Morty Ballen, CEO and Founder

After teaching in Louisiana, South Africa, and New York City, and seeing first-hand how school dramatically impacts a child’s trajectory, Morty founded Explore Charter School in 2002. Explore graduated its first group of 8th graders in 2008; since then 100% of graduates have been accepted to outstanding public, private and parochial high schools. Based on the demand in the central Brooklyn community for more high-quality public education options, Morty founded Explore Schools in 2009.

Morty was a 1992 Teach for America corps member in Baker, Louisiana. He earned his B.A. from Franklin & Marshall College and his M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Our Team


Morty Ballen, CEO & Founder

Maryann Li, Chief of Staff

Christina Froeb, Superintendent

Shawn-Ann Mullen, Chief Financial Officer

Rebecca Daverin, Chief Operating Officer

Leah Shalev, Managing Director, Talent

Joana Ngo, Managing Director of Operations

Ryan Smith, Senior Director of Program Operations

Ashley Dickens, Managing Director of Finance

Theo Smith, Director of Recruitment

Jola Khan, Director of HR

Gabrielle Haenn, Director of Strategy and Operations

Lisa Weinstein, Literacy Specialist

Jessica Willm, Director of Math Curriculum and Instruction

Krista Jahn, Director of Early Childhood Instruction

Erica Coca, Recruitment Manager

Sherquana Charles, Finance Manager

Christina Cotterell, Finance Manager

Alex Owens, Operations and Tech Manager

Meghan Hughes, External Affairs Manager

Christine Bannister, Finance Associate

Tahara Roberts, Talent Associate

Rachel Wiley, Data and Operations Associate

Jaime White, School Leadership Coach

Tracy Rebe, School Leadership Coach