Media Release: BES Grows and Diversifies Its Leadership

New Hires and Promotions Will Help School Leaders Build, Excel, Sustain  

Boston, MA – BES is proud to announce several external hires and internal promotions that will grow its leadership team, ensuring a diversity of perspectives and experience. These seasoned education leaders bring unique gifts and insights that will continue BES’ critical work in identifying and preparing excellent leaders to transform education in their communities. These team members fully support BES’ newly articulated mission and have a track record of centering equity in their work, building systems and processes that prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion. 

At the executive level, Gina Musumeci joined the organization as chief program officer in July as the fourth member of the BES leadership team. Leading programs will be Dawn Griffin, who will become the senior co-director of the BES Fellowship alongside Erin Walsh-Hagan, who has recently served as the assistant director of the Fellowship. BES leadership coaches Aidin Carey and Jabari Peddie have been promoted to serve as senior co-directors of LENS, supporting new and emerging school leaders. Additionally, Sundiata Salaam and Dr. Chaundria Smith are joining the team as senior directors of leadership development, providing support to school founders. More about the entire BES team at

“The BES team believes deeply in the power of strong school and system leaders to create, evolve and nurture excellent schools for all students,” said BES CEO Aasimah Navlakhi. “Our new and newly empowered team members are champions of BES’ strategic direction. We could not be more excited for the months and years ahead.”

More on BES’ new team members is as follows:

  • Gina Musumeci, chief program officer, will oversee the senior leadership of all BES programs dedicated to supporting existing school leaders and professionals interested in founding public schools. Before joining BES, Musumeci was a consultant for school and district leaders in the US and UK, and coaching leaders through post-COVID school re-opening.
  • Sundiata Salaam joined BES as a senior director of leadership development, coaching BES leaders in their planning years and first two years of operation as part of BES’ Follow On Support team. Salaam was most recently the chief people officer at BES Fellow-founded Freedom Prep in Memphis, TN.
  • Dr. Chaundria Smith will serve as senior director of leadership development on BES’ Fellowship team. Dr. Smith brings an array of school leadership experience across diverse school models. Under her leadership, John Hay Early College was named one of the top 25 high schools in Ohio by the U.S. News and World Report.
  • Dawn Griffin will serve as a senior co-director of the BES Fellowship, providing coaching and training to BES Fellows during their training year. Griffin has held a diverse range of leadership roles throughout her career, including founder of her own consulting firm.

More on the promotions within the BES team:

  • Erin Walsh-Hagan will serve as senior co-director of the Fellowship with Griffin. Walsh-Hagan has been a part of the BES Fellowship team for several years, most recently serving as the Fellowship’s assistant director. Prior to joining BES, she managed school principals for the UP Education Network.
  • BES coaches Aidin Carey and Jabari Peddie now serve as senior co-directors of LENS. In this role, the two will design programming, lead training, and coach leaders to take on heightened leadership roles in their schools. 
    • Carey has provided Follow On Support to BES leaders and BES schools both in their planning year and after they open. She’s also led BES open-enrollment and customized Leadership Intensives.
    • Peddie joined BES in 2020 to support Fellows to design and found schools across the US. He previously served as a school administrator and founding principal of one of the largest turnaround initiatives in Boston, MA.


About BES

Since 2001, BES has identified and prepared more than 2,500 excellent leaders to transform education in their communities. From serving three states at its inception through the flagship BES Fellowship, to working in more than seven times that many currently, BES has evolved its offerings beyond school founding, supporting leaders at every stage of their journey to lead schools that reflect and respond to community need. In 2019, BES renewed its focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, resulting in a new strategic plan. Today BES stands for its aspiration for every school: Build, Excel, Sustain. Learn more at