Rafiq Kalam Id-Din

Rafiq Kalam Id-Din

Founder of Ember Charter Schools

Rafiq R. Kalam Id-Din II, Esq. is Founder & Managing Partner of Ember Charter Schools for Mindful Education, Innovation and Transformation (Ember), formerly Teaching Firms of America Charter Schools (TFOA). Originally from Philadelphia, PA, and now a resident of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, Rafiq is a committed social entrepreneur, teacher, lawyer and nonprofit leader with over 25 years of community organizing, activism and leadership experience.

Rafiq attended the University of Virginia as an Echols Scholar and Holland Scholar, and was named a member of the Thirteen Society upon graduating with Bachelor of Arts degrees in both English and African-American Studies, and a Master of Teaching degree in Secondary English Education. After teaching and graduate school, Rafiq went on to get his Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law as a Thurgood Marshall Scholar. At NYU Law he was an editor of the Law Review, President of the Student Bar Association, and awarded the Vanderbilt Medal at graduation, where he was chosen as the JD commencement speaker.

Rafiq spent several years as a corporate lawyer with the law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in New York and Hong Kong, before serving as Executive Director of the An-Bryce Foundation, an innovative operating foundation based in the Washington DC area known for its pioneering pipeline programs focused on impactful education opportunities for socio-economically disadvantaged youth. In 2007, Rafiq was awarded the prestigious Echoing Green Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurs for his design of the “Teaching Firm”, a unique and innovative org model for fully teacherled schools managed and organized like law firms.

In 2011, Rafiq launched the first Teaching Firm as Professional Preparatory Charter School in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, where he serves as a Lead Teacher and Managing Partner. In 2017, TFOA changed its name to Ember as the first K-12 university public school model in the country, pioneering a pedagogical approach that shifts the focus of schooling away from information acquisition to holistic human development.

A co-founder and former Executive Board member of the NYC Coalition of Community Charter Schools, and founder of the #BlackLedSchoolsMatter initiative, Rafiq also currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Echoing Green, The Brooklyn Crescents, and President of the NYU Law Alumni of Color Association (LACA). Rafiq also continues to maintain a small private legal practice, serving as General Counsel for Karen’s Body Beautiful (a natural hair and beauty brand and manufacturer based in Brooklyn, NY), and providing pro bono services to a number of indigent clients from the community.