Press Release: August 3, 2017

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

SAN FRANCISCO (August 3, 2017) – The Pahara Institute, together with the Aspen Institute, announced today the Fall 2017 cohort of the highly selective Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship. These 24 individuals join the Pahara community of leaders, which is designed to support and challenge diverse and innovative leaders who are reimagining America’s public schools.

“It is more important than ever for leaders to cultivate the courage to stand up for equity and civility, and to engage in deep dialogue and build relationships across difference,” said Kim Smith, Pahara Institute Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “We look forward to supporting this inspiring group of incredible leaders, and welcoming them into the Pahara community.”

The Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship is a two-year, cohort-based program that identifies exceptional leaders in the educational excellence and equity movement, facilitates their dynamic growth, and strengthens their collective efforts to dramatically improve public schools, especially those serving 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 2,500 Fellows from over 50 countries who are collectively making tremendous positive change in the world.

The Fall 2017 Pahara-Aspen Education Fellows are:

  • Emily Bloomfield, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Monument Academy Public Charter School
  • Constance Brewer, Chief External Affairs Officer, Noble Network of Charter Schools
  • David Castillo, Head of School, Urban Montessori Charter School
  • Jonas Chartock, Chief Executive Officer, Leading Educators
  • Christian Dallavis, Senior Director of Leadership Programs, Alliance for Catholic Education, University of Notre Dame
  • Colleen Dippel, Founder and Executive Director, Families Empowered
  • Nathaniel Easley, Ph.D, Chief Executive Officer, Denver Scholarship Foundation
  • Donald Kamentz, Executive Director, Character Lab
  • Kristi Kimball, Executive Director, Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation
  • Andy Kopplin, President and Chief Executive Officer, Greater New Orleans Foundation
  • Anita Landecker, Executive Director, ExED
  • Allison Leslie, Area Superintendent, Aspire Public Schools
  • Frances Messano, Managing Partner, NewSchools Venture Fund
  • Mike Miles, Chief Executive Officer, Third Future Schools
  • Trevor Packer, Senior Vice President of Advanced Placement and Instruction, The College Board
  • Karega Rausch,  Vice President of Research and Evaluation, NACSA
  • Paymon Rouhanifard, Superintendent, Camden City School District
  • Robert W. Runcie, Superintendent, Broward County Public Schools
  • Shalinee Sharma, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Zearn
  • Michѐle Solá, Director, Manhattan Country School
  • Greg Sommers, Managing Director of Strategy and Programs, Bezos Family Foundation
  • Vallay Varro, President, 50CAN
  • Janna Wagner, Co-Founder and Chief Learning Officer, All Our Kin, Inc.
  • Melissa Zaikos, Founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Principal, Intrinsic Schools

“Pahara-Aspen Fellows are taking action to overcome the greatest challenges in American public education,” said Peter Reiling, Executive Vice President for Leadership Initiatives and Seminars at the Aspen Institute. “We are delighted to welcome this new cohort of high-integrity entrepreneurs into the vibrant community of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.”

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

For more information please contact 

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

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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 2,500 Fellows from over 50 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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