D Academy

DAcademy_logoD Academy is a leadership program designed to educate members of the creative class in Dallas on the workings of the city. The program is underwritten by the owners of D Magazine, and applications are open to all D staff and members of the community. There is no age requirement but a next-generation mindset helps. D Academy provides a series of crash courses on a variety of topics, including healthcare; art and culture; education; criminal justice; the environment; race, poverty, and class; infrastructure; philanthropy; and the city’s brand. The application process is rigorous, but the commitment is moreso. The leadership group works on Big D Reads, a community-wide reading experience for Dallas, and the volunteer hours required, especially in the spring, are substantial.

Here’s what our fellows had to say about the experience:

“I’ve been in numerous leadership programs throughout my life, but D Academy impacted me the greatest. D Academy changed the trajectory of my career by educating me on the growing need to connect young people to the arts.”—Christian Yazdanpanah, class of 2012-2013

“D Academy is inspiration and aspiration; leadership and community; confidence and understanding; empowerment and empathy; an overall feeling of being part of something greater than yourself, and being armed with the tools, courage, and determination to make a positive impact on the world around you.” —Frances Yllana, class of 2012-2013

“My experience as part of D Academy reinvigorated my love for the city of Dallas and deepened my passion to serve her. It was truly inspiring to hear directly from the city’s leaders on a broad range of topics—from education to the arts—what they believed to be critical to making Dallas a truly great city.” —Laura Muniz, class of 2013-2014

“I have a broad understanding of the city in its many forms now, and I know that I need to be involved to make a difference, and I have an idea of how to do that and what to be involved in now.” —Will Evans, class of 2013-2014

“D Academy is a great place to get to know and get involved in your community. I’ve lived in Dallas only a year and a half, and I feel like I’m more aware of what’s going on here than people who have lived here 15 years.” —Ashley Mulder, class of 2014-2015

“D Academy has been a transformative experience that has reconnected me to the city and my passion to be an active part of improving our home, Dallas.” —Gray Garmon, class of 2014-2015

Applications for D Academy’s 2015-2016 class are now closed. Selections will be announced July 27. For more information, contact Krista Nightengale at [email protected].



September 18-19, 2015
Theme: Examining the Past, Present, and Future of the City
Speakers, demographers, and analysts will discuss where the city’s been and where it’s going.

Class Day 1

October 8, 2015, 9 am to 4 pm
Topic: Educating the City

Class Day 2

November 5, 2015, 9 am to 4 pm
Topic: Building the City

Class Day 3

December 10, 2015, 9 am to 4 pm
Topic: Working With the City

Class Day 4

January 7, 2016, 9 am to 4 pm
Topic: Defining Poverty in the City

Class Day 5

February 11, 2016, 9 am to 4 pm
Topic: Healing the City

Class Day 6

March 10, 2016, 9 am to 4 pm
Topic: Protecting the City

Class Day 7

April 7, 2016, 9 am to 4 pm
Topic: Refining the City

Class Day 8

May 12, 2016, 9 am to 4 pm
Topic: Branding the City


Do I have to be a D employee in order to apply?
No. The group will be made up of a few D Magazine Partners employees and people from the community. If you love Dallas and want to make a difference in the city, you're more than welcome to apply.
When do I need to apply?
Applications are closed.
How do I apply?
Applications for D Academy's 2015-2016 class are closed.
What are you looking for in candidates?
We are looking for people who are passionate about Dallas, but still have room to learn. We want people who are engaged and willing to get their hands dirty. We're looking for people of all ages, demographics, and with various backgrounds. We want a group of people who are energized and willing to take on large projects. It is not required that you live in Dallas County, but you must either work or play in Dallas and be committed to the city.
How much does it cost?
The dues for one semester are $350. This will go towards the retreat, supplies, food, and venues.
What is required of me?
You must attend the retreat in September. You cannot miss more than 16 hours throughout the semester. You must prepare for each class day by doing at least one of the homework assignments. You will play an instrumental part in planning Big D Reads. We do not ask for a lot of money, but we do ask for a lot of your time. We cannot emphasize this enough: you will be busy with D Academy. Ensure you have enough time to commitment.
What do I get out of this?
You get to learn more about Dallas. You'll meet great, passionate, like-minded people. You'll make a difference in the city. You'll be a part of something bigger than you. You get out of the office one day a month. You'll get happy hours.
What is the end-of-semester project?
Big D Reads is a community service project designed to immerse Dallas in a shared reading experience, with a specific focus on ninth-grade Dallas ISD students. The program culminates with a citywide initiative throughout the entire month of April 2016. Big D Reads will conduct dozens of special events centered on one book (which is in the process of being chosen), including an opening event, a closing event, poetry slams, educational events/speakers, DISD enrichment programs, movie screenings, a festival at Klyde Warren Park, and as many other community interactions as budget allows. At the same time, thousands of books will be distributed to DISD ninth-graders, as well as to DART riders, visitors in hospital waiting rooms, and all branches of the Dallas Public Library.
Whom can I contact if I have more questions?
Send Krista Nightengale an email. Or give her a call at 214-939-3636.