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

We are so excited to announce that the Board of Directors of the National Charter Collaborative has selected Naomi N. Shelton as Chief Executive Officer! Naomi will assume her role in January 2021.


Naomi’s career as a leader in the education sector spans policy, advocacy and programmatic initiatives with a deep focus on both K-12 and post-secondary education. Most recently, she led community engagement efforts at the KIPP Foundation where she defined and executed strategic partnerships in support of KIPP schools and communities across the country. Prior, she spent seven years as the Director of K-12 Advocacy with the UNCF (United Negro College Fund) where she established and raised funds to expand the UNCF’s K-12 initiative working with HBCUs and strategic partners including civil rights and faith-based organizations.


Naomi is nationally known and respected as a vocal advocate for charter schools to expand quality choice options for Black and Brown students and families. She is an esteemed volunteer board member of the Washington DC Public Charter School Board which is one of the highest quality authorizing boards in the country in a city where more than 40% of students attend charter schools. Click here to read the full announcement.

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


Nardos Ghebreab


Founder of NG Equity Ed Consulting, LLC

Vice Chair, Amateka College Prep — Washington, DC

Board Member, FAN (Fihankra Akoma Ntoaso) – Washington, DC

our board

  • Dr. Laura McGowan-Robinson
    Dr. Laura McGowan-Robinson Board President

    CEO – Diversity In Leadership Institute

  • William Haft
    William Haft

    Managing Partner – Tandem Learning Partners

  • Ted Thompson
    Ted Thompson

    Chief Program Officer – iMentor

  • Peggy McLeod, Ed.D.
    Peggy McLeod, Ed.D.

    Vice President Education, Workforce Development, and Evaluation – UNIDOS

  • Tania de Sa Campos
    Tania de Sa Campos Board Treasurer

    Deputy Chief of State Operations – Democrats For Education Reform

  • Ronald Rice
    Ronald Rice

    Senior Director, Government Relations – National Alliance For Public Charter Schools

  • Daniela Anello
    Daniela Anello

    Head of School – DC Billingual

  • Rafiq Kalam Id-Din II Esq
    Rafiq Kalam Id-Din II Esq

    Cofounder, Managing Partner – Ember Charter School for Mindful Education, Innovation and Transformation