Leadership Institute

“This was the closest thing to a paradigm shift I’ve personally experienced in terms of how I think about my approach to my work.”

Meet the Cohorts

Amy Hukkinen

Director of Federal Grants and Support

Anthony Curry

Director of Public Policy
Opportunity 180

Ben Austin

Founding Director
Education Civil Rights Now

Charlene Mack

Founder & CEO

Christy Riggins

State Director
American Federation for Children Georgia

Corinn O’Brien

VP of Policy
A+ Education Partnership

Dan Schaller

Colorado League of Charter Schools

Darcel Sanders

GO Public Schools

Elizabeth Fiveash

Chief Policy Officer
Tennessee Charter School Center

Faith Gibson Hubbard

Chief Strategy Officer
Parents Amplifying Voices in Education (PAVE)

Gregory Hatcher

Vice President of Partnerships

Haid Bloxham

Co-President, Finance and Operations
Washington State Charter Schools Association

Jacquelyn Martell

Executive Director
Democrats for Education Reform – New York

Jeff Smink

Deputy Director
The Education Trust-New York

Josh Kaufmann

Senior Executive Director
Teach Plus Illinois

Katie Dauphinais

Vice President
A for Arizona

Lana Skelo Gardner

VP of Government Relations and General Counsel
Tennesseans for Student Success

Lasana Tunica-El

Deputy Director, Campaigns
Educators For Excellence – New York

Lizzette Gonzalez Reynolds

Commissioner of Education
Tennessee Department of Education

Marcus Brandon

Executive Director

Mark Sass

Executive Director
Teach Plus Colorado

Ned Stanley

Vice President of Communications

Noelle DeLaney

Vice President of Events and Partnerships
National School Choice Awareness Foundation

Paige Kowalski

Executive Vice President
Data Quality Campaign

Phillip Lovell

Associate Executive Director

Rachel Hathaway

Executive Director
Teach Plus Indiana

Tramelle D. Howard

State Director
The Education Trust in Louisiana

Yesim Sayin

Founding Executive Director
D.C. Policy Center

Adah Pittman-Delancey

VP, Impact & External Relations
redefinED atlanta

Adam Ezring

Deputy Director
Collaborative for Student Success

Aleah Guthrie

Senior Director of Policy and Government Relations

Bonnie Holliday

EVP Policy and External Relations
Georgia Charter Schools Association

Brenda Dickhoner

President & CEO
Ready Colorado

Britney Mumford

Executive Director

Cara Candal

Vice President of Policy

Christine Pitts

Resident Fellow
Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE)

Crystal McQueen-Taylor

Executive Director

Daniel Pearson

Executive Director
Educators for Excellence-Connecticut

Jay Artis-Wright

Executive Director
Freedom Coalition for Charter Schools

Jodie Cantrell

Director of External Affairs
Illinois Network of Charter Schools

Joshua Crosson

Executive Director

Kevin D. Malonson

Executive Director
Teach Plus Texas

Kristin Pollock

Chief of Development & External Affairs
Kids First Chicago

Lynn Jennings

Senior Director, National and State Partneships
The Education Trust

Mohan Sivaloganathan

Our Turn

Natalie Ethridge

Vice President, Strategic Initiatives
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

Nicholas Hernandez

Executive Director
Transform Education Now (TEN)

Robert W. Gaines, II

Director of External Affairs
Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education

Ryan Franklin

Sr. Director, Policy and Advocacy
Educate Texas

Shannon Nicholas

Chief of Staff
Colorado Succeeds

Tafshier Cosby

Co-Chief Operating Officer
Parent Impact

Terrence Lockett

State Director
DFER Louisiana

Thomas Maffai

Director of Policy and Advocacy
GO Public Schools Oakland

Victor Evans

Executive Director

Ariel Johnson

Chief of Staff
DC Charter School Alliance

Ariel Taylor Smith

Senior Director of the NPU Policy & Action Center
National Parents Union

Colin Sharkey

Executive Director
Association of American Educators and AAE Foundation

Debbie Veney

Senior Vice President of Communications and Marketing
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

Dia Bryant

Executive Director
The Education Trust – New York

Jack Minor

Vice President of Strategy and Advocacy
Tennesseans for Student Success

Jessica Giles

Democrats For Education Reform DC

Kate Sobel

Managing Director of Schools
Ascend Public Charter Schools

Kelly Caufield

Executive Director
Common Sense Institute

Kerry Savage

Director of Policy

Krista Spurgin

Executive Director
Stand for Children Colorado

Leah Sutton

Vice President of Policy & Engagement

Lisa Lazare

State Director
Educators for Excellence Boston

MacKenzie Stroh Hines

Chief of Staff
Mississippi First

Matthew Pahl

Executive Director
Public Charter Schools of New Mexico

McKenzie Allen

Executive Director
Maryland Alliance of Public Charter Schools

Natalie Tovani-Walchuk

Founding Executive Director
GO Public Schools West Contra Costa

Nathan Hoffman

Director of State Policy and Legislative Strategy
American Federation for Children

Nicholas Banovetz

Executive Director
Better Way Foundation

Paula Cole

Executive Director
Educators for Excellence-Minnesota

Shannon Hodge


Tim Langan

Chief Operating Officer
National Parents Union and Massachusetts Parents United

Tom Greene

Vice President of Advocacy

Brigitte Blom Ramsey

Executive Director
Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

Catharine Bellinger

CityBridge Action Fund

Claire Goebel

Strategic Growth & Development
Engaging Inquiry

Courtney Boswell MacDonald

Board Member
Texas State Board for Educator Certification

Dale Chu

Senior Visiting Fellow
Thomas B. Fordham Institute

David Powell

Senior Consultant
Education First

Erin Hart

Senior Vice President and Chief of Policy and Community Impact
Education Forward AZ

Gina Mahony

Domer Consulting, LLC

Hamida Labi

Policy Counsel
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc

J. Alex Kelly

Deputy Chief of Staff
Governor Ron DeSantis

Jamie O’Leary

Associate Director of Policy
Crane Center for Early Childhood Research & Policy at Ohio State University

Jeani Frickey Saito

System Director, Government Relations and Policy
SCL Health

Juan Gonzalez

Pathways Director
Education Systems Center

Madeleine Bayard

Senior Vice President
Rodel Foundation of Delaware

Mary Cypress Metz

Vice President of Programs
Tennessee SCORE

Peter Franzen

Associate Executive Director
Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri

Rachel Amankulor

Director of Advocacy
Charter School Growth Fund

Sanford Johnson

Executive Director
Teach Plus Mississippi

Sarah Lillis

Executive Director
Teach Plus California

Sean Andersen

Founding Partner
P.A.C.E. Strategies

Sean Matteson

Chief of Staff
City of New Haven, CT

Seth Litt

PresidentVice President of Public Affairs
Bryson Gillette

Tonia Holowetzki

Deputy Director
Public and Government Affairs, Clackamas County

A One-of-a-Kind Experience

The Leadership Institute complements other Network opportunities (which tend to focus on policy topics in education) by reaching entirely outside of education for lessons from other sectors that sharpen advocacy strategy, pushing participants to think bigger about political influence. Each convening provides a mix of case-based discussions of political campaigns, experiential learning opportunities, and connection to expertise related to the arts of influence and political strategy.

Past participants have reflected that the relationships built among their cohorts were as powerful as the content, and that they have created meaningful connections and lasting professional relationships that have extended well beyond the three meetings.

How to Participate

The Leadership Institute is open to executive directors of PIE Network member and partner organizations, as well as individuals in strong “number two” positions. The experience is best suited for leaders who have distinguished expertise in advocacy, organizing, and policy in education, and are hungry for broader insights from other sectors that further sharpen their abilities as strategists and influencers. We seek a balance in each cohort across the different types of organizations and approaches to advocacy, considering the depth and complexity of experiences and perspectives applicants bring to the mix.

If there are more applicants than we can accommodate, we consider first the insights and qualifications put forth in potential participants’ applications. We also consider the balance noted above, as well as the potential ideological, gender, ethnic, and geographic diversity that a potential participant brings to the mix. (Note that organizations that have not yet participated are prioritized over those that have, if demand is high.) We also prioritize the participation of executive directors, but will ensure a mix of other roles in order to bring a range of perspectives. Finally, we seek evidence of an applicant’s commitment to being a leader within the broader Network in an ongoing way; leaders and organizations that consistently engage and actively participate in other PIE Network opportunities are considered some of the strongest applicants.

Commitment & Cost

Each cohort meets three times in person over the course of a year. Most costs associated with the experience (program, hotel, etc.) will be covered by the PIE Network, thanks to the generosity of our funding partners. Participating Network organizations are asked to cover their flights for the three meetings, with a limited number of scholarships available based on an organization’s budget and demonstrated need. Participants are expected to fully invest their time and energy in each meeting.


We plan to open applications for Cohort 10 in 2025. Interested in learning more? Reach out to [email protected].