Meet the 2019 BOOST Conference Speakers & Presenters
Esther Arends is a body-centered trainer from The Netherlands and the founder of the method ‘Journey through the Body’. In addition to a B.A. degree in Social Work, she has over 16 years of experience working with children and youth in elementary schools, psychiatric facilities, child protection agencies, and afterschool programs. Along with her years of dance and personal development training, she was inspired to create both her company Embodiment of Self and the curriculum Journey through the Body.
Iyari was born and raised in San Diego where she grew up involved with the arts and community advocacy with her families non-profit, Izcalli, an organization which empowers Latinx students through the arts and education. Due to her upbringing, much of Iyari’s work revolves around connecting the arts with education and community engagement. She received her B.A. in Anthropology from CSULB and joined the exhibitions team at the New Children’s Museum and also taught as a Teaching Artist. She is the current Middle School Specialist at BLCI, where she’s integrated her art education background into BLCI’s college readiness programming.
Mike and Chelsea Ashcraft
Mike and Chelsea are internationally recognized speakers and trainers that founded an organization that has been a Top 5 Workplace in New Mexico six years in a row. The organization provides child & youth development programs and staff training. Mike taught courses in brain-based teaching for Concordia University. Mike is a former President of the NMSACA and the NMAEYC. Chelsea teaches courses in leadership, early childhood guidance, and teaching strategies at Central New Mexico College. They are authors of Best Practices: Guidelines for School-Age Programs, Leading to Learn: Learning to Lead, and 100 Games that Build Community F.A.S.T.
Dr. Bertice Berry
Sociologist, Bertice Berry, Ph.D. is, a best-selling author and award-winning lecturer has been named Comedian of The Year, Lecturer of the Year and Entertainer of the Year. She has published 11 best-selling books in both fiction and non-fiction and has won numerous awards and accolades for both her writing and presentations.
Berry has had her own nationally syndicated television show and has hosted, interviewed and made numerous television, documentary and radio appearances on a variety of diverse venues including The Tonight Show, Oprah Winfrey, Between The Lions, Crossfire, 20-20, NPR, PBS, and Comedy Central and CNN.
Berry has used her unique gifts and talents as a writer and ghostwriter for others on a wide range of topics including race and gender issues, sociological studies, stratification, healthcare reform, humor, spirituality, sexuality, slavery and the abolitionist movement, weight loss and wellness, relationships, servant leadership, transformational leadership, diversity and love.
Berry has led parades, had classrooms named after her and has been awarded over 10 honorary doctorates. She earned her own doctoral degree from Kent State University at the age of 26 and still sees her most fulfilling achievement and role in life as that of mother to her 5 adopted children.
“If you ain’t dead, you ain’t done,” a character in one of Berry’s novels says.
Berry believes that every one of us has been given a unique purpose and it is our obligation to find it and use it to improve first our own self and then for those we live and work with.
Nicolas "Nico" Bremond
Nico Bremond, Collective Impact’s Senior Program Lead, brings new energy to the field. Bremond merges his love of hip-hop with academics, sharing the history and evolution of a modern-day music movement. Bremond joined the CI team in 2014 and was a founding leader for the Community Safety Initiative. He manages the teen program and facilitates student success groups for middle and high school students, including 6 groups specifically for young men of color in need of targeted supports. Nico leads the organization’s partnership with Hack the Hood, managing a cohort of 25 young website developers. He graduated from the USF with a degree in sociology.
Dr. Erin Browder
Erin Browder is a Leadership and Organizational Development Consultant. She specializes in building safe and supportive workplaces, leadership development, organizational culture, and capacity building. She has provided strategic support for school improvement and turnaround efforts within the greater Los Angeles area and school districts nationwide. Erin is a certified Cognitive Coach and trained in systems change, emotional intelligence, restorative practices, and organizational mindfulness. She is currently a doctoral candidate at Johns Hopkins University (MD).
Phil joined the High 5 team as a lead trainer in 2015. Originally from England, Phil first came to the US in 2008 working as an Outdoor Educator and Challenge Course Coordinator at the New York YMCA Camp. His work in the realms of summer camp, outdoor education, and physical education give him an invaluable perspective for working with High 5’s varied clientele. Bringing high energy and passion to the Adventure Education field, Phil has presented workshops at ACCT (Association for Challenge Course Technology), Northeast and International AEE (Association of Experiential Education), BOOST and several Phys Ed. state conferences.
Maria C. Castilleja
Maria Castilleja was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela; she is a retired administrator from the Sweetwater Union High School District. The last position she held was the one of Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction. She also served as an Assistant Principal and Principal at different junior high school and high schools. Ms. Castilleja holds a bachelors of arts in special education. She earned a masters degree in special education from Sonoma State University. She holds credentials in counseling, Spanish and school administration. Currently, she works as an SEL trainer for the Sanford Harmony Program at National University.
Anna received her bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Neuroscience from Scripps College where she learned that all scientific pursuits require creative thinking. She has become deeply interested in avenues where art, science and tech overlap. Additionally, she has been working with youth in many different capacities for the last 10 years and has always been fascinated by the ways they think about and interact with the world. She is passionate about making arts and tech education more accessible for marginalized communities and is excited and humbled to be learning with such a dynamic team of educators, researchers, and students in this work.
Opening up spaces where multiple perspectives, divergent points of view and orientations are supported and encouraged are just a few of the reasons Stacey stays motivated to work in the dynamic field of youth development. Of the many roles she has inhabited: program implementer; project manager; actor; director; therapist, she receives her greatest joy in a room full of people dedicated to improving the lives of young people and supporting that endeavor. Stacey has worked extensively throughout the Bay Area, the state of California and nationally, demonstrating her commitment to creating quality environments for ALL youth.
Clint works for the Missouri Afterschool Network providing coaching, training, and technical support, as well as laughter, to out of school time programs throughout Missouri. He is a highly qualified educator possessing extensive experience teaching in the classroom and in the out of school time environment. He holds a bachelor’s degree in management and a master’s degree in education. He is passionate about the importance of quality afterschool programming, with a particular interest in STEM and in laughter. Clint has presented at several state and national conferences and is a certified Laughter Yoga Instructor.
Gabriela B. Delgado
Gabriela B. Delgado has worked in education for over 18 years. She provides professional development training to school staff and community agencies on topics including student engagement; facilitation of support groups; parent involvement; restorative practices; adolescent female development and empowerment; trauma-informed practices; and crisis response. Gabriela has a Master of Arts in Education/Counseling and Guidance with a Pupil Personnel Services Credential from Point Loma Nazarene University and a Master of Public Administration from San Diego State University. Gabriela is also an Adjunct Instructor for Azusa Pacific University.
Earl J. Edwards is a Ph.D. candidate at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. His research interests focus on how public schools can better support vulnerable student populations through educational policy and pedagogy. Earl has over ten years of professional experience in youth development and curriculum design. He has also co-authored a graduate course curricula focusing on educational leadership development in urban public schools for Teachers College school leadership program. Earl has also founded and contributed to several youth development programs that support Black and Latino males across the country.
Jacquie Estee is a career educator with experience as a classroom teacher, principal, director of staff development, executive director of curriculum and staff development, assistant superintendent of human resources and superintendent of schools. She worked in the Westside Community Schools in Omaha, Nebraska for forty years. Jacquie also has taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels at Midland University and the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Her passion is to investigate strategies to meet the needs of all students and help build the capacities of others as they work with youth.
Ian P. Farrell
Ian Farrell is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. He attended Harvard Law School on a Fulbright Scholarship, where he received an LL.M, and also received a Masters in Philosophy from the University of Texas. Ian's teaching and research cover criminal law and procedure, constitutional law, and the philosophy of law. Ian's research has been published in, amongst others, the California Law Review, Texas Law Review, Boston College Law Review, William and Mary Law Journal, Yale Law Journal Online, and the Columbia Law Review Sidebar. Ian was named the law school's Most Outstanding Professor in 2017.
Kelly Faustino is an Education Programs Consultant for the Expanded Learning Division. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development from California State University, Sacramento and a Master’s degree in Human Behavior. Prior to coming to the Expanded Learning Division of the California Department of Education, Kelly worked for the California AfterSchool Network providing coordination to efforts at improving overall expanded learning program quality, instruction, assessment, and continuous improvements for students throughout California. Kelly spent seven years providing direct service for an expanded learning program in Sacramento, CA.
Jane is an international speaker and has been presenting math game workshops for over 25 years. She has been a featured speaker at the national ASCD and spoken at the national and regional NCTM's for over 20 years. She continues to teach in classrooms across North America as part of her consulting contracts.
John is an international speaker in the area of using games as a teaching strategy and brings over 30 years of education to his Main Presenter Bio presentations. He has been a featured speaker at the National ASCD conference on Teaching Excellence as well as a frequent speaker at both regional and national NCTM's.
Dr. Nia Imani Fields
Dr. Nia Imani Fields is the Maryland 4-H Youth Development Specialist with the University of Maryland Extension. She has a doctorate in Urban Educational Leadership and an M.S. in Urban Affairs and Public Policy with a focus in Community and Youth Development. Throughout her career, her focus has been to work towards the positive development of youth, families, and communities. As a 4-H Specialist, Dr. Fields is primarily responsible for the design, implementation, and evaluation of curricular systems and program development. Her research interests center around positive youth development’s relationship to social capital and social justice.
Michael Funk was appointed Director of the Expanded Learning Division for the California Department of Education in 2012. Building on California’s investment in Expanded Learning, Michael was charged with creating and implementing a strategic plan to support the development and sustainability of high-quality programs. Prior to this role, Michael founded the Sunset Neighborhood Beacon Center, regarded as a national model for community and afterschool programming rooted in Youth Development. Michael grew up in Idaho where he worked to create social justice ministries to serve urban and immigrant communities.
Julia is a creative and passionate youth development specialist, a youth mentor to many and a hands-on trainer. She has trained thousands of educators in schools and in expanded learning programs for 15+ years. Julia is an award-winning educator with an MA in Educational Leadership from Antioch University. She is the Mindful Co-Founder of kid-grit. The kid-grit curriculum is a 25-hour program focusing on a holistic approach to youth development, mindfulness, social and emotional learning, digital and social media awareness and finishes off with an action project.
Steve Gering, has worked as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal, district administrator, Deputy Superintendent, and consultant. In Kansas City, Kansas, Steve led the district reform effort, First Things First, cited by the Gates Foundation as “one of the most significant reforms in urban education today.” In 2008, Steve was recruited by former Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan to lead Chicago’s High School Transformation efforts. In 2011, Mr. Gering moved from consulting full-time to accepting the role of Chief Leadership Development Officer for Chicago Public Schools. Currently, Steve consults across the country to provide leadership development and coaching to district and school leaders. Current and former clients include Hillsborough County, FL Public Schools, Omaha Public Schools, Holyoke, MA Public Schools, Waukegan, IL Public Schools, Kansas City Public Schools, and the Hawaii State Department of Education.
As Project Manager, Dan directs the Alliance’s work around social and emotional learning (SEL), works to advance the Alliance’s outreach and messaging efforts, coordinates activities and collaborative efforts with partner organizations, and plans and implements projects. Dan previously worked for Massachusetts state government, European Parliament, and political campaigns, and most recently worked at the Alliance for Excellent Education’s Center for Digital Learning & Policy. He has a Master’s in Public Administration from the George Washington University and a Bachelor’s degree in political science from Northeastern University in Boston.
Dr. Deborah "Dr. G" Gilboa
Internationally respected parenting and youth development expert, Deborah Gilboa, MD, is the founder of AskDoctorG.com. Popularly known as Dr. G, she is an industry leading speaker, author, social influencer, media personality, and board-certified family physician who is fluent in American Sign Language and has received many awards for clinical excellence in teaching. She inspires audiences with relatable stories and easy tools to develop crucial life skills in children, teens and young adults ages 2-22.
Dr. Shawn Ginwright
Dr. Ginwright is an Associate Professor of Education in the Africana Studies Department and Senior Research Associate for the Cesar Chavez Institute for Public Policy at San Francisco State University. In 1999, he received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. His research examines the ways in which youth in urban communities navigate through the constraints of poverty and struggle to create equality and justice in their schools and communities.
Dr. Annemarie Grassi
Dr. Annemarie M. Grassi has served as the CEO of Open Doors Academy (ODA) for the past 17 years. At 23-years-old, she started the non-profit ODA and grew it from 20 kids to over 600 kids annually and has expanded its’ reach from a neighborhood service to a statewide enterprise. Dr. Grassi holds a B.A. with Honors in Psychology, M.S.Ed. in Child and Adolescent Psychology, a Non-Profit Management and a Ph.D. in Urban Education. Through the growth of ODA and the Center for Out-of-School Advancement, she brings a depth of experience in child and adolescent development, program development, metrics and outcomes, fundraising, and strategic planning.
Anna Griffin is the 826 Digital Manager at 826 National and leads 826Digital.com, a platform for educators that features inventive writing resources and curriculum from across the 826 National Network. Prior to this role, Anna taught writing at high schools in New Orleans, Chicago, and San Francisco and has held leadership positions as an instructional coach, department chair, and administrator. In each of these roles, Anna has witnessed the transformative power of writing. She believes that creative expression, risk-taking, and learning go hand in hand.
Eric Gurna joined LA’s BEST in 2015 as the second President and CEO in the organization’s history. He brings a deep commitment to positive youth development to his work at LA’s BEST, and a national reputation for thought leadership in the Expanded Learning movement. He also brings a nuanced understanding and appreciation for how children learn and develop, and a passion for staff and program development.
Prior to leading LA’s BEST, Eric was the founder, President and CEO of Development Without Limits, where he designed and facilitated staff development, curriculum and other resources for community organizations and schools nationwide. While at Development Without Limits, Eric created Please Speak Freely, a podcast where he interviewed leading thinkers, artists, and others to shed light on key issues and explore different perspectives about youth development and education.
In the late ‘90s, Eric also served as LA’s BEST’s first Director of Staff Development. In that role, he was immersed in LA’s BEST values and operations and codified the organization’s values, youth development principles, and staff development practices.
Eric has presented keynotes and workshops for dozens of organizations and conferences nationwide. In 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown appointed Eric to the California Department of Education’s Before and After School Advisory Committee, and he is a member of the California Afterschool Advocacy Alliance Steering Committee
Eric holds a B.S. in Political Science from the University of California at Irvine and an M.S. in Urban Policy Analysis and Management from the New School for Social Research in New York.
Over the last 17 years, Suzy Haislip has worked as an education sales consultant with PCS Edventures, a curriculum development company based out of Boise, ID. She promotes STEAM and Drone education solutions to schools throughout the country. She has performed numerous hands-on workshops and trained educators throughout the K-12 spectrum for the Classroom, Out-of-school, CTE programs and more. Suzy lives in Boise, ID with her 16-year-old daughter Savannah. She spends most of her time traveling to Education Conferences or with her daughter going to different sports tournaments. She also stays active with city league volleyball.
Dee Hankins is on a mission to share one powerful message: Resilience is everything! When you focus on resilience (the ability to bounce back) along with your purpose in life, you can make it through any situation and use it for good. After spending 18 years in foster care and dealing with the many hardships that come with it, Dee never gave in. Instead, he endured his struggle and bounced back even stronger. Once a troubled, “at-risk” youth, now a high energy, down to earth, extremely funny and passionate individual; Dee knows that life throws curveballs but if you focus on resilience you will always bounce back.
Daniel W. Hatcher
At the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Daniel is responsible for managing technical assistance services and resources for out-of-school time sites as they work to achieve national standards for healthy eating and physical activity. Daniel oversees community-based and out-of-school partnerships at the Alliance. Daniel also serves as the chair of the technical assistance working group of the Healthy Out-of-School Time Coalition, a national collective of youth-serving organizations advancing health and wellness. Daniel has a BA in International Relations and a Masters of Public Health, both from Western Kentucky University.
Marti Hess has over 20 years’ experience working in the human services sector and has successfully garnered over $10M in grant funding. Her experience includes program design, grant development, and executive leadership. Marti supports individual and organizational transition and growth by building bridges between diverse people, envisioning possibilities, and fast-tracking new initiatives. Marti currently provides consultation to several nonprofits in San Diego. She teaches grant development classes at various locations in the region and is a certified life coach and an Inspired Learning Facilitator.
Nicole Hockley lost her son Dylan in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. She's now a Managing Director at Sandy Hook Promise (SHP), a national gun and school violence prevention organization. SHP offers a suite of 4 free violence prevention programs to schools and youth organizations nationwide.
Nathan is the founder of #iAmImpact, a non-profit focused on educating and inspiring educators everywhere. He provides keynotes, motivational speeches, and training for various levels of expanded learning staff. Nathan is a BOOST Ambassador and shares that there is a careful balance we must maintain this line of work. “As much as it’s about YOU it’s not about YOU.”
For the last fifteen years, Larissa Johnson has dedicated her life to working with and for communities; helping people create sustainable, healthy neighborhoods that cultivate hale and hearty children and invigorate the communities’ livelihood. Prior to receiving her MPA in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University, she worked in the field of nutrition, physical activity, and chronic disease prevention and what she gleaned through her work is that the environment is at the center of literally everything we do in life. She now works to connect all the passions in her life: energy, movement, and laughter to share with others.
Fred began his career in education as a teaching artist working with, at-risk youth in impoverished communities throughout NYC. He then managed after-school programs for the NYC Department of Education where he served as Senior Grant Manager for the Office of Youth Development. In 2012 he relocated to LA where he served as Project Coordinator for the Los Angeles County Office of Education After School Unit. In that role, he provided support to over 150 ASES and 21st CCLC funded grantees throughout LA County. He now owns Afterschool Guru a professional development and coaching company providing TA support to programs across the country.
Krys Kornmeier has been a producer/director for over 25 years. She has produced nonfiction programs on a variety of topics for Discovery, Animal Planet, Global View Productions, Turner Broadcasting, and The Smithsonian Networks. She is the mother of a son with learning and attention issues and knows first-hand the emotional and educational challenges inherent in these issues. In her film, Normal Isn't Real: Succeeding with Learning Disabilities & ADHD four successful young adults share the ups and downs of their journeys to becoming experts on themselves and what they need to succeed. The making of this film has been a long-held passion.
Bridget Laird has been with WINGS since 1998. She has helped to develop all aspects of the organization, from program/curriculum development to spearheading grant and research applications to growth strategies, replication, and scaling. Bridget took over as CEO in January 2011. Since her tenure, WINGS expanded to Atlanta and Charlotte, NC – increasing the number of kids served by 300%. Bridget is a member of the 2015 Liberty Fellowship class, a Leap of Reason Ambassador, and a member of the Youth Development Work Group of the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development.
Amy Lang, MA
Nationally known sexuality educator, speaker, and author Amy Lang, MA helps professionals who work with children and teens discover talking to kids about sexuality, their bodies and safety don’t have to be scary or overwhelming. Her engaging, humorous and inspiring style shows adults how to turn conversations and situations they dread into something they can handle like a pro. Her clients include The US Air Force Youth and Family Services Programs, Boys & Girls of King County and Navajo County AZ Public Health.
Selena Levy joined the CalSAC team in 2014 and now serves as the Director of Training. Selena graduated from Willamette University and has been a direct service provider with City Year Los Angeles in East LA supporting student academic success in the classroom and with Playworks in elementary schools in Inglewood. Selena also worked in San Francisco providing job readiness training and direct work experience with older youth. Selena was recognized as a 2018 Afterschool Next Generation leaders by the National Afterschool Association.
Fausto A. Lopez
Fausto Alejandro López is a senior technical assistant consultant working on school climate, SEL, youth development, and expanded learning initiatives at AIR. He provides technical assistance and professional development to diverse audiences in the education and OST sectors. He is a nationally recognized presenter who facilitates national, regional, and state workshops that bring research to the field in relatable formats. He holds a master’s in educational psychology-youth development from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Kristin Lorey is the Director of Education at Every Monday Matters and has spent the majority of her career in the after-school learning space. After running writing and tutoring programs for students grades K-12 in Los Angeles, Kristin moved to Every Monday Matters, where she is in charge of the free SEL and HQSL programming, educator relationships, and community, and educational partnerships all around the country. She also has experience training and educating staff in after-school spaces on best practices, communication styles, HR practices, and professional development.
Leslie Lowes has more than 15 years of leadership positions for NASA education projects, working with regional, state, and national afterschool organizations to infuse fun, real-world STEM activities into after school. Leslie oversaw a NASA afterschool time curriculum project that made a cameo appearance in the JPL submission for the Emmy-winning Cassini mission Grande Finale at Saturn. She firmly believes in the power of personal discovery in afterschool programs and shares her enthusiasm for space exploration and afterschool through professional development for OST leaders – to build interest and capacity for bringing NASA STEM to their programs
Jennifer L. Magnabosco, Ph.D., ACC
Jennifer L. Magnabosco, Ph.D., ACC is a Principal Consultant, Certified Life Transitions, Career & Leadership Coach, and Workshop Trainer with over 25 years of experience in the fields of mental health, substance use, and health. She has held a variety of management, research, clinical practice, teaching, training, and consulting positions in public and private sector organizations. She provides Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training as a Certified MHFA Instructor for the Adult, Youth, and Higher Education Modules. Her presentations and publications focus on the implementation, improvement, and evaluation of government and community-based human services and organizations, change implementation and management, career and leadership development, emotional intelligence, and outcomes measurement. She is Co-Editor of the first (1997) and second (2011) editions of the National Association of Social Work (NASW) Press books, Outcomes Measurement in the Human Services: Cross-Cutting Issues and Methods.Dr. Magnabosco currently serves as Mental Health Section Policy Chair-American Public Health Association, Mentor-Network for Social Work Management, Mentor-University of Chicago Women’s Athletic Association, and reviewer for professional journals. She received her Ph.D. (in Social Policy Administration, and Community Mental Health) from Columbia University; her MA (in Social Science: Human Development) and BA (in Behavioral Science) from the University of Chicago; and her certifications as a Life Transitions & Leadership Coach from the Hudson Institute of Coaching; Associate Certified Coach (ACC) from the International Coach Federation; Career Coach from GetFive; Emotional Intelligence Practitioner from Learning In Action Technologies; and MHFA Instructor from the National Council for Behavioral Health.
Robin works as the Director, Customer Experience for Eleyo. She works closely with customers to ensure Eleyo is helping After School Enrichment and School Age Care programs use the system in a way that meets the needs of the individual programs as well as the communities and families they serve.
Louise is a Provincial Projects Coordinator with Ever Active Schools, based out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She has a Bachelor's degree in Kinesiology from the University of Calgary and a Masters degree in Public Health from Simon Fraser University. At Simon Fraser University her work was in supporting vulnerable children and youth through after-school programs. Through this, she developed a passion for capacity building in the after-school time period. Over the past two years, her position at Ever Active Schools has allowed her to coordinate provincial level supports for after-school programs.
Justin McGlamery is owner & Chief Locus Focuser for Focus Your Locus Teambuilding Training & Development, a Master Trainer for the Wingman for Schools Program, and is NE Regional Chair for the Association for Experiential Education. Justin has taught Experiential Education Leadership & Group Dynamics courses at the university level, & facilitates social-emotional learning, team building, leadership development, mindfulness workshops, & teacher training. Justin is a regular presenter & keynote speaker at national & international conferences & is the co-author of Focus Your Locus: Activities that Focus the Power of Individuals and Groups (2010)
Jeffrey Scott Miller is the National Director of Curriculum & Training for After-School All-Stars. Jeffrey oversees program quality, professional development of staff, and instructional and training practices of the organization. Jeffrey has a decade and a half of classroom experience, is a public speaking coach, and has written and developed curriculum and strategies that are based on youth development and neuroscience. He has trained educators across the United States and internationally on how to engage students, create positive classroom cultures, and reinforce learning.
Steve Mintz is a professional facilitator, freelance writer, editor and author, Steve's career includes decades of experience as a classroom educator, camp and retreat director, curriculum designer, college orientation program director, food service supervisor, and downhill ski coach. With a focus on re-igniting people's passions, Steve has developed and facilitated workshops for business people and educators across the country, and he trains facilitators from around the world.
As the lead writer for ChartHouse Learning's FISH! For Schools materials and co-producer of their Trainer Tools (facilitator training program), Steve designed and developed dozens of strategies for facilitators and educators striving to create positive team cultures. His playful and engaging style will help you connect with new ideas, age-old wisdom and most importantly, the people you live and work with every day.
Steve's passion for learning and writing is matched only by his passion for family. Steve and his wife (they met teaching elementary school) live in Minnetonka, Minnesota with their three daughters, one son, two cats and an ant farm that used to have more ants in it. Hmmmmm...
Dr. Suzette Mirabal
Suzette Mirabal is an educator who has worked as a Brain-Based Learning professor, an English teacher, school counselor, and presenter. She owns Brain Connections, Corp. a company that specializes in offering professional development workshops on how the brain learns. She also works integrating technology in classrooms and counseling students. Dr. Mirabal has been a speaker at several conferences including ISTE, FETC, College Board, Association of Private Education and the Professional Counselors Convention. Dr. Mirabal has a doctorate degree in education and a post-graduate certification in Neuroscience of Learning.
Jonathan Mooney is a dyslexic writer, speaker, and do-gooder who did not lean to read until 12 years old. He faced a number of low expectations growing up—was told he would flip burgers, be a high school dropped out, and end up in jail. Opposed to being a high school drop out, Jonathan became a college graduate from Brown University with an honors degree in English Literature; instead of flipping burgers, he ended up writing books, the first of which he wrote as an undergrad; and instead of becoming an inmate, he became an advocate creating organizations and initiatives that help people who get the short end of the stick.
Jonathan won many awards including the Harry S. Truman fellowship for public services, Finalist for a Roads Scholarship, LA Achievement award from The Lab School of Washington where he shared the stage with Vice President Joe Biden—and has been featured on HBO, NPR, The New York Times, NBC, Fast Company, and many other media outlets. But what he is most proud of is not that he proved some people who doubted him wrong—but that he proved the many people—his mom, a teacher named Mr. R, his wife Rebecca—right, not just about his potential but about the potential for all of us who live and learn differently.
Christian Moore is an internationally renowned speaker, social worker, and author of The Resilience Breakthrough. The WhyTry Program that he authored is used in 20,000 institutions worldwide and has proven to effectively teach the social and emotional skills needed to thrive in school and life.
As a postdoctoral fellow, Kathleen O’Connor works to translate research to practice and coordinates research and evaluation efforts at NatureBridge. Kathleen holds a BA in Environmental Science from Northwestern University and a Ph.D. in Education from Stanford University. Her graduate research explored the development of environmental identities in the context of residential environmental education programs. Kathleen is passionate about connecting young people to their natural and social environments through facilitated learning experiences and exploration in the outdoors.
Tapau coordinates the school transition and aftercare process for students entering and exiting LA County Juvenile Halls, Probation Camps, and Court Community Schools. This includes forming, training, and facilitating interagency collaborative meetings with various LA county agencies such as Probation and DMH as well as LEAs and charter schools that operate within LA county.
Shawn C. Petty
Shawn C. Petty is the Training & Development Director for Westat. In this role, he oversees the development of training products, coordinates the efforts of consultants, and provides technical assistance for the Texas ACE Program. Shawn entered the out-of-school-time industry after a decade of experience in the corporate world with the Walt Disney and Target Corporations. Shawn holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from BYU-Hawaii and a Masters of Political Management from George Washington University. He is a White-Riley-Peterson Fellow and a national STEM expert and also has a PMP certification.
Karen has made a career of starting organizations and initiatives that promote youth development – including the Forum for Youth Investment, which she co-founded with Merita Irby in 1998. A sociologist and recognized leader in youth development, Karen started her career at the Urban Institute, conducting studies on social services for children and families. She later moved to the Children’s Defense Fund, launching its adolescent pregnancy prevention initiatives and helping to create its adolescent policy agenda. In 1995 Karen joined the Clinton administration as director of the President's Crime Prevention Council, where she worked with 13 cabinet secretaries to create a coordinated prevention agenda. From there she moved to the executive team of the International Youth Foundation (IYF), charged with helping the organization strengthen its program content and develop an evaluation strategy. Karen has written three books and dozens of articles on youth issues and was a regular columnist in the youth development newspaper, Youth Today. She is also a respected public speaker and has served on numerous boards and panels, including those of the Kauffman Foundation, the Educational Testing Service and the National Center for Children in Poverty. Pittman was named one of the 25 most influential leaders in Afterschool by the National Afterschool Association and was recently selected to join the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development with the Aspen Institute.
Dr. Vincent Pompei
Dr. Vincent Pompei is the Director of the Youth Well-Being Project at the Human Rights Campaign. One of his primary roles at HRC is to direct Time to THRIVE, an annual national conference for educators to promote safety, inclusion, and well-being for LGBTQ youth. Previously, Pompei served as President for the California Association of School Counselors and spent over ten years as a teacher and school counselor. He was also an LGBTQ cadre trainer for the National Education Association and authored the LGBTQ section of the American School Counselor Association’s National Model.
Thorhildur Rafns Jonsdottir
Thorhildur is from Iceland but studied in Denmark earning a Bachelors Degree in Social Work/Kindergarten Teacher. She has been a department manager for district base youth clubs in Reykjavik since 2007 serving approximately 2,000 children and youth. She does a lot of prevention work and programming within the local community, schools, police, and with parents. She is also a part of larger prevention programs involving municipalities around Iceland.
Dr. Frieda Reichsman
Frieda Reichsman leads biology-based projects at the Concord Consortium, developing interactive online games and simulations that help students make sense of genetics. In the educational games, Geniverse and Geniventure students breed dragons to learn genetics and molecular biology. She holds a doctorate in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Richard Reyes is an entrepreneur, storyteller, and the founder and executive director of the PLUS ME Project. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Richard received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Occidental College in Critical Theory/Social Justice and his Master of Arts degree from California State University, Los Angeles in Education. To date, he has shared his narrative of becoming the first person in his family to earn a college degree with over 100,000 students from over 300 schools throughout Southern California.
Roberto Rivera is an artist, educator, and change agent who specializes in applying best practices in engaging youth using practical and relevant methods. He is also the Chief Empowerment Officer at 7 Mindsets Academy.
He received his undergraduate degree at UW-Madison where he created his own major entitled "Social Change, Youth Culture, and the Arts." He received his master's degree at UIC in Youth Development with a focus on Social Justice, Urban Education, and Hip-hop. He currently is the President and Lead Change Agent of the Good Life Org., publishing multi-media educational tools and training educators, youth workers, and parents in connecting positive youth development to community development.
His experiences working in the field of community-based popular education over the last decade have won him awards from former president Bill Clinton, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, and others. Despite these accolades, Roberto sees his work as giving back, since being labeled "at-risk" and "disadvantaged" as a teen himself, his relationships with key educators and youth workers helped him to turn his life around.
Roberto's presentations are unique in that they not only include scientific-based research, but also include his own stories of transforming from a dope dealer to a hope dealer and working with communities around the nation. His unique ability to code-switch from sharing research and data to stories and poems leaves audiences standing with enlightened minds and moved hearts.
He is also a proud husband and father, and sees being a good dad as one of his life-long goals.
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.
Chris is the founder of nonprofit organizations Outdoor Outreach and Transforming Youth Outdoors. Chris has been nationally recognized as an expert on programming for youth at-risk. He is frequently asked to speak at national conferences and symposiums and to consult with government agencies, academic institutions and other nonprofit organizations.
Wayne Sakamoto is the Executive Director of the California School Resource Officers’ Association. He has over thirty years of experience in the field of school and community safety and has developed and implemented a number of successful gang and youth violence prevention and intervention approaches. He has assisted schools on a national basis with school safety planning, emergency readiness, and building safe and positive learning environments. Wayne has been recognized at state and federal levels for violence prevention programs and efforts.
Ashley Steimer-King is the Director of Girls Learn International, a program of the Feminist Majority Foundation. She has a Masters degree in Cultural Anthropology from Roehampton University in London, England, and an undergraduate degree from the Ohio State University. Ms. Steimer-King previously worked with non-governmental organizations in their United Nations offices, training middle and high school girls on international human rights learning and advocacy.
Jordan Stolp is California’s Territory Sales Manager from Gopher. With 7 years of experience in the physical education market, Jordan brings experience in teaching unique activities from Gopher, classroom management, as well as pedometer and heart rate monitor training. Jordan presents annually at CAHPERD, other state workshops, and district professional development opportunities.
Shawnee Thornton Hardy
Shawnee is the Founder of ABLE Yoga Therapy and Asanas for Autism and Special Needs and the Founder/Director of Yoga Therapy for Youth. She is a Certified Yoga Therapist, M.Ed and Educational/Behavior Specialist. She specializes in Yoga for Spinal Health and offers therapeutic classes and private sessions using yoga props as tools to support the unique body types and physical differences of each individual. Shawnee also provides training and workshops on Yoga Therapy and Yoga and Mindfulness for Youth.
Sonia Toledo founded Dignity of Children in 2008 to create environments where children can thrive. As CEO of Dignity of Children, she continues to support directors in establishing strong learning cultures to build quality environments for children. She has over 25 years of experience working in the after-school field, building quality programming. Sonia has a Master in Human Services at Lincoln University. She is pursuing her Ph.D. in education and global training and development from North Central University. She completed the National Afterschool Matters Practitioner Research Fellowship in 2017.
Gillian has worked in the OSHC sector for over 20 years. In 2015, Gillian was awarded the Australian Institute of Management’s – ‘Manager of the Year’ award for demonstrating great leadership skills, energy & for her ability to deliver a message that is forthright & strong, inspiring others to follow. Gillian is currently the Operations Manager of 14 OSHC services with Big Fat Smile, a Not For Profit Organisation in regional NSW, Australia. She has been an active member of New South Wales Australia’s peak body for OOSH, Network of Community Activities. She served two years as the Chairperson on the Board of Management.
Liz Weir, Organisation Development Manager. I have spent the last 5 year researching and developing new evidence-based programs & frameworks to support educators to work SAFELY every day with children. The basis of this research has been the foundation nationally recognized training and has informed policy and organizational change. I am very passionate about supporting Educators to develop their skills, knowledge, and confidence to work SAFELY with children and their families.
Jeffrey Zlotnik, Founder & CEO of The Meditation Initiative has worked to bring the mental health benefits of mindfulness to more than 75,000 people for free since 2003. He began meditating in 1996 while working at a group home for abused teens. He has led free meditation for Homeless Teens, K-12 Public Schools, Juvenile Detention Facilities, Federal & State Prisons, HIV Patients, Seniors Centers, United States Military, Wounded Warriors, UCSD, Sober Living Homes, Superior Court of CA Judges, Susan G. Komen, Braille Institute, Jewish Family Services, Catholic Charities and Group Homes for Victims of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking.