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Audience in Lecture






Chief of Network Effect


Pahara Institute


Idrissa Simmonds-Nastili is senior vice president with the Pahara Institute, where she leads program design efforts to ensure the organization’s commitment to racial equity and justice lives within all offerings. She leads the design, execution, and moderation of all Affinity-Based Programming. She began her tenure with Pahara as the director and then vice president of the Pahara-NextGen Fellowship, which has supported over 150 education thought leaders of underrepresented backgrounds in building powerful community, amplifying their voices, and shaping a more diverse and equity-minded senior leadership in the education sector.

Prior to her time with Pahara, Idrissa served as the founding director of Uncommon Schools’ nationally-recognized Summer Teaching Fellowship, growing the program over five years from 10 fellows in two school sites in Brooklyn to 125 fellows across Uncommon’s five regions. Prior to working in U.S. education she worked in schools across Ghana, West Africa in HIV/AIDS education as part of a locally-driven peer health education program. She is a Council of Urban Professionals fellow, a member of Education Leaders of Color, and serves on Google’s Edu Equity Board. As a facilitator and leadership coach, she partners with organizations and individuals in the United States and Canada who want to center equity, values-centered leadership, and whole human-focused design in their work.

As a writer, her work has been published widely, and she is co-editor of the bestselling anthology Black Girl Magic: Breakbeat Poets Volume 2 (Haymarket Books). She completed her undergraduate studies between Montreal’s Concordia University and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and her master’s in Educational Leadership, Politics, and Advocacy from NYU Steinhardt. A Brooklyn native, she grew up in Surrey, BC and lives in Oakland, CA – Ohlone land – with her husband and children.

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