it all started with

two friends wanting
to help school leaders of color

Create and Operate Schools Where Black and Brown Students Get the Best in Education.


Kim Smith and Trish Dziko met in 2013 on a shuttle ride from the airport to their very first Aspen Pahara Fellowship meeting. Little did they know then that they would co-found a nonprofit at the end of the fellowship.

The Pahara Fellowship requires Fellows to create a project that leaves an impact. Kim and Trish both had an affinity for schools started by leaders of color in black and brown communities that focused on the local students and families.

Fast-forward to 2015, they decided to create a collaborative to support single-site charter schools led by people of color so the schools could have the support they needed to foster success in their students. Having a loose framework in hand, they submitted their project idea at the last Fellowship session.

Kim and Trish live on opposite coasts (and they each have demanding full time jobs), so they committed to meeting via video conference every Sunday until the project was fully shaped. They used their networks to conduct research and crystallize the project. Right about that time the New Schools Venture Fund (NSVF) opened their Diverse Leaders Portfolio, and Kim and Trish submitted a proposal. NSVF provided the seed funding and resources for development of a business plan, and the NCC was registered as a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

In 2016 the National Charter Collaborative (NCC) made its official debut at the National Charter Schools Conference by hosting a workshop. With additional investments, NCC was able to expand our reach and hire full time staff. In June 2018, the NCC hosted the first national convening of charter leaders of color — over 110 leaders attended. In November 2018, Lauren Bryant joined as NCC’s first director.


our team


Kim Smith


Executive Director League of Innovative Schools, Digital Promise

Former Board Chair, Arts and Technology Academy — Washington, DC

Former Board Member, BAEO

Spring 2013 Aspen-Pahara Cohort Fellow


Trish Millines Dziko


Co-Founder and Executive Director, Technology Access Foundation

Appointed Member, Washington State Charter Commission

Appointed Member, Seattle Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise Plan Oversight Committee

Spring 2013 Aspen-Pahara Cohort Fellow


Lauren Bryant


Founder of StartOps

2019 Nexus Fellow

Former Chair, Young Friends of DC Scholars (2012-2014)


Nardos Ghebreab

Program Manager


Malliron Hodge

Program Manager, Manati Fellowship

our board

  • Dr. Laura McGowan-Robinson
    Dr. Laura McGowan-Robinson Chief Operating Officer

    California Charter Schools Association

  • William Haft
    William Haft Managing Partner

    Tandem Learning Partners

  • Mashea Ashton
    Mashea Ashton CEO, Founder

    Digital Pioneers Academy

  • Todd Ziebarth
    Todd Ziebarth Senior Vice President for State Advocacy

    National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

  • Ted Thompson
    Ted Thompson Vice President of Engagement & Implementation

    Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship

  • David Hardy
    David Hardy Philadelphia Schools Advocacy Partners

    and Founder, Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia

  • Peggy McLeod, Ed.D.
    Peggy McLeod, Ed.D. Vice President Education, Workforce Development, and Evaluation