keith Frome, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, College Summit
  • Virgel Hammonds, Chief Learning Officer, KnowledgeWorks Foundation
  • Jeff Jablow, Senior Vice President, Stretegy and Operations, City Year
  • Robin Lake, Director, Center for Reinventing Public Education, University of Washington
  • Irma Munoz, Chief Operating Officer, IDEA Public Schools
  • Brittany Packnett, Executive Director, Teach For America – St. Louis
  • Nichole Pinkard, Founder, Digital Youth Network
  • Shruti Sehra, Managing Partner, Reimagine Learning Fund and Early Learning Fund, New Profit
  • Thomas Stewart, President, Patten University
  • Michael Stone, Co-Chief Executive Officer, New Schools for New Orleans
  • Beth Sutkus Thompson, Founding Executive Director, KIPP Bay Area Schools
  • Gia Truong, Chief Executive Officer, Envision Education
  • Steven Wilson, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ascend Learning

“Through bold action Pahara-Aspen Fellows are leading the change necessary to bridge the achievement and opportunity gaps in American public education,” said Peter Reiling, Executive Vice President, Leadership and Seminar Programs at the Aspen Institute. “This new cohort of Pahara-Aspen Fellows will certainly carry the torch forward and continue to make a dent in the most complex educational challenges. We are excited for the journey we will take together and to welcome these entrepreneurs into the broader Aspen Global Leadership Network.”

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 are designed to identify leaders in education innovation, and through a time-tested dialogue approach, strengthen and sustain their efforts to bring about critical improvements to our public schools. For more information, please visit

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.

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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, more than 2,100 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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