Jacob Allen and Marie Dandie
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Jacob Allen and Marie Dandie

Innovation School Fellows: 2017

Jacob Allen and Marie Dandie are co-founders of pilotED, an emerging school network that will offer Indianapolis public school students a rigorous liberal arts curriculum focused on identity and sociology to interrupt cycles of generational poverty. They plan to launch a K-8 Innovation charter school in Fall 2018, with Marie serving as founding principal.  

In 2013, Jacob and Marie created an after-school program in two Chicago neighborhoods incorporating a curriculum embedded in sociology and identity to change the trajectory of struggling and low-income students. They assembled a team of teachers, developed a new curriculum and began executing a non-profit education program in their first years of teaching.

Academically, pilotED utilizes direct intervention, identity development and small grouping to improve student achievement.  Part of this approach includes student groupings by external and internal assessments where students rotate according to growth and need throughout the school year.  This approach allows pilotED students to be challenged and receive rigorous instruction based on achievement levels through fluid groupings that benefit all students.

Jacob Allen is co-founder and CEO of pilotED.  He entered teaching as a member of Teach For America (TFA) and taught middle school science at Alain Locke Charter School in Chicago.  He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and is a graduate of the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management’s executive program for nonprofit management.  He also holds a certification in charter school policy, finance and administration from UCLA. He has been a fellow with the NewSchools Venture Fund, Echoing Green and Camelback Ventures.

Marie is also the co-founder of pilotED and was a 2013 TFA member, teaching elementary and middle school English at Catalyst Maria High School in Chicago.  She earned her bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University and is a graduate of the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management’s executive program for nonprofit management and leading excellent schools.  Marie also holds a certification in charter school policy, finance and administration from UCLA.  Along with the fellowships she shares with her co-founder, Marie also has been a fellow with the Thomas P. Fordham Institute.