2023 BOOST Conference Speakers & Presenters

Sara Adame (she/her/hers)Sara Adame round

Sara Adame joined the after-school world in 2017 as frontline staff. Over the past 15 years, she has supported the Inland Empire Communities through multiple roles within the Think Together Organization. She has managed multiple teams and developed numerous staff to prepare them for their next-level career path. She has created and facilitated multiple pieces of content to support staff development from PreK-12th.

Yesenia Aguilar round

Yesenia Aguilar (she/her/hers)

Yesenia Aguilar, Cielo Vista Charter Counselor, is an experienced classroom teacher who transitioned into school counseling in 2021. During her 18 years as an elementary teacher, she discovered her passion for supporting her students’ social and emotional needs. She is deeply committed to being an advocate for all students and families. Mrs. Aguilar excels at building positive and trusting relationships with all school stakeholders, and she is zealous about assisting students in their mental health journey. It is her belief that creating an equitable learning environment also means addressing the mental health needs of each individual.

Gloria Alday roundGloria Alday (she/her/hers/them/their/theirs)

Gloria Alday is the Director of Older Youth Programs at Think Together and has a Master's in Education. She has helped develop and run after-school programs, providing academic and enrichment opportunities for high school students and workforce readiness programs that provide employability skills for teens. She has presented at multiple conferences including BOOST 2022, and AVID 2022.

Juan Alvarado roundJuan Alvarado (he/him/his)

As an expert in Leadership and a Certified Gallup Strengths Coach, Juan is a widely regarded United States Army War Vet who has trained teams of tens of thousands of soldiers in high-stakes situations and has helped School Districts increase team efficiency and strengthen communication which resulted in happier and more appreciated employees. He helps individual leaders and their teams overcome complacency and prevent burnout in the workplace. Being featured on FOX, NBC, and CBS has helped Juan lead the charge in creating Strength-Based leaders, and teams, giving rise to the culture at work for over 1500+ School Administrators. Juan is a proud BOOST Ambassador.

Michelle Ament Ed.D. roundMichelle Ament, Ed.D. (she/her/hers)

Michelle has served as an educator and district administrator for over 25 years. As the Chief Academic Officer, she supports ProSolve’s commitment to being thought leaders in the education space as they reimagine a more student-centered ecosystem in which learners engage in immersive experiences that build transferable cognitive, social, and emotional skills across the school environment and workforce. Michelle holds a doctorate in degree in Educational Leadership.

David Anderson roundDavid Anderson (he/him/his)

David P. Anderson is the President & CEO of LA’s BEST Afterschool Enrichment Program. Most recently, he has served in executive leadership with Think Together. David attended LAUSD schools from kindergarten through high school, and went on to earn his BA from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and MS in Social Entrepreneurship from the USC Marshall School of Business, where he was awarded Social Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2018, David was honored by the California Department of Education Expanded Learning Division with the Emerging Leadership Award. 

Ken Anthony II Ed.D. roundKen Anthony II, Ed.D. (he/him/his)

As the Associate Executive Director for the Connecticut Network for Children and Youth, Ken has over 30 years in the field as a staff, a program director, a district coordinator, and the past fourteen years with the Network. He oversees quality initiatives, professional development, community partnerships, consultation, and research efforts. He holds a Bachelor’s in Psychology, a Master’s in Organizational Management & Leadership, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and was a White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellow. His research includes building sustainable partnerships, leadership, and developing research-practitioner collaborations.

Cassandra Arechiga roundCassandra Arechiga (she/her/hers)

Cassandra Arechiga, a Learning Associate, is an advocate for trauma-informed care, relationship-centered engagement, and overall positive psychological practices. She is experienced in implementing and facilitating events, workshops, and retreats centered on educating students and faculty on diversity and inclusion, team-building, and transformational leadership. Cassandra was a guest speaker at California State University, Chico’s Leadership Symposium, “Women Like You.” where she facilitated the audience through a closing healing activity highlighting the power of vulnerability and connection.

Abby Arisco roundAbby Arisco (she/her/hers)

Abby Arisco (she/her) is the SAVE Promise Club Manager for the Pacific Region of the United States at Sandy Hook Promise. As a SAVE Promise Club Manager and her background in nonprofit management, she advocates for the importance of the Youth Voice and why it’s necessary for adults to listen to it. She is also an outdoor enthusiast and loves finding the next adventure. 

Jasmine Arjon roundJasmine Arjon (she/her/hers)

Jasmine Arjon, Director of Programs is passionate about ensuring all students receive enriching expanded learning experiences. In her role, Jasmine ensures program alignment with Woodcraft’s mission and vision, programmatic quality and compliance, and the safety of all students and staff at every summer site. In her tenure at Woodcraft Rangers Jasmine oversees summer day camps at 80 school sites and continuously forms meaningful connections with stakeholders so that any person that crosses her path feels seen and realizes their contribution to their community.

Robb Armstrong roundRobb Armstrong (he/him/his)

Robb Armstrong is the Program Director for Dylan’s Wings of Change and a Master Trainer for the Wingman Program. He has been facilitating social-emotional learning, team building, leadership and staff development, and teacher training for the past 18 years. Robb is passionate about fostering connections and helping others to find their voice and excels at creating a climate that embraces and respects everyone’s perspective.

Vicki Armstrong roundVicki Armstrong (she/her/hers)

Vicki Armstrong is a Wingman Trainer for Dylan’s Wings of Change. She comes from a background in early childhood education; formerly directing Family Resource Centers for Connecticut’s State Department of Education. With a passion for providing opportunities for others to freely explore their inner creativity, she has been able to blend her career in teaching and her love for art into managing a children’s process art studio.

Nichi Avina roundNichi Avina (she/her/hers)

Nichi Avina is a 2022 California Teacher of the Year and a first-generation immigrant from the Philippines. A middle school science teacher at Cielo Vista Charter School in Palm Springs Unified School District, Nichi’s efforts for students have included spearheading a districtwide trauma and resiliency-informed training for educators and students with social-emotional trauma histories, establishing an art mentoring program, STEAM Lab, and redeveloping her school’s garden. Nichi’s student-centered approach to teaching builds trust and has inspired former students to call her a superhero.

Thomas Azzarella roundThomas Azzarella (he/him/his)

Thomas Azzarella is the Director of the Alaska Afterschool Network. He has over 15 years of managerial experience in afterschool and summer programs. Thomas is a 2018 Top 40 Under 40 recipient, 2016 White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellow, and a 2010 Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America Ambassador. He has extensive experience working with community collaborations to increase youth protective factors throughout Alaska. After being a little sibling his whole life he recently became a big brother through Big Brothers, Big Sisters. During his free time, he enjoys exploring Alaska by hiking, camping, gardening, skiing, and growing his beard.

AnnMarie Baines Ph.D roundAnnMarie Baines, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)

AnnMarie Baines, Ph.D., is the founder and executive director of the Bay Area nonprofit organization The Practice Space, which supports young people and adults in developing authentic, clear, and engaging voices through public speaking. Growing up as the daughter of a Filipino immigrant, AnnMarie became deeply dedicated to her community and committed to equity. She is a two-time winner of the competitive Title Nine Pitchfest Non-profit Edition, a Los Angeles Times Inspirational Woman nominee, and recently co-authored a book for educators called, Amplify Student Voices: Equitable Practices to Build Confidence in the Classroom.

Mark Bayaua roundMark Bayaua (he/him/his)

Mark Bayaua’s mission is to serve, amplify, and grow with conscious communities. For over a decade, Mark has served in out of school time as a Master Gardener, Leadership Fellow, a LEGO Education Academy trainer, and a CalSAC trainer. A graduate of UC Irvine, Mark received a certificate in Design Thinking from MIT which he applies to OOST programs daily. As the Director of Program Innovation at Think Together, he strives to bridge youth development with the hands-on, practical, learning experiences that empower students of diverse needs and realities to step into their own agency and build the world they believe they should live in.

Jay Baxter roundJay Baxter (he/him/his)

Jay Baxter is a passionate, driven, and dedicated artist, musician, and entrepreneur. In 2013, he launched his company JBaxterMusic to further his artistic dreams and aspirations. In February 2022, JBaxterMusic partnered with Richmond Public to curate a S.T.E.A.M program for AfterSchool extended day. This program is providing career guidance, vocational trades training, and other alternative pathways for professional careers. Jay Baxter continues to reach all around him to help others, motivate others and ultimately be the example of “sowing seeds & building relationships”, professional integrity, and paying it forward every day.

Melina Bisbardis roundMelina Bisbardis (she/her/hers) 

Melina Bisbardis, Director of Strategic Projects, has been in the afterschool field for 14 years. Melina has had several positions from being in the field to hub-level positions to now supporting the Strategic Projects department. With a robust knowledge in afterschool, her focus is to enhance org-wide initiatives with internal and external stakeholders.

Amber Blackwell roundAmber Blackwell (she/her/hers)

I have been living, laughing, and learning in Oakland, CA., for the past fifty-two years. Over that time, I have been a Mother, Wife, College Professor, Charter School Administrator, Mental Health Counselor, Education Coordinator, Social Service Provider, Researcher, Family Advocate, and non-profit Founder. I am a 2004 Charter School License recipient, with rights to operate a K-5 charter school in the City of Oakland, CA., and Executive Director.  I am passionate about sharing my experiences and strategies to create high-quality programs that prepare the next generation of socially conscious BIPOC scholars and youth developers.   

Josh Blecha roundJoshua Blecha (he/him/his)

Before his work as a statewide leader in the field of Expanded Learning, Josh started as an over-enthusiastic tutor supporting a local afterschool program. Josh applied his creative skillset leading classrooms of children on academic journeys that were reminiscent of his childhood camping trips with his 5 sisters.

Josh currently supports Expanded Learning by providing technical assistance in the Fresno area. In his work, he dedicates a majority of his time finding innovative ways to inspire people to improve their world around them to indirectly amplify the world within them.

Herbert Bolanos roundHerbert Bolaños (he/him/his)

Herbert Bolaños, Associate Director of Learning, manages the Learning Team which develops activities, educational resources, as well as procedural and content training for all front-line program staff. Herbert has worked with students at all grade levels, which informs his ability to design grade-level and content-specific curricula. In his tenure at Woodcraft Rangers Herbert has helped develop a rich library of enrichment activities and training modules in behavioral management, restorative practices, new hire onboarding, and train-the-trainer workshops.

Dr. Erica Bosque LCSW PPSC roundDr. Erica Bosque, LCSW, PPSC (she/her/hers)

Erica is a professor in the School of Social Work at San Francisco State University and is a Clinical Supervisor. Erica is the owner of Keystone Therapy & Training Services, a non-profit & private practice providing therapeutic support and resources to women, men, families, diverse populations and professional development to people who work in the human service, mental health fields, nonprofits and business sectors. In addition, Erica is a Mother of four and she and her husband Ryan have grown-up and live in Santa Rosa.

Erica also has extensive training in Trauma Informed Care/Approaches, Motivational Interviewing, she is a Certified Center for Mind Body Medicine Facilitator, a certified yoga instructor, and a birth & postpartum doula and childbirth educator. She is earning her Educational Doctorate in Leadership and Social Justice at San Francisco State University.

Julee Brooks roundJulee Brooks (she/her/hers)

Julee Brooks, Chief Executive Officer, serves locally on the Expand LA Advisory Board and at the state level on the Steering Committee of the California Afterschool Advocacy Alliance. Julee is a creative visionary and strategic nonprofit change-maker with two decades of experience leading diverse teams, delivering high-caliber programming for families and guiding family-focused agencies through dynamic organizational growth. As CEO of Woodcraft Rangers, Julee is deeply involved in advocacy and systems-level change within the agency as well as other youth development providers.

Laurie Brooks roundLaurie Brooks (she/her/hers)

Laurie Brooks has been in education for the past 22 years.  She started as a classroom teacher, moved to the district level as a Literacy Coach, and then worked for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt when she and her family moved to California. From there, she began working for FranklinCovey in 2019.  She is a deep believer that EQ (Emotional Intelligence) is every bit, if not more important than IQ.  This belief is supported in the work she does to bring The Principles of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People into schools in Southern CA through The Leader in Me process.

Kevin Brown roundKevin Brown (he/him/his)

Kevin Brown (in-game name: Dancing Bear) is a licensed CTE instructor (high school and college), mentor teacher, accomplished linguist, and wears the mantle of Chief Academic Officer as a founding member of the North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF). Working on a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration yet also a life-long gamer, he sees his job as the perfect linkage between parents, educators, and administrators, helping them cross the seemingly impossible divide between video game play and all of its inherent college and career-readiness as well as social-emotional merits.

Phil Brown round Phil Brown (he/him/his)

Phil, originally from England, joined the High 5 team in May 2015 having previously worked in Adventure and Outdoor education programs in NY State. Phil brings high energy and devotion to the Adventure field and has presented at many national and international conferences. He is also one of the co-authors of the book “Tinker: Building Purposeful Experiences from Classic Adventure Activities” and the producer/host of “Vertical Playpen” – the podcast all about Adventure and Experiential Education. 

Rachel Bruns roundRachel Bruns (she/her/hers)

Rachel Bruns (she/her) is Chief Engagement Officer at America’s Service Commissions leading training and technical assistance for the nation’s network of the 52 Governor designated state service commissions, which administer 75% of all AmeriCorps State funding and promote an ethic of service in their states and territories. Rachel has extensive experience in the field of national service and volunteer engagement previously managing AmeriCorps State, AmeriCorps VISTA, and Volunteer Generation Fund grants, serving as a commissioner, and working at volunteer centers in two states. Rachel is a board member with the Catholic Volunteer Network and a maternal-child health advocate. She lives in Des Moines, Iowa with her partner and two children.

Fred Buggs round Fred Buggs (he/him/his)

Frederick D. Buggs, was born in Beloit, Wisconsin and earned his BA in Philosophy with a Minor in Urban Studies from Beloit College. His professional career started at the Federal TRIO program, Upward Bound at Beloit College. He earned his Master’s at UW-Whitewater. In 2005, he became Chief Professional Officer with the Stateline Boys & Girls Club. He led the organizational goals and board initiatives and opened 13 sites in the cities of Beloit and South Beloit, IL. In 2015, he joined the California Department of Education's Expanded Learning Division as an Education Programs Consultant. Currently, he provides technical assistance, Ed Code guidance, and Federal Program Monitoring for Region 9.

LaVasia Bullard roundLaVasia Bullard (she/her/hers)

LaVasia Bullard is the Regional Program Manager for Horizons Atlanta, where she supports the ten Horizons Atlanta sites, focusing on newly launched sites and their professional development needs. Before joining the Regional team, LaVasia served as the founding Site Director for Horizons Atlanta with Purpose Built Schools for five years. LaVasia previously worked for 16 years for Atlanta Public Schools as a language arts teacher and instructional coach. She has a passion for improving literacy skills for all kids and continues daily with that in mind. 

Matt Burk roundMatt Burk (he/him/his)

My passion for youth development has been shared through 10 plus years of coaching kids of all ages in multiple sports. As the Director of Accounts and Sports Programs at Speed Stacks, I am able to share my passion for sports and summer activities with today's youth. I have demonstrated the art of Sport Stacking both on an instructive fitness-based activity and competitive level in schools and afterschool programs all across the U.S. I have personally witnessed the mental focus and growth in students from the elementary to high school level through our sport stacking program.

Akilah Byrd roundAkilah Byrd (she/her/hers)

Akilah is an experienced educational leader passionate about interrupting the low academic student outcomes of our many diverse disenfranchised scholars. As an equitable leader, she maintains a deep belief that all scholars are capable of achieving academic success.

Bobby Canosa Carr roundBobby Canosa-Carr (he/him/his)

Bobby Canosa-Carr is a leadership coach and an education innovator. As a school principal, he was a pioneer in personalized learning, restorative practices, and mindfulness in schools. As a professional developer, he supported the transformation of 300+ schools across the country. Recently, Bobby founded Enlighten Leadership in order to make executive coaching accessible to emerging leaders in the education sector. He is happiest when doing anything that brings him to the present moment, like climbing boulders in Joshua Tree, swimming in the waves of the Pacific Ocean, or riding his Harley Davidson up a winding coastal road.

Trey Caples Ed.S. NCSP roundTrey Caples, Ed.S., NCSP (he/him/his)

Trey is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) and Education Specialist (Ed.S.) with advanced training in behavioral & educational intervention, from the individual to systems level. Trey has almost two decades of senior leadership experience in and with public schools, non-profits, and community organizations, both nationally & internationally. He has extensive experience with program design & management, program evaluation, data management & analytics, fundraising & grant writing, board development, and staff training & leadership.

Cara Cerecerez roundCara Cerecerez (she/her/hers)

Cara Cerecerez began serving students and families as a Summer Camp Coordinator. She then continued her education and began teaching at the High School level. She then spent 12 years as a high school administrator. Seeing the importance of creating an early connection to the school community Cara decided to shift her focus to the Elementary level where she served as and K-6 Principal. Currently as the Director of Student Services in the Alta Loma School District. Here she has had the opportunity to lead a SHIFT in this small district by enhancing and rebranding their Child Care Program to create a sought after school program called EXPLORE.

Sam Choe roundSam Choe (he/him/his)

I've been in the FPV (First Person View) industry since 2018 with past experience of six years in the aviation community. With the knowledge accrued over the years, I am leading our education division at IRONQUAD in charge of product development, research, and training to assist elementary to high school programs.

Jennifer Cisneros roundJennifer Cisneros (she/her/hers)

Jennifer Cisneros has served in the Expanded Learning field for over 22 years. She worked at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Garden Grove as the Vice President of Youth Development Services, supporting 56 program sites. Currently, she works at Santa Ana USD as the Director of Expanded Learning, overseeing 47 TK-12 after-school programs. Jennifer graduated from Springfield College with her Master's in Human Services, Organizational Leadership & Development. Her life goal is to help the youth unlock their passion and find purpose!

Mindy Corless roundMindy Corless (she/her/hers)

Ms. Corless served with the San Diego County Office of Education, Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program for 19 years. In 2022 Ms. Corless joined Los Angeles County Office of Education Foster Youth Technical Assistance Program supporting Foster Youth Coordinating Programs Statewide. Ms. Corless has also provided in-home case management services to families and supervised a short-term care group home facility for children ages 6-12. She is an advocate for students in foster care to receive appropriate educational services and resources by collaborating and providing technical assistance. 

Jason Crawford roundJason Crawford (he/him/his)

Mr. Jason Crawford of Topeka, Kansas currently serves as the Superintendent of Schools for USD 340 Jefferson West near Topeka, Kansas. With over 20 years of educational experience serving as a career and tech ed instructor, building administrator, adjunct university professor, and the past 9 years as a superintendent.

Mr.Crawford entered public education through one of the first alternative licensure paths offered in Kansas to address the growing teacher shortage. Mr. Crawford left the world or marketing, business, and entrepreneurship to invest those skills in f uture generations. He is currently completing his dissertation on “Remembering our Westerly Roots, Saving our Small Communities by Refocusing our Public Schools and Community Partnerships” His academic work is focused on engaging community stakeholders to create more relevant educational experiences and to encourage students to invest in their hometowns to improve the overall quality of life for everyone. Mr. Crawford holds multiple graduate degrees in the areas of business administration, business management, economics, curriculum and instruction, building leadership, and school counseling. He has studied at the University of Economics in Prague, Emporia State University, University of Kansas, Fort Hays State University, Baker University, and Friends University. In his free time he is an avid traveler having visited nearly 100 countries, and hosting 36 international students over the years.  He is a very dedicated volunteer to the special partnership between Delta Air Lines and The American Cancer Society’s annual Jet Drag Fundraiser.

Chelsea Daly roundChelsea Daly (she/her/hers)

Chelsea has spent her career in the childcare sector, as a coordinator, and a regional and general manager before moving into the quality and compliance space as the Head of National Quality Framework for Camp Australia. She is an experienced, dedicated, senior leader, passionate about ensuring that compliance is an expectation and setting the agenda for the pursuit of excellence. Chelsea creates motivational environments for teams, where clearly agreed goals are consistently achieved, and there is a focus on continuous improvement. Currently, she is working collegiately with the Head of Service Delivery to drive improvement of program provision.

Ana Danielson roundAna Danielson (she/her/hers)

Ana has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Spanish Language and Literature. She has lived and worked in many countries and thoroughly enjoys traveling, hiking, snowboarding, and reading. She believes learning should be fun and strives to share her enthusiasm for languages and learning with others. Ana has worked in education and public libraries for years; creating opportunities for students and families to grow and learn together. She has served on non-profit boards, state and local committees, and works to enhance community resources and lifelong educational opportunities. Ana is a proud BOOST Ambassador. 

Jeff Davis roundJeff Davis (he/him/his)

Jeff has worked with CAN since its inception in 2006, first as Program Coordinator, then as Program Director, and as Interim Executive Director. Throughout his tenure with CAN, Jeff has had the opportunity to make many meaningful contributions to the expanded learning field. He has played an integral role in creating quality frameworks including the California Afterschool Program Quality Self-Assessment Tool and the  Quality Standards for Expanded Learning in California. Mr. Davis organized diverse stakeholders to support older youth programs, advance after school nutrition and physical activity, address unique rural program needs, and provide effective support for Multilingual learners. As a seasoned expanded learning stakeholder and the author of the State of the State of Expanded Learning in California, Jeff brings a great understanding of the Expanded Learning landscape. 

Andres de la Peza roundAndres De La Peza (he/him/his)

Andres De La Peza, Director of Partner Relations serves locally on the Board of Trauma-Informed LA and has supported underserved Los Angeles youth since 2008. Through a trauma-informed SEL lens, Andres led the creation and implementation of training materials and events in alignment with Woodcraft Rangers’ mission and vision and developed a unified training pedagogy and monitoring and evaluating materials to track progress and impact.

Emerson deCordova roundEmerson deCordova (they/them/theirs)

Emerson "Em" deCordova serves as the Prevention and Youth Engagement Coordinator for the National Runaway Safeline. An experienced leader and passionate supporter of youth of all ages, Em was previously a Crisis Services Supervisor for NRS. Prior to joining NRS, Em served youth in roles with companies such as American Girl, iD Tech, and Bright Horizons, but Em has found their home creating positive change with NRS. Em is passionate about empowering young people who are facing adversity. Em holds a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Behavioral Sciences from National Louis University. Em lives in Chicago, IL.

Sheri Dees roundSheri Dees (she/her/hers)

Sheri Dees has over 25 years of experience as a Secondary Social Studies Educator and K-12 Instructional Technology Coach. She has her Masters in Instructional Technology and has spent years training teachers on how to integrate technology into the classroom. During distance learning, she created secondary social studies content for the Kern County Superintendent of School Office and held professional developments for her district colleagues on both the Canvas LMS and strategies to integrate technology into the classroom.

Gabriela Delgado round Gabriela B. Delgado (she/her/hers)

Gabriela B. Delgado has served as an educator and grant professional for over 22 years. She has developed and implemented a variety of grant-funded programs, ranging from small (less than $10,000) to large (multi-million). Her experience includes funding from foundations, State, and Federal funders. Gabriela holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration, a Master’s degree in Education, and holds an active certification by the Grant Professionals Certification Institute. Gabriela is a proud BOOST Ambassador and consultant for BOOST Collaborative. 

Armando Diaz roundArmando Diaz (he/him/his)

Armando has over 20 years of experience in nonprofit management, education, and youth development. Prior to joining EduCare in 2015, he was the Associate Executive Director at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Venice. In 2014, he completed the USC Marshall School of Business Management Development Program. Armando currently manages EduCare’s collaborations with school and district leaders to ensure the effective implementation of high-quality SEL programs, professional development, and workshops. Since 2018, he has led the training and development of EduCare’s growing team of Heartset education facilitators.

Benjamin Dickow roundBenjamin Dickow (he/him/his)

Ben Dickow leads the LA STEM Collective, a group of LA-based museums, aquariums, and nonprofit and community-based science education organizations. The group first came together in response to the pandemic, providing distance learning STEM education for Los Angeles students. Its mission continues to be to provide rich and diverse science education opportunities for students and their families. Ben is also the Executive Director of the Columbia Memorial Space Center, where he leads the non-profit space museum and hands-on STEM learning center to ignite a community of creative and critical thinkers.

Sherrice Dorsey Smith roundSherrice Dorsey-Smith (she/her/hers)

Sherrice Dorsey-Smith has been with the Department of Children, Youth and Their Families for the past 13 years.  She currently serves as the Deputy Director of Programs, Planning, and Grants where she is responsible for the development, implementation, monitoring, and grant making to community-based organizations.  She was the Project Lead for the Community Hub & Summer Together Initiative where she played a pivotal leadership role in designing, developing, and implementing a network of neighborhood-based hubs, facilitatied the connections and coordination of community organizations, nonprofits, businesses, and city departments.

Catie Drew roundCatie Drew (she/her/hers)

Catie joined the DEA in 2006 as the Education Director for the DEA Museum & is now a Sr. Prevention Program Manager in the DEA’s Community Outreach Section, providing drug prevention education, overseeing the Operation Prevention curriculum and the DEA's drug prevention publications. She previously worked as an Interpretive Park Ranger for the National Park Service; an Environmental Education Specialist for the Smithsonian; and a Marine Biologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She has a Bachelor's in Environmental Biology from the University of Colorado, and a Master’s in Museum Education from George Washington University.

Aaron Dworkin roundAaron Dworkin (he/him/his)

Aaron is a national leader in the education, out-of-school time (OST) and youth development fields. He currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), which works to ensure all young people in America, but especially the most vulnerable, can access and afford a high-quality summer learning experience every year. He is a member of the American Camp Association National Board and a graduate of Tufts University, Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, and the Coro Fellowship and Leadership Greater Washington.

Barbara Elvin roundBarbara Elvin (she/her/hers)

Barbara has spent her working life in education, as a classroom teacher, an administrator, and principal of several large secondary schools in Melbourne Victoria. She is an experienced, dedicated, senior leader passionate about the learning experience and how it can be managed to assist everyone to achieve a potential that is measurable, transferable, and authentic. In creating highly aspirational environments for teams, where considered risk-taking is the norm, there is a focus on the possibilities not the probabilities. Currently, Head of Service Delivery for Camp Australia she is driving improvement in quality of program provision.

Araceli Espinoza Mead roundAraceli Espinoza Mead (she/her/ella)

Araceli Espinoza Mead has 15 years of experience in the expanded learning field, directly serving children and youth from Los Angeles and Oakland. She received her BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and an AA in Sociology from Fullerton College. This combined education taught her the importance of social storytelling as it relates to social equity and expanded learning. She brings these skills to Partnership for Children & Youth to creatively advocate for youth services through technical assistance and advocacy with PCY. Prior to joining PCY, Araceli provided fun and informative professional development at Girls Inc. of Alameda County and at the Santa Fe Springs City Library. Araceli is a first-generation Chicana, her parents’ immigration shows resilience and a drive to provide a better life, like many of the families she has served throughout her career.

Jesse Esquivel roundJesse Esquivel (he/him/his)

Jesse Esquivel, Camp Coordinator, believes it is important for children to explore the wilderness through educational, fun, and memorable experiences. He hopes to bring more outdoor education, leadership opportunities for young rangers, and advocates the Four-Fold Way in Woodcraft. Jesse leads the Adventure Unicorn Unit Hiking trips and gets inner city kids to go hiking every month and do fun activities such as bird watching, basic nature facts, and fun crate games. With his magnetic personality, Jesse is quickly a camp favorite.

Elle Essenmacher roundElle Essenmacher (she/her/hers)

Elle Essenmacher is a Strategic Accounts Advisor for Harmony SEL and Inspire Leading & Learning at National University. She has decades of experience leading curriculum, instruction, and assessment initiatives at the state, district, and school levels. Elle has worked in inner city and rural schools and at all levels of education from preschool to high school alternative programs. Ms. Essenmacher draws on a wealth of experience and skill to be an adept facilitator in planning and leading initiatives. Her goal is to put the “fun” in engaging professional development.

Susie Estrada roundSusie Estrada (she/her/hers)

Susie Estrada, originally from North Hollywood, CA, lives in Salt Lake City, UT. Susie works with the Utah State Board of Education as their Family & Community Engagement Specialist in addition to participating in different community networks while also being a doctoral student at the University of Utah in the Educational Leadership and Policy Department. Susie is passionate about moving Latinx voices through authentic and transformational experiences with storytelling. Susie is a proud BOOST Ambassador.

Sheryl Evans Davis roundSheryl Evans Davis (she/her/hers)

Sheryl Davis is a passionate advocate for equity, and educational opportunity. Davis is the creator of the Everybody Reads a summer learning, family literacy, and reading development initiative centering on BIPOC youth. She also designs programs and curriculum centered around social justice, racial equity, student wellness, and achievement. Davis holds a BA from San Francisco State, an MPA from the University of San Francisco, and an Ed.D. program from USC’s Rossier School of Education.

Jane Felling round1Jane Felling (she/her/hers)

Jane has been a regular presenter at the annual BOOST conference. She is an internationally recognized speaker in the area of using games as a teaching strategy. She is passionate about differentiating activities and games to include all learners and families. She is the lead author of the award-winning Box Cars and One-Eyed Jacks series, math and literacy games spanning Pre k - 10th Grade. She has worked with 100's of districts across North America for the past 30 years. 

John Felling round copyJohn Felling (he/him/his)

John brings over 35 years of experience in education in his roles as principal, consultant, and author. He is an international speaker in the area of games as a teaching strategy, educational leadership, and excellence and has worked with hundreds of districts to implement best practices. He is passionate about using games as a teaching strategy to reach the needs of all learners in the classroom. 

Bill FennessyBill Fennessy (he/him/his)

Bill is a Specialist, Workforce Initiatives for the California AfterSchool Network. After a successful professional motorcycle road-racing career, Bill began his new career in education in 1998 with the Pasadena Unified School District as a Campus Aide. In 2000 he moved to Blair IB School as a School Security Officer, a 3 sport Varsity Coach, and eventually Athletic Director.  Bill then became the first Site Coordinator for Blair’s 7th-9th grade ASES Program in 2004.  Four months after opening the ASES program, Bill and his Principal agreed to take on one of California’s first ASSETs pilot programs in 2005.  The success of the program was recognized early on, and it also provided the opportunities for him to become a pioneer, innovator, exemplary practitioner, and thought leader in High School Expanded Learning nationwide.  Bill was then hired by Think Together in 2009, as its first Director of High School Programs.  Once there, he successfully opened 14 ASSETs Programs across 4 Counties and 7 Districts, which all attained greater than 100% ADA in their first year of operation.  Bill recently served as the Director of High School Programs for A World Fit For Kids!, based in Los Angeles.  He was also a Consultant for the Los Angeles County Office of Education.  Prior to joining the CAN Team, he also served on the CDE Workforce Implementation Committee and ASAP Connect’s BOLD Project.

Ken Fisher roundKen Fisher (he/him/his)

Ken Fisher's great passion is helping educators in K-12 schools and districts be more effective and efficient in their day-to-day lives. His devotion to building community, customer engagement, and market strategy efforts is combined with an extensive background in marketing, customer service, and sales. As a project leader, Ken provides behind-the-scenes support to staff at TransACT Communications for webinars, conferences, and general guidance on branding and writing custom content.

Lynne Ann S. Fox MA.Ed. MS.Ed. roundLynne Ann S. Fox, MA.Ed., MS.Ed. (she/her/hers)

Lynne Ann S. Fox, MA.Ed., MS.Ed. is a dedicated educator and has devoted her life to education, developing paradigms, curriculum, assessments, and innovative ways of bringing leadership, social-emotional learning, and academic achievement to children around the world, from public schools in the United States to Europe, Asia, South America, and beyond. She has 28+ years of experience in a variety of roles, nationally and internationally, each of which have contributed to a broad and deep perspective on education and the role that social–emotional learning and academic achievement play within it.

Marina Fradera roundMarina Fradera (she/her/hers)

Marina has spent a decade serving Philadelphia as an educator, trainer, funder, and is a certified Trauma Competent Professional. As the Director of Trauma and Curriculum with Sunrise, she supports trauma-informed staff professional development through one-on-one coaching and leads training for partner agencies. She also designs trauma-sensitive lesson plans and curates resources to streamline the efforts of school-based staff. She holds an M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Chestnut Hill College with concentrations in Special Education and Language Arts and a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College.

Julie Frank roundJulie Frank (she/her/hers)

Julie has more than 17 years of corporate and nonprofit experience in physical activity, physical education, health, and community wellness. Julie moved into the SPARK Executive Director role in 2019 and has been with SPARK for over a total of 15 years. Julie received her bachelor’s degree in Community Health Education from UW-La Crosse, WI, has completed Master of Public Health coursework from San Diego State University and recently received an Executive MBA degree. Julie has been a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) since 2000. As a SPARK After School elite trainer, Julie has conducted hundreds of workshops and presentations.

Dr. David Franklin roundDr. David Franklin (he/him/his)

Dr. David Franklin is an award-winning school administrator, education professor, curriculum designer, and presenter. He earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from California State University, East Bay, a Master’s Degree in Education Technology from National University, and holds a B.A. in Music from the University of California, San Diego.

Dr. Franklin is an Education Consultant and a Professor of Education for Colorado State University. He is also a Marzano Research fellow trained in High Reliability Schools, Instructional Rounds, Collaborative Teams, and PLCs and works with educators around the country on school improvement.

Dr. Franklin has presented at national and international education conferences and is a sought-after presenter in the areas of academic intervention, school leadership, professional learning communities, creating a shared vision, developing common assessments, and designing data analysis protocols. He also coaches new and veteran school and district administrators. His upcoming book, Advice From The Principal's Desk, will be released in November 2023 from Jossey-Bass publishing.

Katie Frazier round Katie Frazier (she/her/hers)

Katie Frazier is a Social and Emotional Learning Specialist at WINGS for Kids. Since 2012, Katie has served WINGS in multiple capacities: afterschool mentor, program associate, and program coordinator and coach. Her deep knowledge of social and emotional learning comes from her many years as a practitioner in applying concrete methods, techniques, and approaches with underserved youth. Katie develops and facilitates internal staff trainings and curriculum, presents at national and local youth development conferences, and trains youth development professionals and educators around the country. She has her master’s degree in psychology.

Blair Freedman roundBlair Freedman (she/her/hers)

Blair Freedman is the West Region Senior Director for Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) where she manages state-wide and local partnerships and leads a team charged with the program delivery, sustainability, and expansion of the Know the Signs programs. Blair holds a master's degree in social work and a minor in business administration from Columbia University. Blair’s career has been in the nonprofit sector, fulfilling a personal and professional passion for youth services and programming. Joining SHP early in its infancy in 2016, Blair has been able to witness and contribute to SHP’s rapid growth and impact across the country.

Michael Funk roundMichael Funk (he/him/his)

Michael Funk, Director of the Expanded Learning Division (EXLD) for the California Department of Education (CDE), was appointed in 2012. The EXLD, with deep field engagement at the start, developed “A Vision for Expanded Learning in California, Strategic Plan 1.0: 2014–2016”. The impact of this Strategic Plan resulted in numerous successes in embedding quality, systems, and technical assistance to support programs and elevate expanded learning as a key partner in the K–12 education system. The plan created a California statewide system of support comprised of members of the CDE, County Offices of Education, and Statewide Contracted Technical Assistance Providers.

Michael led the second iteration, “A Vision for Expanded Learning in California, Strategic Plan 2.0: 2019–2023”, to sustain California’s momentum and innovative path to support quality expanded learning programs across the State.

This System of Support for Expanded Learning has been working with the Center for Systems Awareness for many years to support staff and students through the Compassionate Systems Framework.

Prior to this role, Michael worked in San Francisco and founded the Sunset Neighborhood Beacon Center in the early 1995 and founded Experience Corps Bay Area in 1998. Michael also co-founded and co-led the Learning In Afterschool and Summer initiative, a partnership with Temescal Associates.

Daunte Fyall roundDaunte Fyall (he/him/his)

In his representation of the mission of DAANSEKOU CULTURAL ARTS COLLECTIVE Daunté “KINGTAE” Fyall and his team of artists work closely with inner city youth while also collaborating with corporate groups. They promote the development of Ancestral knowledge through Love, Tradition, Family, Community, Unity & Movement. With an affinity for Cultural Education and Performance, DAANSEKOU believes that "...true healing starts with Pure Heart and Positive Intention..." DAANSEKOU is on a quest to empower others to discover a greater self-awareness through Light (knowledge), Love (for humanity), and Positive Energy. 

Deanna Galarza roundDeanna Galarza (she/her/hers)

Deanna began working at LA’s BEST in 1994 and has more than 30 years of experience working with youth. As the Director of Leadership Development, her role encompasses being responsible for creating and supporting continuous learning opportunities and assisting leadership staff in successfully integrating ideas and strategies toward quality student and staff engagement. Deanna earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies.

Molly Garcia roundMolly Garcia (she/her/hers)

Molly Garcia is a Coach and Consultant for FranklinCovey Education. For over 20 years, she has served as a Bilingual Teacher, Instructional Coach, and Building Principal in high-poverty schools in Arizona. 

Her last 10 years in the field were as an administrator in the Dysart Unified School District. She served as the school principal at Luke Elementary: the first Lighthouse School in the region. Her servant leadership approach and genuine kindness are deeply embedded in the school community and will forever be in their hearts.

Molly served as an inspirational leader in professional development for her school and district, focusing her workshops on leadership, brain research, and highly effective classroom practices. She served as a mentor to new administrators in the district and was recognized as a Rodel Exemplary Principal of the Year in the state of Arizona for her work with disadvantaged children. In addition, Molly served as an instructor at Grand Canyon University, where she taught Teacher Evaluation and School Culture to aspiring principals. She was awarded the 2018 Adjunct Faculty of the Year Award for her motivational and highly engaging classes. 

Molly’s passion is deep-rooted in empowering and inspiring ALL students and teachers, particularly in high impoverished areas. She has led her school community to recognition and embraced the belief that we are better together.

Molly earned her bachelor’s degree in bilingual education at Arizona State University and her master’s degree at The University of Phoenix in educational leadership and supervision. Molly also currently serves as the host of our Leader in Me “Empowering Teacher” podcast—a space for our teachers to connect, inspire, and take away doable strategies to implement in the classroom today.

Anastasia Geinrikh roundAnastasia Geinrikh (she/her/hers)

As the Project Manager for the Center’s Experience Corps Sacramento program, Anastasia Geinrikh is responsible for a volunteer-based tutoring program that engages literacy tutors for struggling students. She is instrumental in bringing awareness and funding to advance literacy skills by collaborating with the Sacramento Literacy Foundation, SCUSD, and AARP. Anastasia supports evidence-based curriculum in expanded learning programs, builds home libraries for children, and expands summer reading. Anastasia received her BA in English Language and Comparative Literature and worked as an ESL teacher in Saint-Petersburg, Russia.

Tiffany Gipson roundTiffany Gipson (she/her/hers)

Tiffany Gipson is the Director of Equity & Quality for the California AfterSchool Network (CAN). She started with CAN as a member of the Leadership Team and quickly transitioned to a staff position in August 2017. Before becoming a part of the CAN Team, Tiffany was the Technical Assistance Director for Higher Ground NDC, a social justice and educational non-profit that focused on sharing high-quality afterschool and support services to schools and communities of color throughout Northern California. In conjunction with her work with Higher Ground, she has also facilitated and chaired several community-based social justice efforts that focused on impacting and interrupting the systems that prevent equity for all. She was the Chair of the Oakland Chapter of the NAACP, Youth Committee, CO-Chair of the African American Advisory Committee on Crime to the Oakland Police Department, and the Co-Chair for East Oakland Building Healthy Communities. She also completed a 2-year After School Knowledge (ASK) Fellowship for the Soda Foundation specifically to share and build best practices for organizations to work with school systems to replicate high-quality after school programs throughout diverse communities.

Tiyana Glenn roundTiyana Glenn (she/her/hers)

Tiyana joined the Afterschool Alliance in April 2021. As the Project Associate, she provides support for our national AmeriCorps VISTA project and our national field-building initiatives. Before coming to the Alliance, she worked as a Program Director for an afterschool program and for an out-of school time (OST) intermediary. Her work also includes being a White-Riley-Peterson OST Policy Fellow, a board member for a few afterschool/OST organizations, and a grant reviewer in the field. Tiyana holds a BA in Communication Studies from UNC Charlotte and an MS in Family & Human Development from Arizona State University.

Dr. Edward Gonzalez roundDr. Edward Gonzalez (he/him/his)

Dr. Edward Gonzalez is an equity-driven educator with extensive experience at the k12 and higher education levels. As the recipient of the CSU Fullerton Edwin Carr Fellow and the Computer Using Educators Leroy Finkle Fellow, Dr. Gonzalez strives to co-build structures that ensure the success of all learners. You can find Dr. Gonzalez regularly presenting at local conferences and large educational technology conferences such as the National CUE Conference and the International Society for Technology in Education.

Javier Gonzalez roundJavier Gonzalez (he/him/his)

Javier Gonzalez, Director of Programs, is passionate about serving youth and has 15 years of experience developing youth leaders with an emphasis in sports education, fitness, and wellness. In his current role, Javier oversees 20 school sites and special projects, facilitates sports training, and oversees Woodcraft’s large-scale sports tournaments and events. Javier has provided professional development training on topics that include scaffolded skills and drills, relationship building, and supporting student athletes to be successful in life.

Kathy Grote roundKathy Grote (she/her/hers)

Kathy is a youth worker, facilitator, strategic thought partner, and a bit of a data nerd who has almost 20 years of experience in nonprofit organizations. She has served as senior leadership in youth-facing organizations and has acted as a strategic coach to a network of 40+ youth-serving organizations that serve upwards of 22,000 young people in New Orleans.

Kathy’s areas of expertise are in youth and youth workforce development, strategic program design/re-design, coaching non-profits to raise the quality of service for young people, facilitating professional development workshops, and centering gratitude in personal and professional spaces.

Jodi Grant roundJodi Grant (she/her/hers)

Jodi Grant has been Executive Director of the Afterschool Alliance since 2005. Prior to joining the Afterschool Alliance, Grant served as Director of Work and Family Programs for the National Partnership for Women & Families. Grant graduated from Yale University with honors in 1990 and was elected senior class president. She received her law degree from Harvard University. As a student, she volunteered at an afterschool program. She currently serves as a Board Member of the Search Institute, on the Coalition for Community Schools Steering Committee and is as a Trustee of the America’s Promise Alliance.

Cheryl Greene roundCheryl Greene (she/her/hers)

Cheryl Greene has spent her career in education and is passionate about bully prevention methods and helping to create classrooms where all children can thrive. Under her leadership, the Welcoming Schools program trains and equips outstanding facilitators across the country to provide professional development, support, and resources aimed at making schools welcoming for all students and families.

Dee Hankins roundDee Hankins (he/him/his)

Dee Hankins helps people feeling lost, hopeless, and unmotivated, keep moving forward. Dee grew up in foster care and endured both physical and statistical challenges. Relying on his resilience; the ability to bounce back, Dee now speaks to thousands of people every year leaving them with a message that life throws curveballs but even curveballs can be hit for home runs!

 and remember...

Life throws curveballs but even curveballs can be hit for home runs!

Mia Harding roundMia Harding (she/her/hers)

Mia Harding serves as Chief Impact Officer at The Literacy Lab. She has spent her career advocating for educational equity and holistic, student-centered practices with a focus on meeting the needs of youth who identify as historically disenfranchised, socioeconomically disadvantaged, and/or are in foster care, as well as the communities in which they live. In her spare time, Mia enjoys baking, spending time with her loved ones, and traveling.

Daniel Hatcher roundDaniel Hatcher (he/him/his)

Daniel W. Hatcher is the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation where he has served since 2008. A nationally recognized workshop facilitator, he has spoken at education and youth development conferences in over 30 states and Canada. Previously, Daniel served as Director of Outreach at Youth Service America. Daniel has a BA in International Relations, a Master of Public Health and is certified in nature and forest therapy.

Caitlin Healy roundCaitlin Healy (she/her/hers)

Caitlin Healy, Education and Outreach Manager at The Practice Space, has over 15 years of experience teaching youth of all ages, and most recently coaching teachers on Expression-Driven Teaching. Caitlin taught social studies for seven years in public schools, where she also helped coach teachers on project-based and blended learning, and supported high school students in facilitating peer education workshops to over 1,000 middle and high school students. She has a Master’s in Education from Mills College and uses her background in alternative education to advocate for youth pushed to the margins by public school systems.

Olaf Henderson roundOlaf Henderson (he/him/his)

Mr. Henderson holds a Master of Education degree from Texas Woman’s University and is certified as a teacher. He is also an 8th-degree Belt Black and is a Master instructor with the Black Belt Bureau. Mr. Henderson also is the Director of an afterschool program and has a National Afterschool Director certification, as well as a CDA certification. 

Ashley Hemmy roundAshley Hemmy (she/her/hers)

Ashley Hemmy, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for the education nonprofit American Student Assistance, oversees ASA’s philanthropy programs and partnerships, including the Solve Together Contest. Prior to this role, she taught fifth grade for seven years in Virginia and in New Orleans, where she served as a Teach for America corps member. Ashley received a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Florida, a M.Ed in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Virginia, a post-master’s certificate in school leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University, and is currently an Ed.D candidate at Vanderbilt University.

Chelsea Hester roundChelsea Hester (she/her/hers)

Chelsea is dedicated to equipping teachers with the tools to empower their students to become today's leaders. Going on 10 years in the world of Education. Chelsea holds a bachelor's degree in K-12 Language Arts and Mathematics Adaptive Curriculum.

Clarence Hogan roundClarence Hogan (he/him/his)

For more than 20 years I have managed programs that facilitate after-school and out-of-school programs for youth and teens in under-served communities. Currently, I am the Center Director at Chicago Youth Centers, a Youth Development Organization in Chicago that invests in youth in under-served communities. Through my company, Sonny Speaks, I use comedy and storytelling to build community, develop relationships and address issues. Through my organization Living 2 Learn I provide educational enriching, culturally conscious, and socially stimulating programs to youth and teens.

Michelle Houle roundMichelle E. Houle (she/her/hers)

Michelle E. Houle is a grant specialist, author, and educator. She knows that the best-written grant applications tell a compelling story. She has published non-fiction and reference works for major publishers, including ABC-CLIO, Gale/Cengage, and Oxford University Press. She holds a BA in Creative Writing and an M. Ed in Instructional Design. She has received the “Local Author Award” from the San Diego Public Library and is excited to help you tell your program’s story.

Nathan Houston (he/him/his)Nathan Houston

Nathan holds over 20 years of experience with Expanded Learning Programs that serve diverse communities in Sacramento and California. Nathan possesses over 5 years of experience as the previous Director of Professional Development at the Center for Fathers and Families. In addition, he worked on numerous committees with the California AfterSchool Network and the California Department of Education Expanded Learning Division to increase the quality of youth programs. Nathan is a proud BOOST Ambassador. 

Ashley Hunt round Ashley Hunt (she/her/hers)

Ashley Hunt is the Director of Programs & Development at The SPARK Initiative, Inc. - a non-profit organization in Tampa, FL, dedicated to working with at-risk youth, sex trafficking survivors, and incarcerated juveniles, men and women. Ashley began her career at SPARK in 2015 by mentoring our communities most vulnerable youth. From there, her passion to serve the community led her to developing creative new ways to incorporate visual and engaging activities to help youth discover their unlimited potential and unbreakable SPARK inside. Ashley is the co-author of the evidence-based and CASEL approved, SPARK Mentoring Programs.

Lisa Hunt roundLisa Hunt (she/her/hers)

Lisa joined the Training and Team Development team in 2016, after 20 years of experience in facilitating and training in the field. Her degree in Anthropology and Sociology combined with her certificate in Outdoor Leadership from Greenfield Community College merged well to create a foundation of curiosity about culture and organizations, and how aspects of risk and adventure impact all of us. A self-described lifelong learner, Lisa became a Certified Practitioner in Everything DiSC® in 2022, which has proven to be a valuable assessment tool for teams, including the team here at High 5.

Claudine James roundClaudine James (she/her/hers)

Over her 13-year teaching career, 8th grade ELA teacher, Claudine James, has won numerous awards as well as being National Board and ESL certified. But recently her success has been on a different level. At the end of 2020, Ms. James, known on TikTok as @iamthatEnglishteacher, started posting grammar lessons on TikTok in order to reach virtual students who weren’t watching her YouTube tutorials. However, her students weren’t the only ones watching her videos. She has now amassed 3.7 million followers from 84 countries and was chosen as ARKTESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) Teacher of the Year. Her grammar videos and stories motivate and inspire current/future teachers. Now her classroom expands around the world, plus she’s helping to remind other educators how much they are needed in the education profession. A blog written by College Board, “Five TikTok Famous Teachers Everyone Should Follow”, lists Ms. James as number one. In addition to being the district’s community liaison, Ms. James serves on several advisory boards, the board of directors for the local library, and is a proud BOOST Ambassador and the 2023 BOOST Conference OSTI Award recipient. 

Vivian Jimenez roundVivian Jimenez (she/her/hers)

Vivian Jimenez, Learning Manager, is a highly driven professional with 9 years' experience in quality expanded learning. As a Learning Manager, Vivian continuously elevates staff capacity to best support the youth they serve by developing various curricula and supporting the development of trainings on topics such as procedural new hire onboarding, training philosophy and active engagement. Vivian received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from California State University, Los Angeles, and her Associate of Arts Degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences from East Los Angeles Community College.

Dawn Marie Johnson roundDawn Marie Johnson (she/her/hers)

Dawn Marie Johnson, Director of Leadership & Culture for the South Dakota Afterschool Network, has devoted her life to helping others discover their own strengths. Rallying around those who deserve support and celebrating those who experience success have been part of her outreach strategies to help build a better tomorrow for all those around her. She supports schools and after school organizations through collaboration and partnerships. A graduate of the University of South Dakota, she has been recognized for her work through awards from Running Strong for American Indian Youth. 

Evan Johnson roundEvan Johnson (they/them/theirs)

Evan Johnson (they/them/theirs) is the Community and Youth Programming Manager for TFSS. They’ve fostered connection and understanding over the past six years by sharing their own journey as a nonbinary youth, student, and young professional with many audiences, from national conferences to local organizations. Evan has a bachelor’s degree in social work and helps train people in healthcare, legal, education, and other environments; on gender diversity and policy. They are dedicated to educating, advocating, learning, and listening to create a safer world for all trans and gender non-conforming youth.

Danielle Jones round Danielle Jones (she/her/hers)

Danielle Jones is the System of Support for Expanded Learning (SSEL) County Lead for Region 6 based out of the Stanislaus County Office of Education in Modesto, CA. In her capacity as a trainer and technical assistance provider, she supports over 200 expanded learning programs throughout Region 6 which include Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Calaveras, and San Joaquin Counties. Danielle was invited to participate in the Compassionate Systems Framework Master Practitioner Program in 2021-22. She completed her year and is now a Certified Master Practitioner in Compassionate Systems for the Center for Systems Awareness.

Dr. Charli Kemp roundDr. Charli Kemp (she/her/hers)

Dr. Charli Kemp Executive Director of Change The Tune is a conductor of transformative learning experiences that build capacity within community members to become powerful change agents. Before earning her MBA in 2014 from the University of Southern California, & was a Teach For America Fellow and taught middle school math and science in New York City for five years. She worked for Green Dot Public Schools and developed the organization’s first SEL framework. Charli received her BA from Spelman College and her doctorate in education leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. 

Rebby Kern roundRebby Kern (they/them/theirs)

Rebby Kern (they/them) is a biracial, nonbinary queer person whose personal experience and professional career have placed them in the work of opening hearts and minds to equity, inclusion, and action. Rebby is an Expert Trainer for the HRC's Welcoming Schools program guiding educators to create space for LGBTQ+ youth and their families to thrive. 

Sophie Kidd roundSophie Kidd (she/her/hers)

Sophie Kidd joined the Afterschool Alliance team in April 2022. She is the Project Associate for both the Field Outreach and Research teams. Her work includes updating the afterschool field on new research and evaluations, highlighting best practices and promising afterschool programs, educating programs, and advocating for ways to strengthen their efforts. Before joining the Alliance, she worked as a Research Analyst at Policy Studies Associates, a research and evaluation firm focused on education and youth development. Sophie graduated from the College of William & Mary with a B.A. in Public Policy.

Shawn Kirby round

Shawn Kirby (he/him/his)

Shawn Kirby is a physics and chemistry teacher at Palm Springs High School. He has his own segment on the morning video announcements “SciFriday” that engages students with hands-on science experiments. In addition to his classroom teaching duties, he is active in working for the Palm Springs Unified School District Family Engagement Center. He has presented at the center's annual “STEMcon” since 2018 and is active in assisting with the Science Fair Academy. Outside of PSUSD, Shawn is the vice president for high schools for the Southern California Chapter of the American Association of Physics Teachers.

Frances Knight Thompson M.S. Ed roundFrances Knight Thompson, M.S. Ed. (she/her/hers)

I began my career in education as an elementary school music teacher with Virginia Beach City Public Schools and later continued as an elementary school counselor. In 2014, I fully retired, after 40 years of service as guidance department chair at Kemps Landing Magnet School for middle school gifted students. I received a bachelor's degree in music education from Hampton University, a master's degree in education from Old Dominion University, and certification in gifted education from the University of Virginia. Currently, I serve as founder and CEO of Educational Equity Specialists, LLC, a consulting firm based in Virginia.

Joel Weber Knopf roundJoel Weber Knopf (he/him/his)

Joel Weber Knopf is a composer/lyricist whose music has been featured on NPR’s The Uncertain Hour podcast and the Emotion Motion podcast for kids. His original shows The Last Ibex, Unadmissions: A Law School Musical, and God and Xylophones have been performed at new works events in California and NYC. Recently the head of content at Move This World, Joel has taught music with New York City Guitar School, ran early childhood music classes with Jam with Jamie, and worked as a teaching artist with City Center Theater Company and Wingspan Arts. @joelknopf

Brad LademannBrad Lademann (he/him/his)

Brad Lademann serves as the Associate Director for Quality Initiatives for the Missouri AfterSchool Network (MASN). He has over 20 years of experience in youth development work in various capacities. In his role with MASN, Brad works to provide training and technical assistance, as well as relevant professional development, to afterschool professionals to help improve the quality of afterschool and out-of-school time programs across the state.  

Christine Lawlor King roundChristine Lawlor-King (she/her/hers)

Christine Lawlor-Kin is an educator who is pioneering innovation and entrepreneurship learning in and out of the classroom. She created her district’s award-winning K-12 STEM program and has been the catalyst for implementing invention education curriculum in many schools, on a national and international level. She managed the Invention Convention Worldwide (annually bringing innovation & entrepreneurship to 100k+ students globally). Her current consulting role with the Lemelson MIT program has her inspiring more in school and out of school educators to teach invention earning her STEMconnector’s Community Trailblazer Award.

Jenice Lee roundJenice Lee (she/her/hers)

Jenice Lee is an Out-of-School-Time practitioner that has two decades of experience working with youth in various communities. Her specialties are creating supportive systems for academic growth and fostering leadership opportunities for students to reach their greatest potential. Jenice’s goal is to share effective strategies and techniques with program staff, students, and families for the advancement of their communities.

Arielle Lentz round

Arielle Lentz (she/her/hers)

Lentz is a research associate at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). She primarily uses quantitative methods to study afterschool time, summer, and early childhood learning. Lentz is currently pursuing a Ph.D in Education Statistics and Research Methods at the University of Delaware, where she studies policy implementation. Before working at AIR, she worked as an afterschool and summer program director in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Lentz holds her master's in education policy from the University of Pennsylvania, and her bachelor's in early childhood education from Temple University.

Yesenia Leon roundYesenia Leon (she/her/hers)

Yesenia Leon has over 12 years in education and facilitating Social Emotional Learning programs. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from California State University, Northridge, and is currently in the process of earning a Masters in Social Work. Yesenia supports Birmingham Community Charter High School (Los Angeles) serving grades 9-12 as part of EduCare's ACE Initiative. She provides social-emotional support to students while training staff to incorporate Heartset® Education curriculum in their classrooms. Yesenia has experience supporting college students and is extremely passionate about seeing young people fulfill their potential. 

Lauren Levorsen roundLauren Levorsen (she/her/hers)

Lauren Levorsen is the School Alignment and Data Specialist at the Utah Afterschool Network. She has a B.S. in Marriage & Family Studies from BYU-Idaho and is a current M.Ed. candidate in Educational Psychology at the University of Georgia. She happened upon afterschool programming by accident during her college years and fell in love with it on her first day as an afterschool professional. Lauren has participated in multiple roles as an afterschool professional over the last 10 years: youth librarian, direct service staff member, and program coordinator, all before stepping into her role at UAN. 

Liviera Lim roundLiviera Lim (she/her/hers)

As a child, Liviera wanted to teach, act, and write, so she's ecstatic to be able to do all three (and more) at Young Storytellers. She has experience as camp counselor and even served as the Artistic Director at the Grab Bag Theater, a theatre company based in the Bay Area. Liviera first got involved with Young Storytellers as a Big Show actor, then as a mentor and intern, and then finally as a head mentor and staff member. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre and a Minor in Cinematic Arts, and is currently a Masters student in Education at the California State University, Fullerton.

Sebrina Lindsay Law Ed.D. CPDC roundSebrina Lindsay-Law, Ed.D., CPDC (she/her/hers)

I serve as Learning Strategist with Edjacent Collaborative and Director of Content Development, Equity, and Leadership at New Leaders; also I am a certified professional diversity coach and Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) administrator. I graduated from Old Dominion University with a Bachelor of Arts in secondary social studies education. I also earned both a Master of Arts and a doctoral degree from The George Washington University. I believe through inclusive conversations, empathetic listening opportunities, and adaptive practices, teams can establish solution-oriented outcomes to support communities and organizations.

Trent Lira roundTrent Lira (they/them/theirs)

Trent Lira is the Community Safe Spaces Coordinator at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. They work in community-based programs and youth services educating and advocating for LGBTQ youth, particularly in the OUT for Safe Spaces initiative. They also support the CAN’s Youth Leadership Team, school-based programs like the national Out for Safe Schools initiative, and the CAN Coalition and the RISE programs focused on supporting LGBTQ+ youth in systems of care. Trent has 7 years of experience in community resources navigation, student services, wraparound services and after-school programming and enrichment, particularly with youth under 18.

Lindsay Litzinger roundLindsay Litzinger (she/her/hers)

Lindsay has worked for the past 14 years in educational publishing, developing and implementing programs that engage and inspire students and educators. Her role as California Market Director is to partner with and listen to educational leaders across the state, ensuring each ProSolve offering provides what students need and deserve.

Sonia Llamas Ed.D. L.C.S.W. roundSonia Llamas, Ed.D., L.C.S.W. (she/her/hers)

Sonia Rodarte Llamas, Ed.D., L.C.S.W., is the Assistant Superintendent of K-12 School Performance and Culture at the Santa Ana Unified School District which serves approximately 40,000 TK-12 students. The departments/areas that she oversees are Research and Evaluation, College and Career Readiness, Counseling, Expanded Learning, Student Services, LCAP, MTSS, and Grant Writing. She holds a Bachelor’s in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley, a Master's of Social Work from California State University at Long Beach, and a Doctor of Education from the University of Southern California. She is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Hawhana Locklear roundHawhana Locklear (she/her/hers)

Hawhana Locklear is a Federal Program Administrator with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), 21st CCLC program. She has over 27 years of experience in education. Prior to working with NCDPI, Hawhana worked for 12 years principal in rural North Carolina. She also has served as a media specialist, teacher, Director of Indian Education, and Director of Online Learning. Throughout her career, she has specialized in technology and equipping teachers with best practices in teaching and learning.

Mike Lopez roundMike Lopez (he/him/his)

Mike Lopez supervises school-based programs at the Los Angeles LGBT Center and holds a Master’s in Psychology, specializing in LGBTQ Youth Studies. Over the past 9 years, Mike has worked with LGBTQ youth and has led school-based initiatives working with students & staff on school campuses supporting LGBTQ clubs. Mike has facilitated multiple workshops bringing competency and knowledge to individuals who work with LGBTQ youth. Mike has worked to build capacity with a coalition of community members who work together to provide safe & nurturing spaces and reduce substance misuse among the LGBTQ youth population in Los Angeles.

Marla Lowry roundMarla Lowry (she/her/hers)

Marla Lowry has a passion for out-of-school-time program. She is currently the ELO-P Program Coordinator for the Alta Loma School District. Prior to this, Marla served as a School Site Coordinator. Coming from a business management background Marla brings an important perspective. Over the past year, she has worked to integrate the current fee-based program into an Expanded Learning Program that serves ALL students. Creating a robust program in a smaller size district has proved to be a task that was worth completing as students enjoy the EXPLORE Program at all 8 Elementary sites.

Debe Loxton M.A. roundDebe Loxton, M.A. (she/her/hers)

Debe Loxton, M.A. has led Los Angeles Unified's Beyond the Bell branch since 2021. Previously, she spent over two decades at LA’s BEST, most recently as COO. Prior to joining LA’s BEST, Ms. Loxton worked for 10 years in the Youth Services Section of Los Angeles Unified. Ms. Loxton is a longtime activist on various education committees, which have included the LA County Office of Education, CA AfterSchool Network, Cross Cities Network, and LA Partnership for After School Enrichment. Ms. Loxton holds a master's degree from Pacific Oaks College and has also served as senior adjunct faculty in the Human Development Department.

Leslye LugoLeslye Lugo (she/her/hers)

Leslye Lugo is a Specialist in Policy & Outreach for the California AfterSchool Network (CAN). She joined the CAN team in February of 2021. Before joining the CAN team, Leslye supported BIPOC Transitional Age Youth (TAY) who were working in the field of expanded learning and seeking to become public school teachers, counselors, and social workers for the San Francisco Unified School District. At the same time, Leslye was a part of the lead agency for the San Francisco Educator Pathway Coalition (SFEPC) and helped inform this network of community-based organizations and educational institutions by bringing to the surface the barriers that TAY workers were experiencing. Leslye has also previously served as a Site Coordinator and Camp Director for a middle school program in San Francisco and knows firsthand how crucial it is to create a clear educator pipeline for youth workers in the expanded learning field. For 15+ years, Leslye has served youth and families through advocacy work and direct service. She believes it is important to provide adequate resources to the expanded learning field so that young people can have access to high-quality programs and youth workers can have thriving careers.

Dr. Michelle Lustig round Dr. Michelle Lustig (she/her/hers)

Michelle Lustig, Ed.D, MSW, Program Director for the Foster Youth Technical Assistance Program for the Los Angeles County Office of Education, provides support to California’s county offices of education Foster Youth Services Coordinating Programs. Dr. Lustig served as the Director of Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program and Homeless Education with the San Diego County Office of Education. In that role, she created nationally recognized programs that support and increase school stability and academic outcomes for students in foster care. She has over 30 years of experience in public and private child welfare, research and education. 

Monimia Macbeth roundMonimia (Mimi) Macbeth (she/her/hers)

Monimia “Mimi” Macbeth, is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and Dance/Movement Therapist in Chicago. Mimi’s clinical background includes treatment for individuals who have experienced severe trauma, eating disorders, and substance abuse. She works in private practice, academic, and community settings, and provides training on arts integration, social-emotional learning, and the power of cultural exploration for healing, to professionals and youth throughout the city. Mimi is a lifelong learner of African dance and African diasporic dance styles, with a variety of training in traditional dance techniques and performing arts.

Eliana Mancilla roundEliana Mancilla (she/her/hers)

Eliana Mancilla, Associate Director of Professional Development and Learning is a child development professional with more than 10 years’ experience in early childhood education and family engagement. Eliana has extensive experience in STEAM education programming and successfully developed and facilitated STEAM workshops which she presented at conferences such as Every Child California ECE Conference and the National Head Start Association Conference. At Woodcraft Rangers she created the STEAM Junior Rangers’ framework and facilitated training for all kindergarten club leaders.

Jessica Manning Acebo roundJessica Manning-Acebo (she/her/hers)

Jessica Manning-Acebo is a dynamic, literacy expert who has worked nationally to support districts in achieving their targeted goals for student achievement in reading and writing. With a background in special education and elementary education, her career expands over several positions including Regional Director of Professional Learning, State Literacy Liaison, director of a state-wide secondary writing grant, instructional coach, and Solutions Marketing Manager. Jessica’s work is rooted in the belief that access to quality literacy instruction is a fundamental right for all children.

Jessica Marcucci roundJessica Marcucci (she/her/hers)

Jessica is committed to providing students with authentic and meaningful learning opportunities, with 8+ years of experience in experiential education. As the Customer Enablement Manager at ProSolve, she is dedicated to empowering and supporting educators in providing engaging learning experiences that target and cultivates Human Intelligence

Jen Martin roundJen Martin (she/her/hers)

Jen Martin, Education Consultant, has been leading in youth-focused non-profit organizations for over 15 years. She has served in many different roles throughout her career, including case management, after school and summer program manager, technical assistant, and success lead. She now supports adults and organizations with professional development and coaching related to Social Emotional Character Development, Summer Learning, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and leads efforts with youth organizations to strengthen systems and structures that support high-quality programming and continuous improvement.

Danny Martinez roundDanny Martinez (he/him/his)

Danny Martinez, Senior Consultant, has over 25 years of experience in expanded learning, technology integration, and the STEM disciplines to support students’ academic engagement and achievement in both school and out-of-school learning environments. His expertise focuses on helping teachers and out-of-school-time providers best use technology, project-based learning, and data and research to support students’ learning in content areas. He has provided technical assistance and professional development to 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Departments of Youth and Community Development, and state departments of education and districts.

Billy Mawhiney roundBilly Mawhiney (he/him/his)

Billy Mawhiney grew up on farmland in a rural Missouri town of 113. He is also a member of the Wyandotte Nation. He began his career in afterschool while in college at the Boys & Girls Clubs in Springfield, Missouri. He would eventually take a leap into licensed school-age programs at the YMCA for the next 4 years. Billy has spent his formative years in South Dakota working on advocacy at the state and federal level, expanding capacity for his organization, and now turns that energy into all afterschool programs throughout the state of South Dakota.

Ryan McCarthy roundRyan McCarthy (he/him/his)

Ryan McCarthy is an experienced and dedicated educator and speaker who has trained thousands of teachers and community leaders across locations as diverse as Houston, New York, San Francisco, Palestine, and Beijing.

Ryan is passionate about the transformational power that employing Restorative Practices and frameworks can have on communities, and strongly believes that all impact-makers deserve access to the highest caliber of professional development and support, regardless of location, background, or resources.

Ryan’s work has impacted hundreds of organizations and over 100,000 youth across the world.

Jenna Mendez roundJenna Mendez (she/her/hers)

Jenna Mendez has been a School Counselor for 16 years at the elementary and high school levels doing both academic and crisis intervention. In that role, she worked with the foster youth and helped to create the All-Stars Foster Youth Program on her campus. Currently, she is the CNUSD District Foster Youth Counselor/Liaison, working with administrators and counselors in the district to create a comprehensive TK-12 program. She is also a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), working in private practice with children and teens for the last eight years. She holds National Board Certification in Counseling and School Counseling.

Cynthia Meneses roundCynthia Meneses (she/her/hers)

Cynthia Meneses is a Trainer Associate, at Woodcraft Rangers and has over 11 years' experience in education and expanded learning. Cynthia has served numerous roles such as teaching assistant, club leader, community liaison, camp counselor, and regional substitute. Cynthia is experienced in creating program curriculum and quality engagement tools for frontline staff. Having grown up being a product of afterschool programs in South LA, it is both her passion and priority to serve her community by working with the families and youth in her hometown.

Delphin Merlan Ed.D. roundDelfin Merlan, Ed.D. (he/him/his)

Executive Consultant with 20-plus years of creating, developing, and implementing 21st-century learning. Professor at the University of Maryland Global College, Franchise Owner of Healthy You Vending, and General Manager of Authentic Learning Experiences. Leadership development for succession planning. Focused on Leadership & Team Development for authentic learning experiences to thrive. Author of Standards of Authentic Learning Experiences and Authentic Learning Practice. Turning Missions, Visions, and Values into living cultural practices.

Janelle Merry roundJanelle Merry (she/her/hers)

Throughout my career, I have contributed to making an impact on my students' lives. I am a dynamic educator, specializing in engaging and equitable programs with a focus in recreational activities and sports. I recently became a part of the CVUSD Camp Cajon team to help develop a fun and exciting program for students this past summer. As a coordinator for Camp Cajon, I helped collect data on community and student interest to create programs that aligned with our district's mission and vision.

Brianna Miller roundBrianna Miller (she/her/hers)

Brianna Miller has over 12 years of experience working with Riverside County's CASA program, currently as the Philanthropy Manager for Voices for Children. She earned a BA in Environmental Studies from the University of San Diego in 2003, and served in the Peace Corps in Panama as a Community Environmental Conservation volunteer from 2006-2009.

Marisa Miller roundMarisa Miller (she/her/hers)

Marisa Miller has a passion for supporting programs to bring forth the bright potential of every child through intentional, hands-on, high-interest activities. Previously she has been a teacher in a juvenile justice facility, co-founded a school for rural at-risk teens, the program coordinator for a marine science center, program director for a Girls Inc. affiliate, and an ASES program supervisor. She has trained over a thousand people on how to build great programs. She has written more than 200 curriculum programs. She currently is the founder of Afterschool Publishing and offers consultation for CQI, Program Design, Curriculum, and PD.

Kathie Moehlig roundKathie Moehlig (she/her/hers)

Kathie Moehlig (she/her) is the Executive Director and Founder of TransFamily Support Services. She is committed to supporting transgender and other gender non-conforming people and their families, and to growing continually in her understanding of the diversity within this population. She was named “Woman of the Year” by California Assemblyperson Todd Gloria, and one of the “Best People of San Diego” by CityBeat Magazine. A certified life coach and parenting instructor and a member of numerous nonprofit and government advisory boards, Kathie has been featured in the New York Times and on NBC News.

Daniel Monterroso roundDaniel Monterroso (he/him/his)

Daniel began working at LA’s BEST in January 2008. As a member of the Staff Development Department, he leads, guides, and supports the learning facilitator team as well as various stakeholders to develop and deliver training to staff. In addition, he works with the Director of Program Development to develop and maintain systems that support all staff development efforts. In addition to working with LA’s BEST, Daniel has worked as a teacher assistant, a staff development consultant, and has worked with the Los Angeles County Office of Education.

Nick Monzi roundNick Monzi (he/him/his)

Nick has worked with global corporations, leading urban school districts, and national and regional after-school program providers to develop the Learn Fresh community program model. The experience has expanded to include initiatives with 30 professional sports teams and over 500,000 students. He has also driven the invention of four new programs, which have been funded and supported by team and league partners in North America, Africa, and Australia.

Nick earned a bachelor's degree in Entrepreneurship and Marketing Management from Syracuse University and completed his master's degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Douglas Morataya roundDouglas Moratoya (he/him/his)

Douglas is an Account Manager with KiwiCo. At KiwiCo, we hope to support your mission to ignite a love for learning. Our goal is to provide opportunities for growth in the classroom by providing hands-on projects that help students develop creative problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Douglas works with the team to identify activities that support learning goals and foster creativity and innovation to inspire confidence.

Jennifer Moorehead roundJennifer Moorehead (she/her/hers)

Jennifer Moorehead, aka Jupiter Jen, founded Science Explorers out of her garage in 1999. Since then, she has sparked a Science Revolution, helping countless students develop a love of learning and a passion for STEM. She also founded The SPARKS Foundation which focuses on bringing inquiry-based science programming to students who face financial barriers.

Jupiter Jen has led Science Explorers to be the recipient of awards such as “Best in STEM 2021” by Newsweek Magazine, “Women in STEM Award” from the Whitaker Science Center, and the “Making a Difference” award from the Technology Council of Central PA. 

Deborah Moroney roundDr. Deborah Moroney (she/her/hers)

Dr. Deborah Moroney is a vice president at AIR, where she leads AIR’s work in the area of Youth, Family, and Community Development. Dr. Moroney is a methodological expert in implementation science—in the context of both rigorous research and program evaluation—and her work often bridges the two worlds of research and practice. She is also an expert in STEM informal learning and community arts programming. Dr. Moroney serves as a reviewer or editorial board member on multiple peer-reviewed journals, and has authored practitioner and organizational guides using both research and practitioner input.

Julia Morris roundJulia Morris (she/her/hers)

With over 18 years of experience in education and nonprofit youth development leadership, Julia Morris’s expertise centers on youth development, advocacy, systems building, and making learning meaningful, memorable, and FUN! As GSAN's Summer Learning Manager, Julia is responsible for driving forward the work of building the summer learning system across the 13 counties of Greater Atlanta. Julia is passionate about children's literacy, advocating for high-quality out-of-school experiences for youth, and fostering stakeholder partnerships to meet the needs of young people and their families.

Jessica Munoz roundJessica Muñoz, Esq., MFS (she/her/hers)

Jessica Muñoz is the Riverside County Executive Director of Voices for Children (VFC). VFC trains and supports volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) who advocate for children in foster care. Previously, Jessica was a trial attorney who represented parents and children in juvenile dependency courts. In addition to her law degree, she holds a Master of Forensic Science degree and a professional certificate in nonprofit management. Jessica is a past chair of the County of San Diego – Juvenile Justice Commission. She has also worked in higher education, providing students with legal counseling and preventive legal education. 

Monica Murray roundMonica Murray (she/her/hers)

Monica Murray has spent her career helping students and staff reach their fullest potential through mastery of learning, establishing an environment of building relationships, and providing immediate feedback to employ optimum student engagement on a daily basis. Monica has successfully written and implemented 3 high school 21st Centers for her district and currently serves as the mentor for the most high school recent grantee.

Emily Murtaugh roundEmily Murtaugh (she/her/hers)

Emily Murtaugh is an Engage Every Student Fellow with Afterschool Alliance. As a Fellow, Emily reviews ESSER III District Spending Plans and researches how funds are being allocated at the district level. Before joining the Afterschool Alliance, she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA and Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator at Woodcraft Rangers. She has worked in the afterschool field for six years. Emily graduated magna cum laude and received her Bachelor of Arts in anthropology with a minor in statistics from American University; additionally, she has a University of California, Santa Barbara certificate in informal science education.

Rita Naranjo roundRita Naranjo (she/her/hers)

Rita Naranjo is a loving mother, community activist, and professor. Experiencing trauma through family loss and separation and then growing up in foster care; being incarcerated in her youth; and becoming a teen-mother have not stopped her. Rita has been involved in social justice work for over for over 30 years. Her work focuses on capacity building, restorative justice, healing, and leading by example. Rita is guided by a philosophy of decolonizing/indigenizing spaces and takes pride in building community relationships as an attentive learner, mentor and consultant.

Kelsey Neff roundKelsey Neff (she/her/hers)

Kelsey Neff improves workplace climate and culture with an intentional focus in two areas - systems and people. She practices the tenets of servant leadership and believes that excellence happens when you focus on both a big-picture vision as well as the day-to-day operations to make it a reality. Kelsey is an experienced trainer and has presented at local, state, national, and international education conferences. Her 10-year career in nonprofit management has created a foundation in strategic planning, assessment and evaluation, grant writing and management, professional development, and community organizing. 

Dr. Saliha Nelson roundDr. Saliha Nelson (she/her/hers)

Saliha Nelson, EdD is an award-winning non-profit executive, youth development practitioner, and community coalition builder dedicated to building opportunities that elevate the assets, aspirations, and contributions of urban youth. Currently, Dr. Nelson serves as CEO of URGENT, Inc., a non-profit creative youth development organization dedicated to empowering young creative minds to transform their lives and communities. Dr. Nelson earned her Doctor of Education in Applied Learning Sciences from the University of Miami.

Jessy Newman round

Jessy Newman (she/her/hers)

Jessica Newman is a senior researcher at the American Institutes for Research and a doctoral student at the University of Illinois – Chicago where she focuses on positive youth development and social and emotional learning in OST. She leads applied research and evaluation projects and develops field-focused tools, such as the Ready to Implement toolkit for OST practitioners. She co-authored the Beyond the Bell® Toolkit and has authored multiple chapters and presentations on youth development, SEL, and the OST field. Ms. Newman is driven by her work in translating research to practice and then using practice to drive her research.

Hiep Cao Nguyen roundHiep Nguyen (he/him/his)

With over 20 years of experience in making and teaching art, Hiep Nguyen is known for his dynamic, fun-loving, and non-judgmental facilitation style, Hiep's unique participatory process has transformed hundreds of empty walls and canvases and stretched the artistic muscles of people who otherwise do not have access to art or consider themselves creative. He is also a frequently sought-after master teacher and keynote speaker at art education conferences worldwide. Hiep is the Director of Circle Painting, a non-profit organization that has promoted art education, teamwork, and mental health through collaborative art initiatives since 2007.

Dr. Gil Noam roundDr. Gil G. Noam (he/him/his)

Gil Noam, Ed.D., Dr. Habil is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School focusing on prevention and resilience, serves as the Chair of Partnerships in Education and Resilience (PEAR), and leads the Institute for the Study of Resilience in Youth (ISRY) at McLean Hospital. He served as the director of the Risk and Prevention Program and is the founder of the RALLY Prevention Program, a Boston-based intervention that bridges social and academic support in school, afterschool, and community settings.

He has published over 200 papers, articles, and books in the areas of child and adolescent development as well as risk and resiliency in clinical, school, and afterschool settings. He also served as the editor-in-chief of the journal New Directions for Youth Development: Theory, Practice and Research with a strong focus on out-of-school time. Dr. Noam is trained as a clinical and developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst in both Europe and the United States.

​​Mark Noftz roundMark Noftz (he/him/his)

Mark Noftz has been the Director of the Center for Out-of-School Advancement (COSA) for Open Doors Academy in Cleveland, OH since 2018. He has held various leadership roles in the OST field with experience in program management, grant writing, curriculum development, staff development, training, and data reporting and entry. He has presented at various statewide and national OST conferences and has made several trips to Washington D.C. and Columbus, OH to advocate for OST funding. Mark is a licensed teacher who holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Education and a Masters in Curriculum and Teaching, both from Bowling Green State University.

Andrea Ohlsen Esparza roundAndrea Ohlsen-Esparza (she/her/hers)

Before arriving at Young Storytellers, Andrea Ohlsen-Esparza worked as a Program Coordinator for WriteGirl, developed curriculum, led creative writing workshops, and oversaw participation of teaching artists and special guests. She has a wide variety of experiences in the non-profit field from creating email campaigns for LA’s BEST to leading bilingual literacy classes for parents with the Boys and Girls Club. She has an intense passion for the arts and is a, improvisational actor/comedian and frequent live shows. She has a BA in Anthropology from California State University, Dominguez Hills with a Minor in Theater Performance.

Jessica Parent roundJessica Parent (she/her/hers)

Jessica Parent is the Assistant Principal at Cielo Vista Charter. An immigrant from Mexico, she became the AP just before CA school closures and has successfully helped lead her school during an unprecedented time. In 2019, she was recognized as a Riverside County Semi-Finalist TOY. Jessica started the first CTSO in PSUSD: HOSA Future Health Professionals. She also mentored other HOSA and JUMP advisors across the Coachella Valley. Her greatest contributions and accomplishments in education come from her passion to inspire and ensure that all students are provided with the equitable resources and opportunities to be college and career ready.

Jamie Parganos roundJamie Parganos (she/her/hers)

Jamie began her foray into youth development after being requisitioned to write an original children's musical. After years as a recording artist, Jamie transitioned full-time into running after school programs. She has worked for Good Shepherd Services, Manhattan Youth, Cambridge Learning Center, South Asian Youth Action, LEAP, Broadway Bound Kids, and Kaplan at elementary, middle, and high schools across New York. Jamie has a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management and Organizational Change. She works as the Project Manager for The New School’s “Management and Social Justice” conversation series.

Rupa Patel roundRupa Patel (she/her/hers)

Rupa Patel, Director of Strategic Projects, has been in the afterschool field for over 20 years. In the last 6 years, she has focused her skills and knowledge to support the HR department. In her current role, Rupa oversees employee engagement for an organization with 4000+ employees, consisting of engagement surveys, culture, rewards & recognition, and more.

Brenda Payne roundBrenda Payne (she/her/hers)

Brenda Payne has been an innovator in the field of Invention Education for K-12 students for 30 years, providing training for educators, program leaders, and administrators throughout the state of California. Brenda began her career as an educator in Northern California where she introduced invention education to students, utilizing an engineering curriculum she helped develop for her district. Continuing on as a principal at several schools and a superintendent, she began the California Invention Convention (CAIC), a program that serves thousands of students as an annual celebration of K-12 inventors and entrepreneurs across the state.

Tim Pehlke roundTim Pehlke (he/him/his)

Tim Pehlke serves as Director of Foundation Grants for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA). In this role he oversees the planning and implementation of all BBBSA national pilot projects and research initiatives.  His work includes partnering with local agencies to bring programs such as Beyond School Walls, Bigs in Blue/Bigs with Badges, Family Engagement, and Sports Buddies to a national audience. His work history includes over a decade of experience in corporate, nonprofit, and government sector positions.  Mr. Pehlke holds degrees from the University of Missouri, Miami University, and Greenville University. 

Anthonette Pena roundAnthonette Peña, NBCT (she/her/hers)

Anthonette is the Director of B-Unbound, Big Picture Learning’s initiative that partners with informal, out-of-school, and extended learning organizations to bring real-world learning opportunities to youth. She is passionate about education equity - particularly for women and historically marginalized groups in STEM. Her experiences include teaching middle school science in south FL and Washington DC, managing a national program to expand Computer Science education for K-12, and directing informal STEM programs in San Diego. She is an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow and a National Board Certified Teacher in Early Adolescence Science.

Lupita Perez roundLupita Perez (she/her/hers)

Lupita Perez joined the CAN team in April 2021 as a Program Coordinator. Prior to joining CAN, she served as an ASES Expanded Learning Site Coordinator in the Elk Grove Unified School District with The Sacramento Chinese Community Service Center. Lupita received her B.A. in Sociology and Feminist Studies with a minor in Applied Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Additionally, Lupita takes pride in being a Youth Mental-Health First-Aider and a Trauma-Informed Advocate. Prior to her start in Expanded Learning, Lupita was a crisis response advocate and safehouse case manager for WEAVE Inc. of Sacramento supporting survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.

Lupita is a former TA Fellow from the inaugural cohort of California’s Expanded Learning School of Leadership & Facilitation TA Fellowship; a year-long leadership cohort aimed at developing the skills of exemplar site-level leaders who work in expanded learning programs across the state. As such, she was tasked with facilitating dialogue that inspired action to integrate the California Quality Standards for Expanded Learning in sites and organizations to continuously improve the quality of their programs. Lupita is passionate about facilitating professional development opportunities and supporting educators in creating equitable and safe spaces to support all children, staff, and families. Lupita has served on State and County-wide Expanded Learning Workgroup teams surrounding whole child health and wellness and accessible communication strategies in the field. Also, Lupita led local, county, and state leaders in focused conversations surrounding quality and facilitated action planning that centered on intentionality and that honored each stakeholder’s voice and involvement in the process.

Melissa PerezMelissa Perez (she/her/ella)

Melissa is a Specialist in Policy & Outreach for the California AfterSchool Network (CAN). Melissa joined the CAN team in February 2021. Prior to joining CAN, she served as the ASES Expanded Learning Supervisor at the Fullerton School District in Fullerton, CA. Melissa has 15+ years of experience in various capacities working in Expanded Learning starting as direct-service staff, then as site leadership, and eventually program leadership. Melissa, along with her teams, engaged in program implementation with a CQI lens and thus developed high-quality programs, centered on positive youth development. Melissa’s calling, supporting, and advocating for young people, developed into an authentic leadership style and evolved into a passion for developing and advocating for Expanded Learning professionals. Melissa enjoys supporting and facilitating professional development opportunities and coaching educators in creating equitable spaces to support all children and youth. Her effective communication skills, team-based mindset, and strong organizational norms support her work in Communication and Events for the out-of-school time field. 

Holly Perry roundHolly Perry (she/her/hers)

Holly Perry has been in the talent acquisition field for 9 years, specializing in high-volume recruitment in the healthcare and educational fields. Since joining the expanded learning space, Holly has built out a diverse and robust talent department for an organization with more than 5,000+ employees supporting positions throughout the state of California. The team has increased monthly hires by nearly 200% per month, averaging nearly 600 new expanded learning employees.

Holly Phillips roundHolly Phillips (she/her/hers)

Holly Phillips became the Director of Operations for the Utah Afterschool Network during the fall of 2021. Her prior role with UAN involved research and tool creation to assist afterschool programs with school day and afterschool alignment. Her formal background and training is in environmental education and her passion is seeing youth light up when they make real-world connections to their learning. Rocky Mountain National Park was her home for 5 years where she taught youth as an Education Technician Park Ranger.

Natalie Pinedo roundNatalie Pinedo (she/her/hers)

Natalie Pinedo, Manager of Outdoor Education and Camp Woodcraft, has been providing quality expanded learning programs for more than 15 years. During her tenure at Woodcraft Rangers, Natalie applies her creativity and leadership skills to building compelling curricula and activities that make Camp Woodcraft and our Outdoor Education programs such a powerful experience for campers and counselors. Natalie is an active member of the American Camp Association and a graduate of the University of Phoenix, where she earned a BA in Human Service.

Dr. Ana Ponce roundDr. Ana Ponce (she/her/hers)

Dr. Ponce joined GPSN in 2019, after 19 years as CEO of Camino Nuevo Charter Academy. A daughter of Mexican immigrants and the first in her family to graduate college, Dr. Ponce started her career with Teach for America in South LA, later helping found the community's first charter school. She holds multiple degrees from Middlebury College, Columbia University, UCLA, and Loyola Marymount University. She serves on several boards, including CCSA, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, and UnidosUS. Her accomplishments prompted Forbes Magazine in 2011 to name her one of the top seven most powerful educators in the world.

Katie Price roundDr. Katie Price (she/her/hers)

Dr. Katie Price has been an educator at the high school, community college, and university level since 2011. She taught English for 10 years at a Title 1 high school. Katie directed 5 plays, started a school garden, and implemented creative electives. Katie currently teaches English at the Santa Rosa Junior College. Katie also teaches at Golden Gate University, and she is a supervisor of teaching credential candidates at Sonoma State University. 

Katie's research focuses on the impacts of participation in theater for Title 1 Latinx students. Katie lives in Sonoma County with her husband of 11 years and their 3 small children. 

Terrence Pruitt roundTerrence Pruitt (he/him/his)

Terrence Pruitt is a creative, innovative educator, and a healer on a journey to find healing and restoration for himself, his family, and his ancestors. Terrence is co-founder of Project Restore Initiative as a Co-Founder & Chief Healing Educator. Project Restore Initiative is a trusted global partner standing in solidarity with communities of color, and other marginalized communities, in efforts to affirm the full dignity of their humanity and to make an impact on the disparities and inequities that so often create obstacles to collective well-being.

Diana Reed roundDiana Reed (she/her/hers)

I have over 23 years of experience in the field of Expanded Learning, and have held every position from front line staff all the way to Director of 22 sites. Having recently retired from my position as Director of Expanded Learning Programs at a county office of education, I am eager to share my many years of expertise starting, staffing, expanding and managing school-site based after school and summer programs. Although retired, I still have a passion for quality after school programs, and a desire to share my knowledge with the next generation of OST leaders.

Krystal Renee roundKrystal Renée (she/her/hers)

Krystal Renée is a multidisciplinary artist whose high-energy performances have been mesmerizing audiences for over a decade. For 6 of these years, she toured with Off-Broadway’s “STOMP” - an internationally acclaimed theatre performance using rhythms, acrobatics, percussion, and pantomime. Following this tour, Renée’s focus quickly returned to her most sacred, tireless work - cementing her place as a Singer/Songwriter in the Rock music scene. Born of Guyanese and Nigerian descent, this New York native has devoted extensive time studying the arts at LaGuardia High School, California Institute of the Arts, Florence Institute of the Arts, and SUNY Purchase.

Lisa Rice roundLisa Rice (she/her/hers)

Lisa’s 30+ years of experience in school-age care spans all aspects of afterschool program practice and management. This practical and applied knowledge has led her to a dynamic understanding of the challenges and joys of working with youth during out-of-school time. Lisa has presented workshops for single and multi-site programs, at local, state, and national conferences and conventions. She enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and living on the Central Coast of California.

Elliot Rivera roundElliot Rivera (he/him, el/ellos)

Elliot comes to YIA with an extensive background in youth-led programs, community engagement, higher education research, and policy work throughout New England. A native of Worcester MA and a first-generation college graduate, Elliot has integrated his intersecting identities into all of his efforts to great success.

Steven Rosado round Steven Rosado (her/him/his)

As a leading Racial Healing Practitioner, Steven served as Founder and Co-Director of the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Youth Institute that built a community of youth healers. Most recently, Steven has adapted this curriculum to the City Colleges of Chicago where he co-leads the Introduction to Racial Healing Methodology course. Steven currently serves on the Local School Council at Schurz High School and is the Board President at the Chicago Freedom school. He has his Masters in Educational Psychology from UIC.

Nat Rosales roundNat Rosales (they/them/theirs)

Nat (they/them) is the Coordinator for Policy & Outreach for the California AfterSchool Network (CAN). They joined the team in June 2020 as the team’s Student Assistant. Before becoming a part of the CAN Team, Nat was a High School Educational Advisor as part of the College Access department for JCYC, an educational non-profit based in Japantown, San Francisco that aims to make higher education more accessible for low-income, first-generation youth. Nat received their Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Philosophy with a minor in Education at San Francisco State University in May 2020.

Interested in social justice and the decolonization of the humanities, Nat is currently pursuing their Master of Arts (MA) degree in Philosophy as well as an Ethnic Studies post-bacc certificate at SFSU where their research focuses on 17th-century mysticism as well as feminist moral psychology with an emphasis on moral injury and psychological oppression. These interests bleed into their core values of accessibility and equity which they put at the forefront of their work at CAN.

Aleah RosarioAleah Rosario (she/her/hers)

Aleah Rosario has 10+ years of experience advancing equity in the youth development field. Aleah led the development of policies and strategies that uplift, advance, and bring dignity to the OST workforce. Previously, she led the California School-Age Consortium’s technical assistance work, including the country’s first year-long leadership development fellowship for emerging leaders of color in the OST field. Born and raised in rural central California, Aleah is descended from five generations of women of color activists in the Central Valley. 

Arvin Ross roundArvin Ross (he/him/his)

Arvin has spent over a decade in education technology, focusing on creating immersive learning environments. Everyone has a creative genius inside them; Arvin’s goal is to wake them up. Come get inspired!

Eric Rowles roundEric Rowles (he/him/his)

As a proud BOOST Ambassador, Eric Rowles is one of the country's most sought-after experts on generational diversity, millennial culture, substance abuse prevention, and workforce development. Eric is a nationally recognized trainer, speaker, and consultant who has worked with over 150,000 youth, adults, administrators, professionals, and policymakers within the past 15 years. Previously, Eric served as the Director of Training for the Youth Leadership Institute, Director of International Summer Programs for ELS Language Services, and Prevention Coordinator for Riverside County Friday Night Live.

Alexandria Rubio roundAlexandria Rubio (she/her/hers)

Alexandria Rubio is a Site Coordinator for Linden Unified School District’s Expanded Learning Programs. She is a second-year Site Coordinator and has worked in the Expanded Learning field for 3 years. She supports 8 staff and serves approximately 120 students, grades K-8. Alexandria actively strives to create safe and positive spaces, as well as be a positive mentor for students and staff. In addition, she values the importance of a growth mindset and is always seeking opportunities to expand her knowledge and skillsets. In 2022, Alexandria was nominated and accepted to ASAPconnect’s School of Leadership and Facilitation. As a TA Fellow, she provides expanded learning staff with technical assistance and professional development within her district, region, and statewide.

Danny Salas roundDanny Salas (he/him/his)

Danny Salas, Chief Program Officer, oversees the agency’s expanded learning programs that include a range of specialty areas including STEM, Visual & Performing Arts, Literacy & Numeracy, while guiding a team of regional program managers who are responsible for over 750 passionate and highly trained site-based site coordinators and club leaders. He has been instrumental in the formation of partnerships that support the inclusion of neurodiverse and LGBTQ+ youth. Luis is recognized as a leader in California’s afterschool enrichment arena, serving on multiple state committees and community groups.

Lisa Salazar roundLisa Salazar (she/her/hers)

Lisa Salazar is the current Executive Director of the City of Los Angeles Youth Development Department. Previously, she served as Policy Director of Workforce and Education to Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, California. Prior to her role with the Mayor, she was Acting Chief for the City of Los Angeles for over 14 years. Salazar received her B.S. from St. Mary’s College of California and an Executive Master of Leadership from the University of Southern California.

Helen Santos roundHelen Santos (she/her/hers)

Helen Santos, Director of Outdoor Education, oversees the agency’s nature-based learning programs, including EcoWarriors and Woodcraft Rangers’ American Camp Association (ACA) accredited residential camp. She received an American Camp Association’s (ACA) Camp Director Certification, is a member of the ACA's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Taskforce, and was instrumental in preparing guidelines for summer camps to safely re-open following COVID-19 protocols. Helen studied at California State University, Long Beach where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Child Development and Family Studies.

Barry Schwartz roundBarry Schwartz (he/him/his)

Barry Schwartz began his entrepreneurial pursuits in high school in the early 80's as an "on call" neighborhood yard and general maintenance resource.  He then went to college and obtained a BS in psychology from the University of Cincinnati. He financed his college education by starting his own tree felling service that he had for 10 years. In 2005, he moved to San Francisco where he met Justin Ghiglia and became a partner in Startup Smartup leading the sales division as well as content development.

Troy Selvey roundTroy Selvey (he/him/his)

Troy Selvey is the Manager of Equity & Quality for the for California AfterSchool Network. Troy joined the team in August 2017. Prior to joining CAN Troy worked at the El Dorado County of Education as an Instructional Assistant in the Special Needs classroom. He was also Head Basketball Coach at Ponderosa High School. Troy also worked in the expanded learning field with Star Education and Boys and Girls Club. As a child, Troy grew up attending expanded learning programs and understands and believes in these programs. He knows they helped make him the person he is today. He hopes to continue to pass on the gift he received as a child to the youth of today.

Stu Semigran roundStu Semigran (he/him/his)

Stu Semigran is the President and Co-Founder of the EduCare Foundation, a leading expanded learning provider, serving over 30,000 students annually in southern California. He has trained thousands of youth, educators, and parents in social-emotional learning, leadership development, and service-learning programs worldwide. Stu is the author of Heartset® Education: A Way of Living and Learning; and, Making the Best of Me: A Handbook for Student Excellence and Self-Esteem. Significant increases in students’ well-being and academic success have been widely reported in middle and senior high schools, as a result of EduCare's and his work.

Bela Shah Spooner roundBela Shah Spooner (she/her/hers)

Bela is the Program Director for Education and Expanded Learning at the Institute for Youth, Education, and Families at the National League of Cities (NLC). Her portfolio includes working with city leaders to increase access to afterschool and summer learning, developing citywide partnerships between cities, schools, and community-based organizations to support student success, and increasing postsecondary access and completion leading to workforce success. Bela holds her Master’s degree in Sociology and Education from Columbia University and her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Liana Shivers roundLiana Shivers (she/her/hers)

Liana Shivers is an Engage Every Student Fellow with Afterschool Alliance. As a Fellow, Liana reviews ESSER III district spending plans and researches how funds are being allocated at the district level. She has seven years of experience working in youth programs in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Before joining Afterschool Alliance, she worked as a Program Coordinator and Program Manager with Asian American LEAD. Liana graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelor of Arts in Global Affairs, Media, Communication, and Culture. She is passionate about immersive experiences and her Dachshund, Piglet.

Sandy Slade round Sandy Slade (she/her/hers)

Sandy "Spin" Slade was considered one of the best basketball handlers for 22 years, performing for NBA halftimes and special events worldwide. In 2002, she released Skillastics, the all-in-one physical activity solution that makes physical activity simple. Over 25,000 programs are now enjoying Skillastics. Sandy is also one of the premier session presenters at After School conferences nationwide.

Justin Allen Slagle roundJustin Allen Slagle

Justin Allen Slagle is an education consultant, change management expert, and an industry leader in the After School space. Most recently he served as VP of School Operations for 6crickets, prior to that as the  Director of Out-of-school time programs for the Del Mar Union School District. Justin is passionate about destroying the childcare model and is dedicated to helping Districts transition their After School spaces to create extraordinary experiences for students. Justin holds an MA in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University and is in the process of receiving his Ed.D from USC.

Langley Smith roundLangley Smith (she/her/hers)

After attending Columbia College Chicago to study American Sign Language and Acting, Langley spent her days teaching poetry, choir, and improv to students in nonprofit academies. She is a passionate art educator and got her start in creative writing and performing through musical theater and the Cleveland-based spoken word troupe, Writing Knights. Before joining Young Storytellers, Langley served as a Pre-K teacher in Austin, Texas, helping students gain confidence and discover the joys of self-expression. Langley owes much of her creative writing education to her earliest teachers, and is excited to continue the cycle of children’s literacy.

Phillip Smith roundPhillip Smith (he/him/his)

Phillip leverages extensive software and education industry experience to share innovative solutions for many of TransACT's customers and industry partners. As leader of AfterSchool21 and AfterSchool201 sales, he helps support after-school program administrators in parent pay management and accurate 21APR reporting.

Erin Snyder roundErin Snyder (she/her/hers)

Erin Snyder is the Senior Resource Educator at the Riverside-Corona Conservation District in Riverside, CA. She spent ten years teaching in classrooms in the Jurupa and Riverside Unified School Districts, as well as over a decade of working with recreation groups like the Girl Scouts, 4-H clubs, and local municipalities’ recreation departments. She is also an avid community volunteer and activist with numerous awards recognizing her commitment to local service. Erin has her teaching credential and B.A. from the University of California Riverside and an A.A. from Riverside Community College.

Nicolle Starr roundNicolle Starr (she/her/hers)

Nicolle Starr is a dedicated and determined leader who strives to create a positive environment that promotes and supports the success of a diverse student population. Mrs. Starr has over 20 years of experience in developing safe and equitable programs for students. She has led numerous site staff to create programs that benefit the community, strengthen relationships between students and staff during critical after-school hours, and strives to promote thriving students. Mrs. Starr works collaboratively with teams across the district and continues to coordinate the district-wide expansion for our Expanded Learning Opportunities Program.

Alexis Steines roundAlexis Steines Rao (she/her/hers)

As Vice President of Field Outreach, Alexis Steines Rao serves as the liaison between the Afterschool Alliance and its growing network of afterschool providers. She keeps the field up-to-date on the ever-changing afterschool policy landscape and mobilizes them to affect the development of afterschool-related public policy. Alexis also manages the Afterschool Alliance’s National AmeriCorps VISTA Project, focused on creating sustainable afterschool programs, increasing participation in the afterschool and summer meal programs, and expanding access to STEM education afterschool.

Dr. Tracye Strichik rpundDr. Tracye Strichik (she/her/hers)

For more than 25 years, Dr. Strichik has enjoyed the opportunity to serve children and their families in the classroom, through collaboration with school systems, state and federal government, higher education, business, and community partners. Prior to joining the Alabama Expanded Learning Alliance, she was the Director of the Alabama Reading Initiative at the Alabama State Department of Education, Alabama's First-Class Pre-K Director, and the Senior Director at the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, where she led departmental efforts and coordinated all aspects of research and program evaluation and oversaw professional learning and efforts concerning Higher Education. She is a graduate of Auburn University, Auburn University Montgomery, and The University of Alabama Birmingham. In 2022 she was honored to have been chosen as a White- Riley Peterson Out of School Time Leadership Fellow.

Dr. Maria Su roundDr. Maria Su (she/her/hers)

Dr. Maria Su is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and Their Families (DCYF). DCYF is an innovative policy and grant making agency and a proud steward of the Children and Youth Fund, a landmark initiative that funds comprehensive services for children, youth (including transitional age youth), and families in the City & County of San Francisco. Dr. Su oversees and administers approximately $200M annually, for children and family services.

Dr. Sonia Toledo round Dr. Sonia Toledo (she/her/hers)

Dr. Sonia Toledo is a writer, speaker, researcher, and social entrepreneur passionate about training educators in self-directed student learning and teaching youth social entrepreneurship. She is the Founder, President & CEO of Dignity of Children. She holds a Ph.D. in education (with the focus on global training & development) and has more than 25 years of experience working in the after-school field. Dr. Toledo is a creator of iDEAS Empowered by Youth, an innovative training program that equips educators with everything they need to help their youth thrive. Sonia is a proud BOOST Ambassador. 

Hope Tolley roundHope Tolley (she/her/hers)

Hope Tolley serves as the Managing Director of Recreational Programs and Services for USA Pickleball. In her role, she is charged with developing, launching, and leading programs aimed at growing USA Pickleball among recreational players by generating engagement and providing tools, resources, and play initiatives. Hope holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from UNC Greensboro and a Master of Arts degree in Kinesiology from the University of Maryland at College Park.

Richard Tran roundRichard Tran (he/him/his)

Richard studied at Whittier College and received his Bachelor’s in Sociology, Social Work, and Spanish. He went on to complete his Master’s in Education in 2012. His career in Expanded Learning started in 2007. While at Whittier College, he managed the Fifth Dimension, a community-based afterschool program through the Education Department focusing on the intersection of education, technology, community, and college readiness. Richard was a Site Coordinator for Think Together from 2012-2014. Prior to rejoining Think Together, Richard was the Director of Program Services for the Boys & Girls Club of Whittier.

Ben Trentleman roundBen Trentelman (he/him/his)

Ben Trentelman has served youth and communities since 2002, entering the afterschool field in 2006 running programs all along the Wasatch front for 3 different organizations at 8 afterschool programs impacting thousands of youth. As the Director of Operations at UAN, he led efforts to develop and expand a comprehensive statewide continuous quality improvement system. Ben facilitates workshops on quality improvement, data collection, leadership, and parent engagement statewide and nationally. He consults nationally on data collection and continuous quality improvement. In 2021, Ben was appointed Executive Director at the Utah Afterschool Network.

Andy Tupy roundAndy Tupy (he/him/his)

Andy is the West Sr. Territory Sales Manager for Gopher, an international vendor for Physical Education, Athletics, Fitness, Recreation, and Health. Over the past 16 years at Gopher Andy has led over 150 activity sessions all over the nation. Some include the state PE conventions in New Jersey, Virginia, Florida, Colorado, Utah, California, Alaska, and Hawaii. Over the past 4 years, International Conferences have been added to the agenda to include ECIS - Barcelona, PHASE - Hong Kong, and DoDEA - Munich.

Dr. Kim Turner roundDr. Kim Turner (she/her/hers)

Kim is the Director of the Gender Equity Initiative at PCA advancing sports-based gender equity for girls, coaches, schools, youth sports stakeholders, and community programs. Kim has a decade of experience as a nonprofit Title IX attorney, including with Legal Aid at Work’s Fair Play for Girls in Sports project. She presents and writes for diverse audiences on sport-based gender equity, Title IX, and related issues. Kim further advocates for equity-spurring policies and provides technical assistance, resources, and tools, in addition to conducting research on youth sports equity matters, and partnering with institutions and agencies.

Haley Umans roundHaley Umans (she/her/hers)

Haley currently serves as the Director of Evaluation at LA’s BEST, an afterschool program in Los Angeles serving almost 200 schools. She received her MA in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods from Claremont Graduate University, and she is finishing up her Ph.D., in the same area of study. Haley is passionate about using evaluation to support organizations, staff, youth, and the greater community to reach their greatest potential. Haley has worked on several evaluation projects with after school programs, youth sports programs, higher education programs, and non-profits.

Carrie Underwood roundCarrie Underwood (she/her/hers)

Carrie Underwood, Senior Manager of Research and Evaluation, works to promote transforming research into practice by drawing upon her wide-ranging expertise. Carrie develops evaluation tools, analyzes and interprets qualitative and quantitative data, and authors papers and research briefs. Carrie played a key role in managing statewide evaluation data for the Georgia Department of Education’s Teacher and Leader Support and Development division. She also worked at the Education Week Research Center where she led the qualitative analysis process for state policy and special content surveys and conducted special research projects.

Veronica Valerio Duncan roundVeronica Valerio Duncan (she/her/hers)

Veronica Valerio Duncan is the Director of Community Schools at the Alameda County Office of Education/State Transformational Assistance Center. She has been a Spanish bilingual elementary school principal, vice principal, professional development coordinator, regional literacy coach, and classroom teacher for over 20 years, during which time she also supervised expanded learning programs at various schools. She holds a BA in Spanish Literature and a Specialization in Chicana/o Studies from UCLA and MA Ed in Urban Education from UC Berkeley’s Principal Leadership Institute.

Rachael Van Schoik round Rachael Van Schoik (she/her/hers)

As the Science Action Club (SAC) Manager, Rachael Van Schoik leads global efforts to scale SAC and inspire youth and adults to explore nature, contribute to authentic citizen and community science research, and design strategies to protect the planet. Previously, she worked in Public Programs at the California Academy of Sciences connecting research to visitors, and at The Energy Coalition developing a cohort of environmental justice organizations and guiding climate action projects. She has an academic background in biology, a professional career in out-of-school time, and years as a seasoned facilitator and trainer.

Leo VanWarmerdamLeo VanWarmerdam (he/him/his)

Leo VanWarmerdam has spent the past 20 years pursuing self-discovery and transformation and helping others do the same. As a partner with Fulcrum Leadership Institute Leo creates, designs, and delivers customary experiential programs for clients around the world. His love for playing with purpose has translated to widespread curriculum development and unique interactive programs and trainings that have impacted thousands of youth and youth professionals. He also works with school administrators and educators, corporate executives and managers, and many more, and can even be found on remote islands working for the TV show Survivor!

Malia Villarreal roundMalia Villarreal (she/her/hers)

Malia Villarreal is a Senior Specialist in Policy & Outreach for the California AfterSchool Network (CAN). Before joining the CAN team in February 2023, Malia worked at the California Teaching Fellows Foundation for (almost) nine years as the Public and Strategic Development Manager, where she led numerous advocacy, strategic partnership, and workforce development projects and initiatives. Some of her most notable work is finding points of alignment for the out-of-school time workforce with teacher preparation from high school to a credentialed teacher. She has participated in local, statewide, and national out-of-school time, whole child, and teacher diversity advocacy coalitions. Malia also participated in the California Department of Education Expanded Learning Division Workforce Implementation Committee. Malia received her B.S. degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing from California State University, Fresno. She is an alum of the White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellowship. 

Leslie M Walker roundLeslie M. Walker

Leslie M. Walker serves as the Executive Director of the Sixers Youth Foundation, a nonprofit extension of the Philadelphia 76ers and a regional philanthropy focused on youth development across the Delaware Valley.

Prior to that role, Leslie served as the Interim Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia where she managed and directed the operations of the Library, composed of 54 library branches, while providing leadership to a staff of over 750 employees. Walker began her role at the Library in 2017 as the Chief of Staff.

Walker has over 20 years of experience working on behalf of vulnerable children and families in the Philadelphia region with a concentration in early childhood education, program development, implementation, and evaluation. She serves on several boards and advisory committees of community-focused organizations and is a coach and mentor as well.

Walker holds a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from Rutgers Camden College of Arts and Sciences and a Master of Science in Training and Organizational Development from Saint Joseph’s University.

Kendra Watkins roundKendra Watkins (she/her/hers)

Kendra has known since second grade that she wanted to work in education and after earning her degree in Education and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, she found a passion for out-of-school time learning. During her time in college, she lead a humane education camp at the local humane society helping kids learn about compassion and humane treatment of animals which started her career in the out-of-school time learning space. She joined EDMO in 2013 as an instructor at summer camp where she fell in love with teaching STEAM and creating a space where kids can explore new passions and be their authentic selves. Just about to hit her 10-year anniversary with EDMO, Kendra has held a variety of roles throughout the organization including Camp Director, Region Manager, Curriculum Developer, Programs Director, and now Director of Partnerships, where she works with districts to build programs that align with their goals and community needs. Kendra has also presented at multiple conferences across the country bringing hands-on learning workshops to educators and out-of-school time staff.

Principal Wayman roundPrincipal Linda Cliatt-Wayman

Principal Wayman is a passionate education advocate with an unwavering belief in the potential of all children. She grew up in North Philadelphia, where she experienced firsthand the injustice perpetrated against poor students in their education. She has dedicated her career to ending that injustice and helping students succeed in school and beyond.

Principal Wayman is CEO of Principal Wayman Consulting and founder and leader of CurrentlyTrending, a nonprofit that helps students escape poverty by providing them with direct coaching, resources, and support to graduate high school and lead a life of purpose.

Principal Wayman spent 20 years as a special education teacher before becoming principal of FitzSimons High School, The Young Women’s Leadership School at Rhodes High School, and Strawberry Mansion High School. She spent two years as assistant superintendent of high schools for the School District of Philadelphia, directly overseeing all of the district’s 52 high schools.

Principal Wayman’s powerful leadership and the success of her students have caused people to take notice. From over 8,000 nominees from around the world, she was a top 50 finalist for the 2016 Global Teacher Prize. Her many other awards and honors include the Lucretia Mott Award and the Philadelphia Magazine Trailblazer Award.

Diane Sawyer and her team spent an entire school year documenting Principal Wayman’s efforts, which were featured on both ABC World News Tonight and Nightline. Her May 2015 TED Talk has been viewed over two million times and been transcribed in 31 different languages. In August 2017, Principal Wayman released a book, Lead Fearlessly, Love Hard: Finding Your Purpose and Putting it To Work, which chronicles her experiences and captures the leadership lessons she’s learned along the way.

Principal Wayman earned her BA from Kutztown University, her MA from St. Joseph’s University, and honorary doctorates from Alvernia University, St. Joseph’s University, and Kutztown University. Her greatest accomplishment is the love and success of her two daughters.

Brooke Wheeldon Reece roundBrooke Wheeldon-Reece (she/her/hers)

Brooke Wheeldon-Reece, MBA, is the CEO of The SPARK Initiative - a non-profit organization in Tampa, FL. dedicated to working with youth, sex trafficking survivors, and incarcerated juveniles and adults. Since 2014 she has led SPARK in teaching her community’s most vulnerable population how their mind works and how a deeper understanding can unleash anyone’s unbreakable SPARK. She created the evidence-based, SPARK Mentoring Programs and in 2021 she co-authored 4, peer-reviewed articles on the efficacy of the SPARK programs and the mental health education in which they are founded. Brooke lives in FL with her husband and 5 children.

Gina White roundGina White (she/her/hers)

Gina White, a native of Greensboro, NC, is no stranger to the educational field! She is committed to student success not only in the classroom but outside of it. Gina has served in numerous roles. She taught Middle and High School ELA in Forsyth County, taught High School ELA for Richmond County Schools, where she received the Outstanding Leadership Certificate for the 2017-18 school year, and has been Director for Id Tech Computer Camps located in Chicago, IL. for the past 6 years. She currently serves at the North Carolina Department of Instruction as Program Administrator for 21st Century Community for the Piedmont Region. 

Jenny White roundJenny White (she/her/hers)

Jenny loves to uplift special events like yoga & fitness gatherings, women's empowerment & inspirational experiences, brand launches & in-store events, fashion shows, pool & beachside functions, lounge events, and more with a soundtrack rooted in house music. 

Dwayne Wiggins Jr roundDwayne V. Wiggins, Jr. (he/him/his)

Dwayne V. Wiggins, Jr., is a certified life and motivational coach and the founder of A Human. Being!. The mission of A Human. Being! (AH.B!), is to empower individuals to live a self-improved and self-fulfilled life. The operation of AH.B! is to empower and remind individuals that they are driven, vital, and whole. Dwayne has his MFA in Creative Writing and BS in Entertainment Business from Full Sail University. He is currently a student at Capella University where he is obtaining a Ph.D. in Advanced Human Behavior. Dwayne is currently employed with Belmont Charter High School in Philadelphia, PA., where he is the After-School Program Director.

Anita Williams roundAnita Williams (she/her/hers)

Anita Williams works with Hemet Unified School District (HUSD) as an Expanded Learning Opportunities Program Coordinator. Prior to joining HUSD, Anita worked in various educational positions across several Southern California School Districts. She served as a classroom teacher and academic coach for elementary and middle schools, a district administrator for Parent Engagement and Expanded Learning, and now she operates solely under the title of Expanded Learning Opportunities Coordinator. What is dynamic about her many transitions is that she was “sought after” by other colleagues because of her passion to build systems of support in partnership through a home, school, and community connection. Anita has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from NC Wesleyan College, a Master’s with Distinction not only in Multicultural Education but also in Instructional Leadership from National University. The credentials she has are Elementary, Supplemental Math, and Business Administration, in addition to several other certifications from universities and local organizations as it supports the work she aspires to do.

Debbie Williams roundDebbie Williams

Debbie Williams joined the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008. As the Community Engagement programs manager, she oversees the Thunder’s school-based education programs and outreach.

During her tenure, Williams has helped create and expand many of the organization’s literacy and STEM programs that support students and educators throughout Oklahoma. Her fifteen seasons with the Thunder have afforded her the opportunity to build and foster strong relationships with educators, community partners and nonprofits, helping to establish the Thunder as a leader in the Oklahoma City community and across the state. She and her team are involved with the planning and execution of the many ongoing community outreach programs and events the Thunder is involved with each year.

William’s professional background includes hotel and retail management, private school admissions, real estate, and professional sports. Originally from New England, Williams attended Colby Women’s College in New Hampshire and Ithaca College in New York. She has two adult children and enjoys reading, traveling, and watching sports.

Heather Williams copyHeather Williams (she/her/hers)

Heather is the Director of Policy and Outreach for the California AfterSchool Network (CAN), since 2018. Prior to that she worked at the California Department of Education Expanded Learning Division for over 6 years. She works with her colleagues at CAN and their partners to provide the resources & tools to build and leverage high-quality out-of-school time programs in California to support the overall health and well-being of children, youth, families, and their communities.

Scott Williams roundScott Williams (he/him/his)

Scott Williams is the founder/owner of Camp4Real and taught elementary physical education for 15 years and high school summer PE for 6 years. He was a winner of the 2011 Golden Apple Award, the 2013 VAHPERD Elementary PE Teacher of the Year, and the 2015-16 VAHPERD and SHAPE Southern District Dance Teacher of the Year. Scott was also honored as a National Healthy School Hero by Action for Healthy Kids in 2017. He is a presenter and keynote speaker at physical education conferences across the nation and is the US Coordinator for Omnikin! 

Corey Wilson roundCorey Wilson

Serving in a dual capacity with Pacers Sports & Entertainment (PS&E), Corey serves as the Vice President of Community Engagement where he leverages the PS&E brand to build authentic relationships with youth, families, and communities to create experiences that educate, empower and elevate and Executive Director of the Pacers Foundation which seeks to empower young people and invest in community partnerships addressing equity and justice in education, health and safety.

Prior to joining PS&E in 2020, he served in a number of leadership roles at the University of Indianapolis, including Vice President of the Sease Institute and Special Advisor to the President for External Affairs. He also held progressive roles at the Indianapolis Airport Authority from 2005 to 2013. Prior to this his professional career has afforded him to the opportunity to gain experience in a variety of industries including: Sports Marketing; with NIKE, Health Care; with the Marion County Health Department; Government; serving on the staff of Lieutenant Governor of Indiana.

He has a long-standing commitment to civic leadership, more specifically, at the age of 11 he served as a volunteer for the “Shoes for Children Program” which annually provided over 3,000 pairs of shoes to children during the Christmas season. Wilson became chairman of the program at the age of 17. He has also served in a leadership capacity in the Indiana Black Expo Elected & Appointed Officials Reception and the 100 Black Men of Indianapolis Beautillion Militaire Scholarship Program; a 16-week educational and scholarship program aimed at providing high school junior and senior males with the skills necessary to succeed in life.

He has served as chair of the Eskenazi Health Center Federally Qualified Health Center board of directors and has been on the boards of the 100 Black Men of Indianapolis and Boy Scouts. He has also served as a Distinguished Advisor with the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Martin University National Center for Race and Equity Institute, and the Business Equity for Indy and the Diversity in Leadership Program.

Currently, he serves on the boards of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, Indiana Youth Institute, Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership, Indianapolis Urban League, and NBA All-Star Game 2024 Host Committee.

Corey earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana State University and a Master of Business Administration from the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University.

Nathaniel Wilson round Nathaniel Wilson (he/him/his)

Nathaniel Wilson is the Co-Founder of #iAmImpact and current Site Coordinator with over 15 years of Expanded Learning Experience. Nathaniel successfully completed ASAP Connect's inaugural School of Leadership and Facilitation Cohort and has over 100 hours of Technical Assistance Hours with California Expanded Learning programs. Nathaniel is now a certified Liberatory Coach and provides coaching to various programs both locally and nationally.

Sheronda Witter Fleming roundSheronda Witter Fleming, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)

Dr. Sheronda Witter Fleming serves as the Out-of-School Time Partnerships Fellow in the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education. In this capacity, Dr. Fleming helps to drive and coordinate the Department’s Engage Every Student Initiative, which is a bold new call to action to provide high-quality out-of-school time learning opportunities for every child who wants to participate. Previously, she served as the Director of the North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs. Through this role, Dr. Fleming provided visionary and strategic leadership of North Carolina’s State Afterschool Network.

Rebecca Wong roundRebecca Wong (she/her/hers)

Rebecca Wong has spent over a decade working as a youth worker in non-profit programs in public schools, where her focus was around STEAM learning. She has partnered with many organizations including NBA Math Hoops to bring new enriching experiences that motivate students to see their potential and encourage family time. NBA Math Hoops was one of the programs at her sites to support social-emotional learning and spark student interest in mathematics and athletics.  As the Director of Programs with Learn Fresh, she will continue her commitment of working in the education field to bring our programs to youth and educators nationwide.

Amma Woods roundAmma Woods (she/her/hers)

Amma is a knowledgeable non-profit leader who specializes in program quality and growth. As a former Afterschool Program Director and Community School Director in her childhood community of East New York, Amma understands the importance and value of making space for community member voices. She has worked nearly two decades at NYC community-based organizations such as Groundwork Inc., Good Shepherd Services, and LEAP. She also spent one year managing program contracts for the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), where she oversaw a portfolio of 24 middle school programs.

Claribel Yanez roundClaribel Yanez (she/her/hers)

Claribel is an LA's BEST alumni who started her youth development journey working for​ LA's BEST in 2013 as a Program worker. She continued to grow within the organization as a Supervisor, Coordinator and now enjoys being part of the Staff Development team as a Learning Facilitator. She has an Associate Degree in Communications and currently obtaining her bachelor's degree at Cal State Northridge. With a background in customer service and management, she has a love for helping others grow to their full potential.

Sargina Yonan roundSargina Yonan (she/her/hers)

Sargina Yonan is the Director of Expanded Learning for the Linden Unified School District. She has worked in the expanded learning field since 2008, and in her current role, supports 25 staff across 4 sites. She is committed to serving and advocating for students, families, and staff. In 2018, Sargina was invited to participate in ASAPconnect’s School of Leadership and Facilitation. After completing three years with the program she is now a TA Coach. Through her role as a TA Coach, she offers one-on-one transitional coaching and facilitates workshops, providing technical assistance and professional development.

Ricky Yoo roundRicky Yoo (he/him/his)

Started with a vision to allow the unique experience of First Person View (FPV), for everyone, Ricky started this journey by offering safe, durable, and easy to fly quadcopters. Understanding that technology is keeping the youth in their seats and indoors, he acknowledges the need for critical thinking, new experiences, and to get the youth interacting. With FPV, the students can be challenged, be part of a very unique experience, and interact with their peers.

Jex Young roundJex Young (she/her/hers/they/them/theirs)

Jurassic Jex works with new and existing partners to organize DIY programming, clubs, field trips, assemblies, and more. Jex loves science and has a passion for STEM in education.

Jill Young roundJill Young (she/her/hers)

Jill Young is a senior researcher leading research, evaluation, and capacity-building initiatives focused on youth development programming at the national, state, and local levels. She leads the Power of Us Workforce Survey and also leads quantitative activities on several projects, including the citywide study of the School’s Out New York City initiative and the Landscape of Quality Survey for the C.S. Mott Foundation’s Statewide Afterschool Networks. She currently serves as the research and evaluation studies section editor for the Journal of Youth Development.

Dr. Nora Zamora roundDr. Nora Zamora (she/her/hers)

As a servant leader, Dr. Nora Zamora has served as a bilingual teacher, instructional coach and administrator. Throughout her whole child-focused career, she has trained thousands of school-day and expanded learning educators in academic and health topics, established new programs, provided technical assistance in partnership with the CDE and the System of Support for Expanded Learning (SSEL), and led a consortium of community schools. She is now the Executive Director for the Social & Emotional Learning Department at the Alameda County Office of Education, and a member of the State Transformational Assistance Center for Community Schools.

Emma Zang Schwartz roundEmma Zang-Schwartz (she/her/hers)

Emma is an Account Manager with KiwiCo. At KiwiCo, we hope to support your mission to ignite a love for learning. Our goal is to provide opportunities for growth in the classroom by providing hands-on projects that help students develop creative problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Emma works with the team to develop curriculum and supplemental activities that support the use of STEAM learning kits with groups of students.

Jan Zatloukal roundJan Zatloukal (he/him/his)

Jan joined PCS Edventures! in August 2022 as an instructional designer. He brings a BS in Education from the University of Idaho and whether it’s in a classroom or out in the field, Jan built a reputation for inspiring learners to explore the exciting possibilities of STEAM. Jan’s experience includes teaching and developing engaging lessons in elementary science and mathematics, engineering, robotics, programming, career exploration, and computer-aided design.

Katrina Marissa Rissi Zimmermann roundKatrina Marissa (Rissi) Zimmermann (she/her/hers)

Rissi Zimmermann has a deep passion for developing experiences which bring people joy. She strives to create safe spaces which liberate self-expression as a channel for connection across diverse communities. In 2012, Rissi and her peers founded the Los Angeles based Sokamba Performing Arts Company with the mission to foster roots of unity through the inclusive Spirit of the arts.


Do you have questions about BOOST Conference presenters? Please contact:

 Jessica Barajas round

Jessica Barajas, Program Director
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 619-23-BOOST

Please note: Name badges are required to attend all BOOST Conference events including all meals and all workshops.


Donate to BOOSTDonate to BOOST to help create change

By donating to BOOST Collaborative you are supporting our mission to provide quality professional development to global educators, building community, and cultivating experiences for change. You are supporting our purpose - thank you for your support. 

Click here to make a donation today.


boost collaborative BOOST conference NEW logo copy boost cafe transparentBOOST Cafe Breakfast Club logo copy BOOST training assistance logo BOOST bootcamp logorise-footertrust-logo4x4LOGOS_03   

BOOST Collaborative | 1286 University Ave #739 | San Diego, California 92103 | 619-23-BOOST (619-232-6678)