Our Team

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The Forte Prep Founding Team is led by Founder and Executive Director Graham Browne who is a 2015 Building Excellent Schools (BES) Fellow.  Mr. Browne is a proud graduate of Brown University and Yale School of Management with an academic background in urban studies, education, and nonprofit management, and a professional background in education policy advocacy with the Education Equality Project and nonprofit management consulting in the education practice at the Bridgespan Group. Through the BES Fellowship, Mr. Browne completed two intensive Leadership Residencies, working alongside the leaders of some of the most successful charter schools in the country. Born in New York and raised in New Jersey by hardworking Caribbean parents who immigrated to this country to seek better opportunities, he experienced the great power of education to change the trajectory of a child's life.

I feel very fortunate to have had a series of transformational educational experiences. As an eighth grader, I received a scholarship to attend a top private high school due to a little skill and far too much good luck. I felt like I received a golden ticket that I did not deserve, because this kind of opportunity is not guaranteed for the vast majority of students, especially first-generation Americans and low-income students of color who often look like me. For too many students, demography determines destiny. Forte Prep is designed to create a better future for all students who attend. Together, as a community, we can build a school that defies the norm and allows every student to excel in college preparatory high schools and use their leadership and voice to change the world.

He has also completed graduate coursework with Bank Street College of Education as part of the Venture Consortium’s Urban Education Semester. Through the program, Mr. Browne served as an assistant fifth grade teacher at P.S. 20 - Anna Silver School in Manhattan, NY in 2006.

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Justin Smith, founding principal

Justin Smith received his B.A. from Carleton College and his M.A. from Teachers College at Columbia University. He began his teaching career through Teach for America in San Pablo, California, where he taught for three years before moving to New York and teaching English at Democracy Prep Endurance Middle School. At Democracy Prep, Mr. Smith was able to visit other exceptional schools around the country as well as learn from master leaders and teachers, leading to him serving as an Instructional Coach and Assistant Principal before joining Forte Prep as the founding Director of Curriculum and Instruction and, currently, Principal. Born and raised in Crossville, Tennessee, Mr. Smith comes from a family of teachers and has seen firsthand the community-altering impacts of high-quality schools.