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​Incubating the next generation of leaders 

Education Forward DC
Education Forward DC

“Education Pioneers was like the family I needed to re-instill the confidence and courage that I knew was in me, so I could make the transition into a career in education,” said Malaika Ogukwe. 

Education Pioneers builds the knowledge and capacity of new education leaders through its fellowship program that matches early career fellows with high-impact projects at local education organizations. As a Marketing and Communications Fellow, Malaika served at Rocketship Public Schools DC, where she developed and implemented communications and outreach strategies to engage parents and families. 

Rocketship is a national network of elementary schools serving underserved communities across California, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Washington, DC. 

During her 10-week summer fellowship, Malaika helped to increase the organization’s capacity to provide timely and engaging communications with school communities. She also worked to persuade leaders of the value of using social media to connect with parents and families outside of school walls.   

“I think I was able to convince school leaders of the importance of meeting parents and families where they are, which is on social media,” said Malaika.  

She helped school leaders implement social media strategies, including developing fun, short videos for Rocketship’s Back to School campaign. She also created tools to help schools launch and maintain their own newsletters.  

“As I learned some of the pain points of our families, it was people feeling like they didn’t know who leadership was or who was with their kids day in and day out,” she said. “I wanted to create some communications that would make people feel seen and heard in our school community, and try to make it more fun, more engaging, and more mutual.”  

Through the fellowship experience, Malaika cultivated an interest in curriculum development, organizational development, school culture, and coaching. Next, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in education.  

The monthly convenings with her Education Pioneers cohort offered a source of support and community, and provided space for deep learning. Together, the fellows explored their individual leadership styles, addressed their own biases and privilege, and learned about the educational policies and governance issues, economic and cultural issues, and challenges within DC’s educational ecosystem.  

“I can’t speak enough about the investment that our facilitators made in us, and the investment the other fellows made in each other,” said Malaika. “We were all so invested in each other’s growth, that I want all of them to win.”  

Ed Forward DC invests in future education leaders such as Malaika through our support of the innovative Education Pioneers fellowship program.  

“Education Forward DC’s investment has helped to catalyze Education Pioneers’ relaunch of local cohorts in Washington, DC,” said Melissa Wu, Chief Executive Officer of Education Pioneers.  

“Over 500 alumni of Education Pioneers currently serve as leaders across all levels of the DC public education ecosystem. We are grateful for Education Forward DC’s support, which not only provided critical seed funding, but also included helpful thought partnership and network connections as we rebuild authentic relationships locally.” 

Education Forward DC
Education Forward DC

Every DC student deserves to thrive.