Pahara Institute Names 6 EP Leaders to Fall 2015 Cohort


Last week, the Pahara Institute announced the 25 education leaders they’ve selected for the 2015 fall cohort of the NextGen Network. Of the 25 leaders, six are EP leaders – one EP team member and five EP alumni.

In a press release, Kim Smith, Pahara Institute Founder and CEO said, “Identifying and supporting outstanding leaders is critical to reaching our goal of excellence and equity for all our public school students. This cohort exemplifies the leadership talent and diversity that our movement needs for the future and we are humbled to be able to support them.”

The six EP leaders who have been chosen for the 2015 fall cohort are:

Maya Bugg, Director, Tennessee for Education Pioneers

Maya Bugg has over a decade of experience launching, scaling, and leading high-impact initiatives throughout the education sector. In her current position as the founding State Director for Education Pioneers, Tennessee, Maya is charged with overseeing the strategic growth, financial stability, and partner development throughout the region. Under her executive leadership, she scaled Education Pioneers’ impact in Tennessee by steadily growing their programmatic footprint and markedly increasing partner investment throughout the state.  

Keara Duggan

Keara Duggan, Senior Consultant, Education Elements (EP Graduate School Fellow, Bay Area 2012)

Keara Duggan is a Senior Consultant on the Education Elements Design & Implementation Team. In this role, she partners with school districts to design, launch, and support personalized learning models to accelerate student achievement. She is deeply passionate about ensuring under-served and rural students have access to an excellent education.

Elsa Dure

Elsa Duré, Chief of Policy & Expansion, Rhode Island Mayoral Academies (EP Visiting Fellow, Boston 2015)

Elsa Duré is the Chief of Policy & Expansion at the Rhode Island Mayoral Academies (RIMA), a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the statewide growth of mayoral academies: high-performing, diverse, regional public schools governed by mayor-led school boards. She leads the work on state education policy, school growth and sustainability, and special research projects including documenting “what’s working” in Mayoral Academies. 

Kai Kung

Kai Kung, Program Officer, College Ready Team for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Graduate School Fellow, Bay Area 2012)

Kai Kung is a Program Officer on the College Ready Team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He leads a body of work focused on ensuring that organizations serving teachers and students have access to the capital and supports required to bring their proven products and services to scale in sustainable ways.

Dena Simmons

Dena Simmons, Associate Director of School Initiatives, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence (Graduate School Fellow, New York 2010)

Dena Simmons, Ed.D., is the Associate Director of School Initiatives at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Dena oversees education, training, and coaching initiatives at the Center as well as the scaling up of the RULER program, the Center’s approach to social and emotional learning. Prior to her work at the Center, she served as an educator, teacher educator, diversity trainer, and curriculum developer. Dena’s primary research interest focuses on assessing teacher preparedness to address bullying in the K-12 school setting.

Ash Solar

Ash Solar, Executive Director, Achievement Schools (Graduate School Fellow, Bay Area 2007)

Ash Solar believes deeply in the power and potential of neighborhood schools and the children they serve. He also believes every public school must develop the capacity to provide every child with an excellent education – regardless of background, challenges or starting points. These beliefs led him to the TN Achievement School District where he currently serves as the Executive Director of the Achievement Schools, a network of five neighborhood turnaround schools in Memphis dedicated to ensuring that every child in Frayser can attend an excellent neighborhood school.

All of us at EP congratulate Maya, Keara, Elsa, Kai, Dena, and Ash on their selection as Pahara leaders!

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