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We are excited to invite you to a three-day convening at the new Lone Rock Retreat campus in Bailey, Colorado on Adolescent Development. We are bringing together 50 practitioners and researchers to foster a learning environment of reciprocity between these groups. We are also inviting local youth as advisors and participants to center the perspectives of those we serve.

Participants will have an opportunity to gather feedback on current work from each other and other education practitioners.


This event is an adolescent development convening for practitioners and researchers brought to you by Pahara Fellow Chris Plutte and the UCLA Center for the Developing Adolescent, sponsored by the Bezos Family Foundation.

Intended outcomes of this convening include:

To spark ongoing collaboration between practitioners and researchers

To foster knowledge sharing across roles and problems of practice


To foster a learning environment of reciprocity, this convening will include a mix of learning structures and perspectives we hope you’ll enjoy:


  • Researchers who are deeply engaged in the work of adolescent development will be in attendance. Researchers have been selected by UCLA Center for the Developing Adolescent due to their expertise.​


  • Superintendents, CEOs, Assistant Superintendents, CAOs, Chief Schools Officers from schools districts and charter school networks: we hope to bring together a mix of Pahara Fellows as well as other phenomenal leaders to bring together a diverse, robust set of perspectives and expertise.


  • Local youth currently in high school.


Bringing together practitioners and researchers, we will explore how the following three research areas come to life throughout school systems. The research topics we will center are:


  • Learning is the process of acquiring understanding, knowledge, skills, behaviors, values,  attitudes and preferences that is applicable to educational, social, and community settings.


  • In many ways, the developments of adolescence create a very real need for them to find ways to make contributions to their social world, in ways large and small, and to figure out whether and where they belong.

  • These topics have implications for motivation and engagement both in and out of the classroom.

  • They also are important mechanisms by which the development of both personal and social identity takes place during adolescence.


  • The motivation to explore and take risks in order to better understand the environment, solve problems, and learn is one the primary hallmarks of adolescence.

  • Crucial to this motivation is the opportunity to problem solve, try new things, take chances, and fail. All of these are central to the learning process of adolescence.

    Nominations are accepted on a rolling basis and, while they are not required for entry into the Fellowship, they are critical to our ability to identify exceptional leaders from across the education ecosystem. Ideally, a nominator knows enough about the leader’s work to share their thoughts on why they would be an excellent choice for the Fellowship. Each nominee is notified and invited to submit an application for consideration. We believe that a broad, diverse coalition is needed to reimagine the role and manner of education in society. While the Fellowship is open to all education leaders who meet our selection criteria, we are particularly seeking to identify innovative leaders of nonprofit schools and from organizations serving nonprofit schools, and leaders bringing perspectives from across the political spectrum. We are sensitive to the ways sponsorship practices can disadvantage women and Black, Indigenous and leaders of color who are less likely to have sponsors. When thinking of incredible changemakers to bring to our attention, we encourage nominators to consider leaders from within and outside of their close circles.
    Leaders who meet our program criteria are welcome to apply to the Fellowship, with or without a nomination. The application is an essential and required part of the process, and allows candidates to share information about their work and leadership, alignment with our selection criteria, and how they most hope to benefit from participation in this powerful development experience. For applicants advancing beyond this stage, this information serves as rich background information on which to base deep, reflective dialogue during interviews taking place during candidate consideration. While the Fellowship is open to all education leaders who meet our selection criteria, we are particularly seeking to identify innovative leaders of nonprofit schools and from organizations serving nonprofit schools, and leaders bringing perspectives from across the political spectrum.
    During this stage, we seek to understand candidates’ motivations and challenges, learn more about their background and leadership journey, and determine candidates’ willingness and ability to negotiate the multiple domains of difference that contribute to the tapestry of Pahara cohorts. Candidates participate in a 90-minute virtual interview with a Pahara Fellow or a member of Pahara staff via Zoom. This conversation also provides candidates an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the Fellowship. The interview is followed by referencing carried out by our team. This includes reviewing feedback provided by the three references named by the candidate, and checking for potential conflicts of interest amongst candidates being selected into the same cohort. We may also reach out to Fellows in our community who are familiar with a candidate’s work to understand the full scope of their leadership. Given the degree of openness and vulnerability expected in this phase of our process, information shared with us by candidates or in the reference process is held with the highest degree of confidentiality.
    Once we have identified a pool of values-driven leaders who have demonstrated readiness throughout the selection process, we begin the careful, complex process of curating cohorts. We aim for cohorts that are inclusive of the breadth of our humanity across multiple domains of difference, including socioeconomic background, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability, religious affiliation, and political ideology. Cohorts are also distinctive in their inclusion of leaders from various organization models, multiple sectors in education, different geographic regions, and various leadership roles. This careful cohort curation is critical, as the cohort is the container within which the personal and professional transformation Pahara is most known for occurs. Cohort dialogue is confidential and both professional and personal in nature. We seek to foster an environment that celebrates the lived experiences of all of our Fellows.
    We strongly believe curating a myriad of perspectives in each group is a vital component of the program’s value and impact on participants. We receive many more nominations and applications than we have available seats in each cohort, and because of this level of demand, we are sometimes unable to select leaders who meet our selection criteria. When a candidate meets the selection criteria but is not placed, we encourage them to opt-in to be considered for a future cohort, which can take time. It is not uncommon for a Pahara Fellowship candidate to be considered for a few years before being selected or released.
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