Mashea Ashton is the Founder and CEO of Digital Pioneers Academy, a new charter school proposed for Washington, DC in Fall 2018. Mashea recently returned back to the Washington, DC area after spending the last 20 years implementing and scaling the best practices in urban education across the country, after starting her career as a special education teacher in Williamsburg, Va and Washington, DC.
Most recently, Mashea served as the CEO of the Newark Charter School Fund, where she oversaw a $48 million initiative to support the quality growth of charter schools. Under Mashea’s leadership, Newark’s charter sector grew from 8% to an estimated 30% of the children in Newark’s public schools in 2016, while being ranked the second highest performing charter sector in the country, according to Stanford University’s 2015 CREDO study. Mashea has previously served as the executive director for the New York Program and senior advisor for charter school policy for New Leaders for New Schools. Mashea has also served as the executive director for Charter Schools for the New York City Department of Education, and the national director of recruitment and selection for the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP).
Mashea serves on the boards of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School, National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools, National Charter School Resource Center, and Eagle Academy Foundation Advisory Board. She has been honored as the New Jersey Charter Champion for Advocacy by the New Jersey Charter Schools Association, the First Lady of Charter Schools by Marion P. Thomas Charter School, the Shirley Chisholm Trailblazer by SHE Wins LLC, a Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow by the Aspen Institute, and as an Education Award recipient from Leadership Newark. Mashea is a frequent speaker and panelist for charter school and education reform advocacy organizations around the country. Mashea has a M.Ed. in special education with an emphasis on learning disabilities and emotional disturbance, and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and elementary education from the College of William and Mary. She and her husband Kendrick are the proud parents of twins who are in kindergarten.