March 27, 2023

Building Towards Possible: Announcing the 2023  Freedom Dreams Lab

By Transcend

The Freedom Dreams Lab (FDL) is a fellowship for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) leaders (individuals and teams) ready to refine and pilot experiences that contribute to liberatory learning environments. This year-long experience is customized to the unique needs and vision of each fellow. It leverages the expertise, methods and network of Transcend to support leaders as they create extraordinary, equitable learning environments. Fellows also experience the support of a peer community of practice and research-backed resources to develop their model into a pilot.

FDL fosters an environment in which school and system Leaders of Color can deepen their work, grow their capabilities, and advance their models’ actualization of extraordinary student outcomes. Fellows leverage their own lived experiences and rich backgrounds in education and are given the freedom to innovate and think beyond the status quo. 

In its first year, FDL supported nine Female, Black, and Latinx leaders with powerful ideas, experience, and expertise to design and develop learning environments that honor their communities’ needs and affirm and celebrate learners’ identities. 

We are proud to announce our 2023-2024 Freedom Dreams Lab Fellows: 

Dominique Burgess
Head of School, Burbrella Online Learning Academy & Microschool

Founder of Burbrella LLC & Burbrella Learning Academy Inc, Burgess is a former early childhood educator (PK – 5) and school leader who has used her years of experience and expertise to successfully open two non-traditional learning environments (a microschool & online learning academy). She has combined her love, passion and dedication to education in an effort to enhance the quality of learning for all children and their families. 

Burbrella Team

Quin Littlejohn
Director of Operations

Melissa Pintor Carnagey, LBSW
Founder, Sex Positive Families, Sexuality Educator and Best-Selling Author

A renowned sexuality educator, best-selling author, and leading national voice for sex positive education, Carnagey’s work has been featured in Huffington Post, Parents Magazine, CNN, New York Times, Buzzfeed, Yahoo!, and reaches thousands of families around the globe via an engaged social media following and monthly live workshops. In 2017, Melissa founded Sex Positive Families, an online sex education platform, which is guided by the belief that all children deserve holistic, comprehensive, and shame-free sexuality education so they can live informed, empowered, and safer lives.

Nandi Edouard
Lead School Founder and CEO, The Simple Vue Academy

Born, raised and returned to Cobb County, GA, Edouard is a BES Fellow on the community co-design track where she is working with her design team to reimagine the educational landscape in Georgia. Edouard is a highly accomplished educator and school leader who has made significant contributions to improving the academic and social-emotional well-being of students in various communities. Now, she serves as the lead school founder and chief executive officer of The Simple Vue Academy, proposed to open in 2025. Previously she served as the Director of School Culture, Managing Dean of Students, Equity Coordinator, New Teacher Development Lead and teacher.

Dr. Paris Gasque
CEO, Heru Foundation, Mental Health Therapist

The owner of Amachi Foundation, LLC, founding Chief Executive Officer of Heru Foundation, Incorporated, Dr. Gasque is an educator, a licensed mental health practitioner, and a community leader. Previously she served as a special education teacher, a special education supervisor, a school psychologist, an assistant principal, and an adjunct professor at Howard University.

Marvin Pierre and the 8 Million Stories Team
Co-Founder & Executive Director, Eight Million Stories, Inc.

As Founder and Executive Director of Eight Million Stories, Inc. Pierre seeks to upend the school-to-prison pipeline by supporting at-promise  youth and young adults  through re-engagement in education, skills training and authentic relationships in Houston, TX. Previously, he served as an  Assistant Principal, Dean of Students, a Bridge Fellow at TNTP, and financial analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co.  Pierre joins the Freedom Dreams Lab with his leadership team, Bianca Clark and Skyra Thomas. 

8 Million Stories Team

Bianca Clark
Managing Director, Programs

Skyra Thomas
Managing Director, Strategy and Operations

In its second year, the Freedom Dreams Lab will provide each fellow with a suite of supports including dedicated coaching support, in-person/virtual convenings, and a $10k stipend  to enable the creation of liberatory learning models.  Working with Transcend partners, Lyric Flood, Alisha Neptune, Samina Noorani Kingsley and Danielle Veal, fellows will pilot student experiences that drive towards Leaps in extraordinary, equitable 21st Century learning. . Congratulations to our new fellows! 

Explore learnings from year one of Freedom Dreams Lab here.


Transcend supports communities to create and spread extraordinary, equitable learning environments.

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Transcend is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit that operates nationally.