Board of Directors
The Reverend Doctor Kendrick E. Curry (Chair)
Pastor Curry—in his 13th year as Senior Pastor of The Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church—is active in the faith community and the community at-large, seeking to bring a faith-based perspective to the pressing challenges of our day. In addition to pastoring, Pastor Curry has worked as a research engineer for the Union Carbide Corporation (now Dow Chemical), a Program Director of the prestigious NASA/Harriett G. Jenkins Predoctoral Fellowship Program which is administered by the United Negro College Fund Special Programs Corporation, and an Associate Research Director and adjunct faculty member at West Virginia State University. He has also worked as a small business owner with projects in chemical, materials, and environmental engineering and in the development and implementation of educational programming for youth and adults.
Pastor Curry holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Prairie View A&M University, an MS and a Ph.D in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and a M.Div (Masters of Divinity) from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. Pastor Curry has studied at The Shalem Institute of Spiritual Formation of Washington, DC and was trained as a community organizer at the renowned Midwest Academy for Social Organizing of Chicago. He is currently a D.Min. (Doctor of Ministry) student in Worship and Congregational Formation at Northern Theological Seminary near Chicago.
Pastor Curry has served as the Interim Executive Director Minister of the District of Columbia Baptist Convention and serves on the Creation Care and Peace and Justice Commissions for the Baptist World Alliance. He has been a leader on the Mayor’s Interfaith Council for three different mayors, and he serves on the Stoddard Baptist Nursing Home Board of Directors where he chairs the Human Resources Committee. Pastor Curry serves on the Executive Committee for the DC State office of AARP. He has also served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) and the UDC Foundation. Pastor Curry is a trustee of the Leland Center for Theological Studies and a member of the Board of Directors of DC Water.
Pastor Curry was awarded the 2013 Wilhelmina Rolark Outstanding Citizen Award by the Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO and the 2013 Community Service/Partnership Award by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. He is happily married to the Reverend Karen Whitney Curry and is the proud father of two wonderful children.
Josh is a Deputy Director on the K-12 team within the US Program focused on increasing the number of Black, Latinx, and low-income students who earn a high school diploma, enroll in a post-secondary institution, and are on track in their first year to attain a credential with labor market value.
Before becoming a Deputy Director, Josh was a Senior Program Officer on the k-12 team supporting efforts to prepare students for college and career success in Tennessee and Florida. Previous to this “state lead” role at Gates, Josh oversaw the 7-year, 90M investment in teacher effectiveness in the Memphis City/Shelby County Schools. He was also the lead program officer developing knowledge about principal leadership for 11 districts/CMOs. Before Gates, Josh was the Deputy Chief of School Innovation (OSI) for the DC Public Schools. OSI oversaw efforts to support and empower 58 DC public schools through the infusion of unique programmatic elements targeting student investment and achievement.
Prior to working at DC Public Schools, Josh was the Executive Officer of the Office of New Schools (ONS) at Chicago Public Schools, which worked to recruit, develop, and support new schools and ultimately, hold them accountable to high performance measures. He has also held various leadership positions at The SEED Foundation, first on the board of directors, then as principal of The SEED School, a public charter boarding school in Washington DC. Josh also taught for ten years before working with SEED. He taught social studies for three years at Milton Academy in Massachusetts and seven years at Menlo-Atherton High School in Atherton, California where he was also the founder and Executive Director for RISE (Realizing Intellect through Self-Empowerment), a youth development program targeted at African-American youth.
Josh has a bachelor’s degree in American history from Harvard University, a master’s degree in education from Stanford University, and a second master’s in educational administration with an administrative credential, also from Stanford University. Josh has received fellowships from the Mellon Foundation and Echoing Green and has served on the boards of Breakthrough Collaborative, Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning, City Year DC, EL Haynes Public Charter School, the Maya Angelou Public Charter School, the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools and The SEED Foundation. Josh was also a MENtor for Real Men Read in Chicago.
Andrew D. Klingenstein (Treasurer)
Andy is an education philanthropist and private investor. He leads, or co-leads, four family foundations, including two with interests in independent and public education. As President of the Esther A. and Joseph Klingenstein Fund, he helps advise and oversee the operations of the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College, Columbia University. In addition, he has overseen the fund’s support of education mentoring programs serving low-income children. Together with his wife, Julie, Andy also manages a family foundation, which has supported public education in the District of Columbia, including both public charter and traditional public schools. He and his wife are active members of the DC public education reform community.
Andy has spent many years investing in, and providing legal and business assistance to, companies in the healthcare and technology fields, including education technology companies. He has served on the boards of numerous for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations, including City Collegiate Charter School, the Edmund Burke School (which he chaired), and LearnZillion, an education technology company. Before making private investments on his own, he was a principal and co-founder of Fairfax Partners, a Virginia-based venture capital firm specializing in the creation and management of companies in healthcare and information technology. Andy previously served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. Prior to his tenure as a federal prosecutor, he was an associate at Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells) practicing in the firm’s commercial litigation section. Andy holds a B.A. from Yale University in Classical Civilization and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. He and his wife have four daughters and live in Washington, D.C.
Maura is the Chief Executive Officer of Education Forward DC. Maura previously served as the Managing Partner of the DC Schools Fund at NewSchools Venture Fund. Prior to joining NewSchools, she served as Program Director and Lead Teacher at East Palo Alto High School, a charter school in Northern California founded by Aspire Public Schools. During graduate school, Maura worked on the Network Growth Team at the KIPP Foundation, implementing their national growth strategy. Maura sits on the board of directors for DC Prep, and Ingenuity Prep Public Charter Schools, The Equity Lab as well as Education Board Partners. Maura earned a BA with honors in American Studies from Stanford University, an MA in teaching secondary social studies from Columbia University, and an MBA from Harvard University.
Ariana has spent her career doing policy and advocacy work focusing on youth at-risk, English language learner students, and vulnerable District residents. Ariana is currently a division manager overseeing state functions at the DC Child & Family Services Agency. Prior to that, she was Vice President of Otero Strategy Group, LLC, a public policy consulting firm focusing on education, health, human services and community development.
Ariana has been closely involved with education reform efforts in the District of Columbia since the early 1990s when, as a law student, she began working with adjudicated youth and those in the child welfare system. In 2011 she shifted her focus when she served as the chief of staff to the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services for the Government of the District of Columbia. Prior to that, Ariana worked for Friends of Choice in Urban Schools (FOCUS), Fight For Children, the DC Public Charter School Association, the National Council of La Raza (now UnidosUS), the Latino Civil Rights Task Force, and she served as an AmeriCorps member with Public Allies DC. Ariana has served on numerous boards and committees including the DC Cross-Sector Collaboration Task Force, the After School Dance Fund, DC Public Charter School Board, Children’s National Medical Center Committee on Advocacy and Public Policy, and the Time Dollar Institute as well as various DC Public Schools and public charter school parent-teacher organizations and advisory bodies.
Ariana holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park in graphic design and mass communication and a J.D. from the District of Columbia School of Law. Ariana lives in the District with her husband and is the proud parent of one daughter and several foster sons.
Shivam Mallick Shah
Shivam Mallick Shah has worked in the private, philanthropic, government and nonprofit sectors, and brings a multidisciplinary lens to her work as a leading advisor on matters of strategy and innovation in education. She recently served as a senior advisor to the Education team at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), providing counsel on a broad range of organizational and investment matters focused on promoting equality and unlocking human potential.
Previously, Shivam led E.L. Haynes Public Charter School as the Interim Executive Director. She also worked at the US Department of Education where she ran the inaugural Investing in Innovation (i3) fund. Shivam also served as a Deputy Director on the Education team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she managed the foundation’s work with the NYC and Boston public schools. Earlier in her career, Shivam worked at NewSchools Venture Fund, management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, and the investment bank Bear Stearns.
Shivam is a graduate of Georgetown University, the London School of Economics, and Harvard Business School. She lives in Washington DC with her husband, Dr. Raj Shah, and their three young children.
Abigail Smith (Secretary)
Abigail Smith has spent her entire career focused on improving quality, equity, and access in public education. She currently works as an independent consultant, supporting a range of education-focused organizations in advancing their missions through strategic planning, organizational development, program design, and executive coaching. Her clients span the non-profit, public, and philanthropic sectors. Abigail also co-leads the Seeding Disruption Fellowship in the District of Columbia, which builds knowledge, skills, and community across racial difference and professional fields, with a focus on disrupting systems of racial inequity that directly impact children and youth.
From 2012-14 she served as Deputy Mayor for Education in the District of Columbia. Under her leadership, the office of the Deputy Mayor launched a common application and lottery for charter and district public schools, undertook the first comprehensive revision of student assignment policies and school boundaries in over 40 years, developed and implemented a new student funding formula that directs additional resources to at-risk students, and oversaw the process for awarding former DCPS buildings to public charter schools.
Abigail previously served as the Chief of Transformation Management for the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). During her four years at DCPS, her diverse portfolio included strategic planning for the school district, early-childhood education, the Race to the Top program, school closures and consolidations, and the district’s SchoolStat performance management process.
Abigail spent 12 years with Teach For America, including running the Washington, DC office, overseeing pre-service training and ongoing support for all Teach For America corps members, and ultimately serving as Vice President of Research and Public Policy for the national organization. She began her career as a first-grade teacher in Weldon, North Carolina.
Gabrielle is a founding Partner at The City Fund, a non-profit that partners with cities to build innovative public school systems. In her role, Gabrielle supports local city education leaders across the nation in expanding opportunities for students in public schools.
Prior to joining The City Fund, Gabrielle was the Chief Strategy Officer at Civic Builders. A non-profit focused on solving the facilities challenge for high quality charter schools, Gabrielle led the organization’s partnership with the Walton Family Foundation to launch two national facilities to support growing operators. Gabrielle is the former Executive Director of Strategy for Newark Public Schools, New Jersey’s largest school district. In this role, Gabrielle led the strategic planning and implementation of universal enrollment, portfolio strategy and innovation, and financial strategy. The district’s focus on increasing opportunities for students in public schools resulted in dramatic improvements in student progress.
Previously, Gabrielle was the Associate Director of Portfolio Planning at the NYCDOE. A Baltimore native, Gabrielle began her career as a member of the Baltimore County Public Schools Board of Education. Gabrielle is a proud graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the Harvard Kennedy School.
Gabrielle credits her parents, both Baltimore educators, with instilling in her a passion to pursue educational equity and excellence for all students.