This week, Manhattan Country School Director Michèle Solá joined 23 other leaders from public schools, charter schools, foundations and nonprofit organizations in Aspen, Colorado to take on the challenging task of reimagining America’s public schools. This was the first of four gatherings of the Fall 2017 cohort of the highly selective Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship.
The Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship is a two-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 schools, 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.
“Meeting the educational leaders from across the country who make up a Pahara-Aspen cohort, it is inspiring to hear what creative things they are already doing as district superintendents, as founders of organizations, as researchers in foundations, and as principals and heads of school,” says Michèle of her time in Aspen this week. “Through the facilitators' persistent Socratic dialogue, or the informal conversations that continue over meals and breaks (that are anything but that), there is constant comparing of experiences. Our conversations reveal something special about each of our educational models, and what's missing. This is a place where it seems possible to focus on finding a common purpose, and raises the ultimate question of what greater good in education for all children could be accomplished if we worked together creatively. For me, and for Manhattan Country School, to be at the table is a real honor and privilege.”
The Fellowship is a partnership between the Pahara and Aspen Institutes. The Aspen Institute has created a leadership development model through its renowned Henry Crown Fellowship program, which focuses on inspiring Fellows to make a lasting difference in their spheres of influence through the application of effective and enlightened leadership. Pahara-Aspen Fellows become part of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, which currently includes more than 2,500 Fellows from more than 50 countries who are collectively making tremendous positive change in the world.