MortyMorty Ballen, CEO and FounderAfter 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.

SamSam Fragomeni, Chief Academic Officer

Sam joined Explore,Schools in 2014 after serving as a Principal at Harlem Village Academy for 7 years – he was Principal of the middle school and then the Founding Principal of the elementary school. Additionally, he served as Lead Principal to provide support to the other Principals in that network.

In his role at Explore, Sam builds both our leaders’ and our teachers’ capacity to understand and implement effective instructional practices – through a combination of modeling, coaching and leadership around instructional excellence.

MiriamMiriam Barry, Director of Literacy

Miriam joined Explore Schools in 2012 and supports Literacy Coordinators and school administration in the planning and implementation of literacy instruction and professional development.

Jessica Willm, Director of Math & Instruction

Jessica joined Explore Schools in 2016 and supports math curriculum, instruction, and assessments. In her role, she supports the planning and implementation of meaningful and rigorous math teaching and learning.




Our Team
Morty Ballen, CEO & Founder
Sam Fragomeni, Chief Academic Officer
Shawn-Ann Mullen, Chief Financial Officer
Rebecca Daverin, Chief Operating Officer
Keith Vigraham, Chief of Strategic Initiatives
Maryann Li, Chief of Staff
Leah Shalev, Managing Director, Talent
Theo Smith, Director of Recruitment
Jordan Huller, Director of Talent
Jola Khan, Director of HR
Ashley Dickens, Director of Financial Services
Ryan Smith, Senior Director of School Support
Miriam Barry, Director of Literacy
Jessica Willm, Director of Math Curriculum and Instruction
Krista Jahn, Director of Early Years Instruction
Kara McFadden, Program Manager
Erica Coca, Recruitment Manager
Shaini Kothari, Data and Operations Associate
Rachel Wiley, Data and Operations Associate