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Pahara Institute Announces New Chief Executive Officer

The Board announced today that Kriste Dragon will be the new CEO of the Pahara Institute.

“The Board was immensely impressed by the strong and diverse pool of alumni candidates who showed a passion for Pahara’s work to strengthen and sustain exceptional leaders in service to students and communities across the country. We are delighted that Kriste Dragon will be bringing her impressive leadership talents to Pahara,” commented Board Chair Diane Tavenner.

Since 2012, the Pahara Institute has been challenging education leaders to become more adept at leading across difference and beyond old assumptions to build a stronger and more sustainable movement for educational equity and excellence. Emphasizing diversity, a broader definition of student success, increasing parent power and engagement, sustainability, and innovation, Pahara brings together diverse learning communities in order for them to reimagine public education to provide all students in America the skills, knowledge and mindsets they need to thrive.

Pahara has two Fellowship programs and an expanding network of alumni who are all committed to this vision. The two programs are the Pahara-Aspen Fellows, which includes one Teacher-Leader Cohort, and the Pahara-NextGen Fellows. The Pahara leaders reflect deeply on their values and engage in candid dialogue designed to widen their perspectives as well as build core skills and competencies needed to shift complex systems. The Pahara Network currently includes over 800 leaders.

Ms. Dragon is an active and engaged member of the Pahara Network. She is a Pahara-Aspen Fellow in the Spring 2013 cohort; she participated in the 2019 Pahara alumni Cross Program Design Team to inform program development; and she is a moderator for both the Pahara-Aspen and Pahara-NextGen Programs. Ms. Dragon is an innovative leader who has – among other things – developed a model of intentionally diverse schools that seek to expand the definition of student success in order to prepare young people to thrive in college, our diverse society, and in a global economy. She brings strong strategic and organizational leadership experience, as well as a broad network of relationships across the field.

Ms. Dragon will begin her role as CEO part time in mid-February. At Ms. Dragon’s discretion, the founder and current CEO, Kim Smith will continue in an advisory capacity for a short period to support the transition. Ms. Smith will then support Pahara through continuing her roles as a Board Member and moderator.

Ms. Smith reflected: “I am thrilled that Kriste Dragon will be the next CEO of the Pahara Institute. Kriste has a demonstrated commitment to developing enlightened and effective leaders. She brings a passion for innovation, diversity, and student-centered learning, as well as a deep understanding of the challenges facing parents, students, and public schools that is informed by her work and her own experience as a student and a mother of three. As a leader, Kriste has an extraordinary blend of head and heart, which will help her lead Pahara towards greater impact for the families and students our leaders serve.”


Ms. Dragon’s full bio can be found here.


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