Press Release: May 7, 2018

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

SAN FRANCISCO (May 7, 2018) – The Pahara Institute, together with the Aspen Institute, announced today the Summer 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.

“Now more than ever, it is critical for leaders to reflect deeply on their values, engage with and listen to others who hold different perspectives, and think differently about how they can create radically better opportunities for our country’s young people,” said Kim Smith, Pahara Institute Founder and CEO. “We are thrilled to welcome these talented leaders into the Pahara community and look forward to engaging together in this challenging, yet essential work.”

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 Summer 2018 Pahara-Aspen Education Fellows are:

  • Jennifer Andaluz, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Downtown College Prep
  • Peter Anderson, Head of School, Washington Latin Public Charter School
  • Allison Bajracharya, Chief Operations and Strategy Officer, Camino Nuevo Charter Academy
  • Dr. Kevin Baxter, Senior Director and Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Archdiocese of Los Angeles
  • Kaleem Caire, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, One City Schools
  • Alex Cortez, Managing Partner, New Profit
  • Victor De La Paz, Chief Financial Officer, Achievement First
  • Daren Dickson, Chief Culture Officer, Valor Collegiate Academies
  • Hannah Dietsch, Assistant Superintendent for Talent, Louisiana Department of Education
  • Kendra Ferguson, Chief Executive Officer, KIPP Memphis
  • Dr. Narciso Garcia, Superintendent, Vanguard Academy
  • Eli Kennedy, Chief Executive Officer, The Level Playing Field Institute
  • Chi Kim, Chief Executive Officer, Pure Edge, Inc.
  • Dr. Matthew Ladner, Senior Research Fellow, Charles Koch Institute
  • John Legg, Chief Financial Officer and Co-Founder, Dayspring Academy
  • Sara Mead, Partner, Bellwether Education Partners
  • Veronica Melvin, President and Chief Executive Officer, LA Promise Fund
  • Eileen Murphy, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, ThinkCERCA
  • Zack Neumeyer, Chairman, Sage Hospitality
  • Elissa Salas, Chief Executive Officer, College Track
  • John Valverde, Chief Executive Officer, YouthBuild USA
  • Victoria Van Cleef, Vice President, The New Teacher Project
  • DeRonda Williams, Founder and President, DGW Consulting Group
  • Miles Wilson, President and Chief Executive Officer, EducationWorks

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

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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