About Us

Empowering communities. Strengthening schools.

Who We Are

Founded in 2021, ElectEd DC is a 501(c)4 which engages community members within the political boundaries of Wards 7 & 8, generally known as East of the River, to build political power, increase the representation of historically marginalized communities at all levels, and advocate for the policy conditions that will enable every DC student to thrive.

What We Believe

ElectED DC believes in a comprehensive and holistic change agenda geared towards dramatically improving outcomes for DC students.

What We Do

ElectED DC intentionally prioritizes the political boundaries of Wards 7 & 8 and the surrounding vicinity because residents of these communities have been traditionally underrepresented in the decision-making process, whether in the Wilson Building or elsewhere.

The organization focuses on identifying, recruiting, and developing leaders and prospective candidates for office, and supporting their work to advance key policies. ElectED DC is working to build a sustainable, scalable grassroots and grasstops movement that elevates communities East of the River without gentrifying them, and that enables residents to age in place, live in a place, and not be subject to social isolation.

Executive Director

Erika Harrell, Executive Director, ElectED DC

Erika M. Harrell

Erika Harrell is a proud ward 7 resident and education enthusiast who is passionate about supporting economic, political, and educational health for Washington DC residents. She believes firmly in advocating for equitable solutions to centuries-old systems that have marginalized Black and Brown DC residents, especially those residing East of the River. Some of her top advocacy issues over the years have been teacher pay, mental health support, public health and safety, and a fairer education system.

After four years of working in California education and earning her Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Chapman University, Erika moved to the Hillbrook Neighborhood of her dream home, Washington DC with her family.  Erika was excited for her children to experience the rich cultural history and opportunity of living in Washington DC, but immediately noticed striking disparities between too many neighborhoods East of the River, compared to West of the River. Erika immediately sought to contribute, starting by learning the ins and outs of DC’s robust education system, history and government, then applying what she learned to advocacy.

With more than ten years of advocacy experience in k-12 education and leadership training as well as eight years of fieldwork experience, Erika is well-versed in DC’s education and political landscape. Erika also has extensive narrative and leadership training that she has offered to support authentic stories that celebrate the strengths of communities and highlight where city leaders can bolster their efforts through additional funding and legislative measures.

Erika’s commitment to students and wealth of knowledge has resulted in partnerships throughout our education ecosystem that have helped to advocate for students across Washington DC. She has spent more than ten years partnering with her Washington DC neighbors including parents, school leaders, community leaders, and a host of other DC advocates. She has utilized her background in leadership, education, and literature, as well as drawn on her in depth childhood experiences of living in underfunded communities, to support families and other community members seeking to navigate DC’s education and political landscapes.

The health of communities East of the River is not just business for Erika. She has seen first-hand as a first-generation college graduate and parent, that education, quality resources, and a supportive community can offer a strong platform for children to realize their own dreams; so they can shape their own futures. Just as the path was laid to empower Erika as a parent and leader, Erika has consistently looked for opportunities to empower others. The process of advocating for a reasonable quality of life can be overwhelming when there are so many systems to navigate. Erika delights in the challenge to make those systems more accessible and within the power of those who need it most.

Erika has a demonstrated level of commitment to equitable access and empowering families by being a consistent and faithful member of DC’s education landscape. She has sat on the Parent Advisory Council for My School DC, the current school lottery facilitator in Washington DC, The Mayor’s Cross-Sector Collaboration Task Force, The Parent and Alumni Leadership Council with the Public Charter School Board, and The governing board for Parent Amplifying Voices in Education early policy committee, particularly around mental health. She also led efforts for DC Education Leaders of Color and was a member of UNCF’s leadership group. Erika has partnered with Lyft, MySchoolDC, Public Charter School Board, a myriad of LEAs including DC Public Schools, Kindred, and Black Lives Matter DC.

Outside of formal advocacy, Erika writes children’s books that center on the African Diaspora in ways that validate African descent experiences and encourages young readers to dream beyond the limits that society places on them. She lives in Hillbrook with her husband, children, two cats, and an increasing number of books on everything from Michelle Obama’s The Light We Carry to Kwame Mbalia’s Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky.


Our Founder, Executive Board Chair

Rev. Kendrick E. Curry, PhD

The Reverend Doctor Kendrick E. Curry is a “disruptive” leader who has pastored a local church the last 18 years. Not only does Pastor Curry advance the cause of Jesus Christ nationally and internationally, he has also developed a Kingdom-focused congregation with ministries and activities designed to meet the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of the community. As a transformer, Pastor Curry partners with civic, social, and professional groups, and government agencies including AARP, Howard University, George Washington University—Ron and Joy Paul Kidney Center, Toastmasters, and NIH among others to help bring about communal transformation. Through partnering with a mental-health day treatment program for DC residents, producing cultural arts events, and convening family-oriented workshops, the church becomes aware of the relevant issues impacting the wider community and develops ways of addressing those issues.

As an influencer, Pastor Curry serves on many boards and steering committees, especially those focused on social, educational, and health inequities. He is the current Chair of the Board of Directors for Education Forward DC, and is a former member of the Board of Trustees of the University of the District of Columbia. Pastor Curry is the Vice Chair of the Board for the Leadership Council for Healthy Communities and is a former alternate member of the Board of Directors of DC Water. He is a proud board member of the Black Coalition Against COVID-19, and has served on the Board of DC Jobs with Justice. Pastor Curry also consults for engineering, interfaith, community organizing and educational organizations.

Pastor Curry earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Prairie View A&M University (TX); an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor; and an M.Div. from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. Pastor Curry was trained as a community organizer at the renowned Midwest Academy for Social Organizing. He has also completed advanced studies at in Preaching and Worship at Northern Seminary (IL).

Pastor Curry is the husband to the Reverend Karen W. Curry and father to Keyona and Kendrick II.

Board Members

Maura Marino

Maura Marino

Maura Marino is Co-Founder and Senior Advisor at Education Forward DC following her six years as Chief Executive Officer. Prior to launching Education Forward DC in July 2016, Maura served as the Managing Partner at NewSchools Venture Fund and Lead Teacher at East Palo Alto High School. Maura sits on the board of directors for DC Prep Public Charter School, the DC Charter School Alliance, and The Equity Lab. Maura is driven by Education Forward DC’s mission to accelerate the work of visionary leaders to foster a city of high-quality, equitable public schools for every D.C. student and family. 

Maura earned a BA with honors in American Studies from Stanford University, an MA in teaching Secondary Social Studies from Columbia University, and an MBA from Harvard University. Originally from Bernardsville, New Jersey, Maura currently lives in the Shaw neighborhood and has called DC home for the past ten years. In her free time, Maura enjoys traveling and spending quality time with friends and family.

Stanley Jackson

Stanley Jackson is the President and CEO of the Anacostia Economic Development Corporation, a leading District of Columbia non-profit economic development organization..

Mr. Jackson has over 30 years of housing and economic development experience serving in key public leadership rolesAs Director of Department of Housing and Community Development , Mr. Jackson oversaw a $250 million budget, and spearheaded the District’s participation in the development of over 6,700 units of newly constructed and rehabilitated affordable housing for seniors, special needs, and very low-to-moderate income District residents.

During his tenure as Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, Mr. Jackson oversaw the creation of the Site Acquisition Funding Initiative, a low-cost source of revolving site-acquisition and predevelopment funds for non-profit developers. As Deputy Mayor, Mr. Jackson also directed the District’s participation in the development of $2.5 billion in residential, commercial, and entertainment development in downtown District of Columbia, representing the revitalization of the city’s geographic core.

Mr. Jackson is a graduate of Fayetteville State University/UNC Fayetteville (B.S., Business Administration), and Howard University Graduate School in Business Administration. He has also completed the Senior Executive Program at Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.

Mr. Jackson has been a resident of the District of Columbia for more than four (4) decades, and currently resides in the Ward 8 community.