PAVE's Executive Director: 
Maya Martin

PAVE's Founder and Executive Director Shares the Organization's Vision for DC's Education System

"In our vision for education in DC, PAVE reimagines the education system to consist of high quality school options being supported and created not just for but by and with parents and communities, for long-term, long-lasting, and positive effect for children."
PAVE knows that when parents are able to share their voices together, children win. In the current education system, charter families have no clear avenue to share their voices. While DC public charter schools educate close to 50% of public school students in the city (38,905 children and youth in the 2015-16SY), the voices of their families are absent in city policy and charter school families are often unaware of the policies that are being created that significantly impact the schools which their children attend.
After a series of breakfasts and luncheons in January/February with seven Councilmembers for National School Choice Week 2016, PAVE was founded by a group of committed parent leaders to fill that void, by unifying charter parents who otherwise remain disconnected, and advocating for a parent-driven policy agenda to strengthen the DC education sector and ensure that all parents in the city feel the agency to impact policy and increase access to high quality school options.

In the next year, PAVE will give our city’s charter parents the tools with which to advocate for education policy change in their communities. In our vision for education in DC, PAVE reimagines the education system to consist of high quality school options being supported and created not just for but by and with parents and communities, for long-term, long-lasting, and positive effect for children. We hope that you will join us as we work to model the power of parent voice in our city and advance equity and excellence in our educational policy.


PAVE is proud to have an all parent governing board in order to ensure that the organization is rooted in the needs of families. Board members represent parents from a variety of professional, cultural, and regional backgrounds across DC:

Desiree Hoffman, Board Chair, Ward 8, DC Prep (Anacostia)
Deanna Troust, Board Vice Chair, Ward 1, DC International and Oyster-Adams
LaJoy Johnson-Law, Board Secretary, Ward 8, Rocketship
Suzie Parsons, Board Treasurer, Ward 1, DC International and EW Stokes
Erika Harrell, Advocacy Committee Chair, Ward 7, DC Prep (Edgewood) and Two Rivers (Young)
Joy Russell, Board Member, Ward 1, Mundo Verde
Cecily Miles Slater, Board Member, Ward 5, BASIS and Capital City
Lulu Talley, Board Member, Ward 8, BASIS
Desiree Hoffman

A Ward 8 Parent and Chair of PAVE's Founding Board Talks about Being a Parent Leader with PAVE

"It is exciting to be involved in a new organization, to dream big and think out loud about how we move our city towards an excellent education for all children together, and to have that organization be led by parents with all of our children at the center of our work."

"Last school year, I joined a meeting with my Ward 8 Councilmember and Ward 8 charter parents for National School Choice Week. We shared our charter school experiences and discussed the importance of education for our children. It was amazing to hear so many powerful stories of committed parents who are strong advocates for their children. I have a passion for advocacy and education, so when the opportunity presented itself to help lead the organization that grew out of that work, PAVE (Parents Amplifying Voices in Education), I jumped right in. 

When I moved to Ward 8 in Southeast Washington, DC, I truly wanted to give a school in my neighborhood a chance because too many people make snap judgments about Ward 8 and its education system. After extensive research and open houses, I chose DC Prep because of the stellar curriculum, collaborative administration, and quality of care provided by the teachers. It was the right choice for me and my son. It is so important for me to have that choice and have a range of options because my son’s growth and development mean everything! Being involved in PAVE gives me another forum to be a strong advocate for my family's school of choice, my community, and my son.

PAVE also affords me the opportunity to network with other parents from charter schools across the District. We share a common bond which is that we want what is best for all of our children. It is exciting to be involved in a new organization, to dream big and think out loud about how we move our city towards an excellent education for all children together, and to have that organization be led by parents with all of our children at the center of our work."

As the Chairwoman of the PAVE Board of Directors, which is made up entirely of parents, I am consistently given the opportunity to raise my concerns about the quality of education my son receives and highlight best practices that should be built upon in front of the elected officials and policymakers who make key decisions about education issues, specifically those impacting charter schools.

Welcoming Councilmember At-Large Robert White!
PAVE was fortunate to meet with Councilmember Robert White (@RobertWhite_DC) on his first day in office. Our advocates engaged in a productive and informative dialogue on how to improve education for students in their communities and across the District. Councilmember White voiced support for several of PAVE'S priorities, proving to be a valuable ally in our journey towards equitable and excellent education for our children. View agenda and notes here.

"The children we educate today will be the Councilmember of Ward 4 tomorrow." 
Hosting a House Meeting with Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd

At the home of Ward 4 parent and State Board of Education (Ward 4) candidate Lannette Woodruff (@Lannette4Ward4), PAVE met with Councilmember Brandon Todd (@brandonttodd) to gain insight into his plans to build a robust education community in DC. Councilmember Todd took questions from our advocates regarding school transit safety, connecting teachers to the communities they serve, and bridging the achievement gap. He also outlined several policy strategies that put quality education for all students and input from the constituents as top priorities. View agenda and notes here.
Meeting with Ward 7 Council Candidate and Former Mayor Vincent Gray
This summer, PAVE's Advocacy Committee met with council candidate and former mayor Vincent Gray (@mayorvincegray) at the home of Erika and Lamont Harrell. PAVE's Ward 7 parents shared the issues important to them, such as equitable funding allotment and student safety. Former Mayor Gray shared his support and work on behalf of giving families access to high quality schools, including resources for charter school extracurricular activities, early childhood development programs, and facilities funding. View agenda and notes here.

Above: PAVE parent leaders pictured with former Mayor Vincent Gray.
Discussing Education with Councilmember At-Large and Committee on Education Chair David Grosso

Over the summer, PAVE parents met with Councilmember David Grosso (@GrossoAtLarge), who spoke about the Committee on Education's priorities. PAVE inquired about Grosso's stance on funding allocation for charter school facilities and the status of legislation and policy affecting Safe Passage for students. Grosso gave our parents information on what was being done to serve their education needs and how they could learn about policies affecting the District. View agenda and notes here.
Do you want to share your perspective on DC education policies? We encourage you to testify at a committee hearing or urge a youth you know to advocate at one of the following opportunities! PAVE can provide you with resources and assistance with drafting and presenting an effective testimony. Reach out to us at for more information!
Upcoming Testimony Opportunities:

Education on Committee Public Hearing: At-Risk Funding for Public Schools

Thursday, October 27, 2016 10am

If you are interested in testifying on behalf of this critical issue, please contact the PAVE team at and we can support you to submit your testimony.
Upcoming Youth Testimony Opportunities:

Education Public Roundtable: Issues Facing District of Columbia Youth (individuals aged 21 and younger)

Thursday, October 13, 2016 12pm

Ward 8 Parent Operator Selection Team (Ward 8 POST)

There is land that will be made available for a school to operate adjacent to Bolling Air Force Base in Ward 8. This new school will serve military families and families from the community. 50% of the seats will be reserved for military families and the others will be available for open enrollment through the lottery. A panel of parents is being convened to make a recommendation for the school that will operate on this land. The panel will consist of 50% community representatives and 50% military families working collaboratively on the school selection process. PAVE and FOCUS DC are working together to create a first-of-its-kind community RFP and selection process for the operator and PAVE strongly encourages interested parents to apply and share your voice. You can complete an application online at http:/ or request a paper application by emailing Raven Willoughby, Community Engagement Manager at Ward 8 POST, at

Other Upcoming Events and Opportunities:
  • October 18: DC Association of Chartered Public Schools - Public Charter School Day at the DC Council (1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW); view flyer here
  • October 25: Office of the Deputy Mayor of Education Cross Sector Task Force (Location TBD); more information here
Please contact us at for more information!
Keep in touch! Sign up to join the PAVE listserv here.
Do you have events and opportunities to share with the PAVE network? Email us at to add events to our November newsletter.

PAVE (Parents Amplifying Voices in Education) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that connects, trains, and empowers charter parent leaders to give families in DC a voice and a choice in the vision for education in our city. The goal of PAVE is to create an education system in DC where parents are partners and leaders in developing a diversity of safe, nurturing, and great school options for every child in every ward and community.
Copyright © 2016 Parents Amplifying Voices in Education, All rights reserved.