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Pahara Announces New Class of Leaders for The Pahara Fellowship

(January 27, 2022) - The Pahara Institute announced today a new cohort of the highly selective Pahara Fellowship. These 23 individuals join the Pahara community of leaders, which is designed to support and challenge values-driven and innovative leaders who are reimagining public education, so that every child in America has the opportunity to lead a free and meaningful life.

The Pahara Fellowship is a one-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 education, 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 newest Cohort of Pahara Fellows are:

  • Desmond Blackburn, Deputy Chancellor, School Leadership, New York City Department of Education

  • Malia Burns, Chief Program Officer, Summit Public Schools

  • Jamie Candee, Chief Executive Officer, Edmentum

  • Andrea Castañeda, Chief Innovation Officer, Tulsa Public Schools

  • Mark Comesañas, Executive Director, My Brother’s Keeper - Newark

  • Karen Dresden, Head of School, Capital City Public Charter School

  • Lahari Goud, President, Civitas Education Partners

  • Leslie-Bernard Joseph, Chief Executive Officer, Coney Island Prep

  • Miho Kubagawa, Chief of Staff, Stepmojo

  • Saskia Levy Thompson, Program Director, Carnegie Corporation of New York

  • Angella Martinez, Chief Executive Officer, KIPP SoCal Public Schools

  • Claudio Martinez, Executive Director, Zero Debt Massachusetts

  • Gislaine Ngounou, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer, Nellie Mae Education Foundation

  • Marilyn Rhames, Founder, Teachers Who Pray

  • Munro Richardson, Executive Director, Read Charlotte

  • Shawn Rubin, Executive Director, Highlander Institute

  • Ana Martinez Shropshire, Partner, The Opportunity Trust

  • Elena Silva, Director, PreK-12 Education, New America

  • Rachel Skerritt, Head of School, Boston Latin School

  • Kevin Sved, Chief Executive Officer, Navigator Schools

  • Tresha Ward, Chief Executive Officer, Brooklyn Prospect Charter Schools

  • Bobby White, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Frayser Community Schools

  • Melissa Wu, Chief Executive Officer, Education Pioneers

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

For more information please contact

About the Pahara Institute

The Pahara Institute seeks to strengthen the movement for educational excellence and equity by developing and sustaining high-integrity, values-driven leaders. The guiding principle of the Pahara Institute is that bold improvements are needed in our public schools so that every child in America has access to the tools and skills they need 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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