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

Ryan Smith, Senior Director of School Support

Ashley Dickens, Director of Financial Services

Theo Smith, Director of Recruitment

Jola Khan, Director of HR

Gabbie Haenn, Director of Ops and Technology

Miriam Barry, Director of Literacy

Jessica Willm, Director of Math Curriculum and Instruction

Krista Jahn, Director of Early Years Instruction

Erica Coca, Recruitment Manager

Tahara Roberts, Talent Associate

Shaini Kothari, Data and Operations Associate

Rachel Wiley, Data and Operations Associate