Leadership development for excellent, integrated schools

DCSC launched the UnifiED Explorer program to develop and build the bench of future school leaders. The UnifiED Explorer program will prepare leaders of charter, district, and independent schools to deliver an excellent, integrated education in their respective communities while growing the movement for integrated schools nationwide.

Hear from a previous Explorer

“I joined DCSC’s UnifiED Explorer program as part of cohort three.While it’s early in my experience, I’ve been excited to visit schools outside of my area and learn from the leaders who are experiencing similar pain points. Having an equity focused lens for serving students is of particular interest and outside of the normal day to day problem solving framework used with peers. Based on what I learn in Explorers, I plan to dig deeply into our enrollment and recruitment processes to increase the enrollment of underrepresented ethnic groups in my school. I am sure the intentional work through UnifiED Explores will deepen our impact at Global Preparatory Academy in Indianapolis, IN.”

– Mariama Shaheed, Explorer with support from The Mind Trust

This year’s Explorer cohort!

Our 2024 Explorer cohort

Fellow School Location
Veronica Palacio Matchbook Learning Indianapolis, IN
Ryan Gall Victory College Prep Indianapolis, IN
Ashley Estis Osprey Wilds Minneapolis, MN
Sami Hyde Circle City College Prep Indianapolis, IN
Vita Johnson Opportunity 180 Las Vegas, NV
Lori Lausche Larchmont Charter School Los Angeles, CA
Jeff Mayo Matchbook Learning Indianapolis, IN
Sean Moore Matchbook Learning Indianapolis, IN
Christina Perry Black, Latin, Asian Charter Collaborative New York, NY
Mariama Shaheed Global Prep Academy Indianapolis, IN

Announcing this year’s Explorer cohort!

Gina Bianchi, Lycee Francais (New Orleans)
I look forward to learning from other leaders and their experiences about best practices in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Kim Connor-Davis, Lycee Francais (New Orleans)


Caroline Gifford, Washington Latin (Washington DC)
I chose to be an Explorer this year because I believe deeply in the power and promise of racially and socioeconomically integrated schools and I want to learn more from other schools that are providing a diverse group of students with a high quality education.”


Raymond Mullings, Washington Latin (Washington DC)
I believe children benefit greatly from intentionally diverse schools and I recognize communities are stronger when we come together in support of a shared goal. This is why I choose to be an Explorer.”


Melissa Ramirez, Nevada Rise (Las Vegas)
I am invested in the community that I serve and I am excited to continue to build and support my school and community with the knowledge and experiences I gain from being an Explorer.”


Robin Spence, Washington Latin (Washington DC)
I’m eager to participate in the Explorer program, which will help me to learn from and collaborate with leaders who share my belief that intentionally diverse schools not only offer students a rich educational experience, but also develop more empathetic and thoughtful students capable of working effectively across differences.”


Stephanie Wong, Red Rock Elementary (Las Vegas)
I chose to be an Explorer to learn more about diversifying my school and including the community as we work together for our families.”

Theory of Action

unifiED: Theory of Action chart for DCSC Explorers

Cross sector, cohort-based collaboration

Explorers participate in monthly, cross-sector, cross-region cohort calls. The cohort calls follow a dilemma protocol and provide Explorers the opportunity to collaborate and learn in a diverse environment.

unifiED: Tailored residency
unifiED: Access to experts and resources

Access to experts and resources

The Explorer program arms Explorers with broad access to experts and resources. Experts from across the Coalition and its partners lead all workshops and excellent school visits.

Exposure to exemplary models

Explorers are exposed to exemplary diverse-by-design models – including models of anti-bias curriculum and instruction, social-emotional-learning, and building diverse, equitable, and inclusive school communities – from across the Coalition. Explorers visit at least 12 schools during three excellent school visits across the country.

unifiED: Exposure to exemplary models
unifiED: Coordinate for individualized learning

Application of learning

Explorers apply their learning at their school of employment, designing and executing a school-specific project. For example, an Explorer might redesign curriculum to incorporate Universal Design Learning, launch a staff-lead equity team, or implement restorative disciplinary practices. 

UnifiED Explorer Program Timeline

Exposure to exemplary modelsWelcome

Virtual Excellent School Visits
New York City
Excellent School Visits
Access to experts & resourcesAnnual Convening
Cross-sector, cohort-based collaborationMonthly, cross-sector, cross-region, cohort calls
Application of LearningExplorers apply their learning at their school of employment, designing and executing a school-specific application of learning project
unifiED School Launch Program

We catalyze and support the creation of high-quality diverse public charter schools through strategic research, advocacy, membership activities, and outreach.

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