Press Release: January 18, 2018

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

SAN FRANCISCO (January 18, 2018) – The Pahara Institute, together with the Aspen Institute, announced today the Spring 2018 cohort of the highly selective Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship. These 24 leaders join a network of diverse and talented leaders who are reimagining America’s public schools.

“It is more important than ever to work across difference and historical divides to create radically better opportunities for low-income students and communities,” said Kim Smith, Pahara Institute Founder and CEO. “We are delighted to welcome these passionate, resilient, optimistic leaders and problem solvers 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 Spring 2018 Pahara-Aspen Education Fellows are:

  • Brian Bauer, Executive Director, Granada Hills Charter High School
  • Michael Collins, Vice President, Building Educational Pathways, Jobs for the Future
  • Dale Erquiaga, President and Chief Executive Officer, Communities In Schools
  • Paul Escala, Executive Director, Grimmway Schools
  • Shayne Evans, Founder and Managing Partner, The Academy Group
  • Mike Flores, President, Palo Alto College
  • Heather Harding, Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Jonathan Klein, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, GO Public Schools
  • Ben Lindquist, President, Colorado League of Charter Schools
  • Carolyn Davies Lynch, Vice President, Operations, Rocketship Public Schools
  • Maura Marino, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Education Forward DC
  • Drew Martin, Executive Director, KIPP Cooper Norcross Academies
  • Jennifer Moses, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Caliber Schools
  • Karen Nussle, President, Conservative Leaders for Education
  • Xiomara Padamsee, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Promise54
  • Jeffrey Pestrak,  Executive Schools Officer, Mastery Charter Schools
  • Laura Saldivar Luna, Founding Executive Director, Teach For America – San Antonio
  • Jamie Jo Scott, President, J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation
  • Paula Shannon, Deputy Superintendent, Tulsa Public Schools
  • Burck Smith, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, StraighterLine
  • Don Soifer, President, Nevada Action for School Options
  • Jennie Soler-McIntosh, Vice President, Community and Family Engagement, New Visions for Public Schools
  • Lorelei Vargas, Deputy Commissioner – Administration for Children’s Services, Division of Child and Family Well-Being, City of New York
  • Roblin Webb, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Freedom Prep Charter Schools

“The Aspen Global Leadership Network is excited to welcome this new cohort of Pahara-Aspen Fellows into its community of high-integrity, entrepreneurial leaders,” said Peter Reiling, Executive Vice President for Leadership and Seminar Programs at the Aspen Institute. “We believe they possess the talents and spirit necessary to overcome the greatest challenges of the U.S. public education system.”

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

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 2,500 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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