Meet the 2018 BOOST Conference Speakers & Presenters

(This page was updated on 2-22-18. Please continue to check back for additional speakers and presenters.) 

Rafael Acosta
Regional Director, LAUSD - Beyond the Bell, Los Angeles, CA

Rafael Acosta is the Regional Director for the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Beyond the Bell Middle School Unit. Since 2002, Rafa has served the Beyond the Bell Branch in a variety of roles and duties while also earning both his B.A. in History and Masters in Public Administration from California State University Northridge. As a proud product of the Los Angeles Unified School District, Rafa has experienced similar circumstances as the students in the Beyond the Bell Middle School Programs and continues to strive to ensure these students are provided with quality student-centered and meaningful learning opportunities during the out of school hours. Lastly, Rafa is the proud father of Alyssa and Samantha Acosta. 

Raul Alcantar
Program Manager, Oakland Leaf Foundation, Oakland, CA

By way of Los Angeles, Raúl J. Alcantar has spent the last decade growing, learning, and building in the Bay Area community. As a first-generation Xicana he moved to the Bay Area to pursue his undergraduate education at the University of California, Berkeley where he became involved in addressing issues of educational inequity, lack of resources faced by marginalized communities, the intersections of race, class, and sexuality, and the power of art. Raúl is passionate about developing innovative, culturally-informed, youth-centered programs to achieve meaningful community transformations. He takes a holistic approach when working with youth and their families that is rooted in love of self and community. With years of experience working in after-school settings and other social justice programs, he has developed techniques to inspire and engage adults to become positive student allies. He first joined Oakland Leaf in 2013 as the After-School Site Manager at Think College Now where he bridged the rich Fruitvale community and the campus to create un mundo donde muchos mundos puedan existir. In the Fall of 2014, Raúl was moved to implement his pedagogy and skills as the new Oakland Leaf After-School Site Manager at EnCompass Academy.

Emma Banay
Design2Learn Program Manager, ExpandED Schools, New York City, NY

Emma Banay, Design2Learn Program Manager, comes to ExpandED Schools with experience working directly with students and educators to create engaging, real-world science experiences. She taught elementary and middle school science for three years and provided one-on-one support to NYC schools as the Coordinator of Grow to Learn, the NYC citywide school gardens initiative. In that role, she worked to expand students’ access to engaging, real-world science experiences, prioritizing students disproportionately affected by limited green space, poverty, and poor public health outcomes. At present, Ms. Banay manages Design2Learn, a replicable science intervention that features a combination of 1) collaborative teaching; 2) curricular bridging; and 3) design-based learning delivered in out-of-school time aiming to increase underrepresented students’ interest, engagement, and achievement in STEM. In addition, she manages Early Risers, a practicum experience for men of color interested in teaching early childhood STEM. In both these roles, she works closely with school, community, and external partners to support students and educators underrepresented in STEM and/or the teaching profession. In particular, she manages partnerships and provides educator coaching, curricular- and program-level planning, and professional development experiences.

Linda Barton
Director, Wyoming Afterschool Alliance, Lander, WY

Linda Barton has been the Director of the Wyoming Afterschool Alliance (WYAA) since its inception in 2007. WYAA is part of the National Network of Statewide Afterschool Networks with the C.S. Mott Foundation, and a priority fund of the Wyoming Community Foundation. Previously, Barton was Director of the Lights On in Lander afterschool program from 2000-2014, utilizing 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) funding.

Barton is a native of Los Angeles, CA, and now lives and works in Lander, Wyoming. She has a B.A. in Psychology from California State University at Northridge, and an M.A. in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix. She currently is a school board trustee of the Fremont County School District #1 school board in Lander, WY since 2014, and previously served as a councilmember for the City of Lander from 2004-2012.

Alan Botterman
Extracurricular Program Manager, High Tech High, Chula Vista, CA

Prior to working as an educator, Alan Botterman has over 40 years of experience in the pet trade - from importing and wholesaling tropical fish to owning pet shops and pet manufacturing companies. His experience in the industry has allowed him to be a resource for community outreach and involvement at High Tech High. His partnership with biology teacher Lesley Anderson has created an enthusiastic student-led after school honors program. Alan is currently running the after school program at the highly recognized High Tech High Chula Vista site.

Erin Browder
Education Consultant, Erin Browder, LLC, Los Angeles, CA

Erin Browder is a School Climate Specialist and Leadership Consultant. She specializes in leadership development, organizational/school transformation, emotional climate, and capacity building. Prior to becoming an independent consultant, she worked with Los Angeles Education Partnership (LAEP) as a Project Director with the Transform Schools Department. She has provided site-based support for school improvement efforts in comprehensive Los Angeles high schools since 2011. Prior to LAEP, she worked as a classroom teacher and teacher leader in elementary and middle public schools in East Harlem, NYC. She is a leader in training teachers and school personnel on trauma-informed practices, building the capacity of adult groups to support students’ academic and social well-being and develop positive classroom and school climates. She has a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology and Spanish Literature and Language from University of Southern California. She holds an M.S. in Education from Hunter College, City University of New York and an M.A. in Education Administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills. She is currently studying Entrepreneurial Leadership in Educational Organizations at Johns Hopkins University, in the Ed.D. Program.

Phil Brown
Lead Trainer, High 5 Adventure Learning Center, Brattleboro, VT

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), NEYCC (Northeast YMCA Camping Conference), MAHPERD, NHAHPERD, and at the High 5 Symposium.

Tiana Brown
Assistant Director, Norwalk Housing Authority (NHA) Learning Centers, Norwalk, CT

Tiana Brown is a graduate of Virginia State University and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. She has 11 years of professional experience as an educator and Therapeutic Support Facilitator with the Bridgeport Public School District. She currently serves as the Assistant Director of the Norwalk Housing Authority Learning Centers where she supervises and develops after school programming and supplemental learning opportunities for at-risk students. Tiana is a passionate practitioner and has presented at several local and national after-school conferences.

Fred Buggs
Education Programs Consultant, California Department of Education, Sacramento, CA

Fred was born and raised in Beloit, Wisconsin. He is an Education Programs Consultant for the State of California, Department of Education, Expanded Learning Division. He earned a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy and Urban Studies from Beloit College and a Master's degree in Counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Currently, Fred is finishing up a Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Edgewood College. Prior to joining the Department, Fred was the Chief Professional Officer for the Stateline Boys & Girls Clubs from 2005 -2015, which consisted of 2 traditional clubs as well as 10 elementary school sites. He started his career in Expanded Learning with the Federal TRIO program, Upward Bound, which is a program for low-income, first-generation college-bound students to enroll in a college and/or university and earn a baccalaureate degree.

Monica Burns
EdTech & Curriculum Consultant, Class Tech Tips, LLC, Jersey City, NJ

Dr. Monica Burns is an EdTech and Curriculum consultant, author and former New York City public school teacher. She visits schools across the country to support PreK-20 teachers to make technology integration meaningful and sustainable. Monica’s website helps educators place tasks before apps by promoting deeper learning with technology.

Ann Butler
Founder, CEO, Edible Education LLC, Midlothian, VA

As a frustrated culinary arts high school teacher, Ann Butler was tired of witnessing the bad eating habits of teens, so she started Edible Education, a cooking school for youth in Virginia. 7 years and 25,000 students later, kids in 21 states are experiencing an edible education. Chef Quincy joined the team after his retirement and 19 years at the White House as the Oval Office Chef to 3 past presidents. Their fun and engaging teaching style ensures that you will be a chef apprentice capable of teaching your engaged youth. They have taught in conferences from Virginia, Illinois, Texas, Connecticut, and Florida and agree BOOST is the most fun!

Michelle Sadrena Clark
Project Co-Director of the Deeper Learning Hub, Center for Research on Equity and Innovation, High Tech High Graduate School of Education, San Diego, CA

Michelle Sadrena Clark is the Co-Director of the Deeper Learning Hub and the Share Your Learning Campaign based at the Center for Research on Equity and Innovation at High Tech High’s Graduate School of Education. She has fifteen years experience as a secondary school educator with notable expertise in project-based learning. Her students' projects have garnered regional and national attention for their ability to invite students to think critically and act empathetically. She is earning her Ed.D in Educational Leadership with an emphasis on social justice at the University of California, San Diego and California State University, San Marcos.

Matt D’Arrigo
Founder, A Reason To Survive (ARTS) and Director, Clare Rose Foundation, San Diego, CA

D’Arrigo is the Founder and former CEO of A Reason To Survive (ARTS), a nationally recognized Creative Youth Development organization in National City, CA, offering a wide range of multidisciplinary arts education classes, workforce development, creative community development, and social services to youth 11-22 years old. His work with ARTS has been the subject of the 2013 Academy Award-winning documentary-short “Inocente”, featured on the Today Show, was a case study in the New York Times bestselling book "Decisive" by Chip and Dan Heath, and profiled in Darius Graham’s book “Being the Difference: True Stories of Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things to Change the World”.

In 2017 D'Arrigo stepped down as CEO of ARTS to become an Advocate, Advisor, and Change-Agent in the Creative Youth Development space. He works with the Clare Rose Foundation leading their Creative Youth Development Initiative to advocate for, strengthen, and grow the CYD field locally, regionally, and nationally. He is also on the Leadership Team for Art=Opportunity at Centre Artes at Cal State San Marcos, co-producing an annual Youth Summit.

D'Arrigo is on the Arts Education Advisory Council for Americans for the Arts and sits on the Creative Youth Development Steering Committee for The National Guild for Community Arts Education

He currently lives in San Diego, CA with his wife, Hulya, and children Tessa and Andrew.

Clint Darr
Afterschool Educator, Missouri Afterschool Network, Columbia, MO

Clint works for the Missouri Afterschool Network providing coaching, training, and technical support, as well as laughter, to afterschool programs throughout Missouri. He is a highly qualified educator possessing extensive experience teaching in the classroom and in the afterschool 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.

Sheryl Davis
Executive Director, San Francisco Human Rights Commission, San Francisco, CA

Sheryl Davis has more than 20 years' experience working as an educator, developing afterschool and summer programs as well Main Presenter Bio as a community leader in San Francisco. She continues her work in service of youth and families as director of the SF Human Rights Commission.

Gabriela Delgado
Program Specialist, San Diego County Office of Education, San Diego, CA

Gabriela B. Delgado has worked in education and served youth for over 17 years. She provides professional development training to school staff and community agencies on topics including trauma-informed practices; facilitation of student support groups; restorative practices; student engagement; adolescent female development and empowerment; and crisis response.

Gabriela has a Master of Arts in Education/Counseling and Guidance with a PPS 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’s Department of School Counseling and Psychology.

Gabriela is passionate about her work. As a role model to youth, her authenticity is among one of her strongest assets. She is blessed to have had many women role models in her life (four of which are her mom and three older sisters). Gabriela believes ALL youth have amazing potential- it’s up to us to help them realize it.
*BOOST Ambassador

Dr. Nancy Dome
CEO, Epoch Education, El Verano, CA  

Dr. Nancy Dome has been supporting children to overcome institutional and systemic barriers and developing educators for over 20 years. Starting her career as a Child Care Worker, she has worked as a classroom teacher, teacher leader, college professor, and recently co-founded Epoch Education. Dr. Dome developed the RIR Protocol, which through the Epoch Conversations Starters provides concrete steps to practice interrupting dysfunctional systems and negative behavior through Compassionate Dialogue using the RIR Protocol. Dr. Dome and her team work around the country providing workshops, keynotes, and online courses utilizing myriad modalities to gently support stepping into discomfort on hard topics, and calling for deep personal reflection.

Frank Escobar
Director of Student Services, Visalia Unified School District, Visalia, CA

Frank currently serves as a Director of Student Services at Visalia Unified School District in Visalia,
 CA as well as working as a speaker, trainer, and consultant for the expanded learning and youth development fields.

A popular speaker and trainer at school assemblies, youth and after-school conferences, Frank has spoken to thousands of middle and high school youth and trained hundreds of educators and youth program workers across the country.

Frank brings years of experience, knowledge, and know-how, but most of all a passion for serving and working with the community and people who serve today's children and youth.

Jane Felling
Consultant, Box Cars and One-Eyed Jacks, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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 Felling
Consultant, Box Cars and One-Eyed Jacks, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

John is an international speaker in the area of using games as a teaching strategy and brings over 30 years of education to his 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.

Michael Funk
Director of the Expanded Learning Division (ASD) for the California Department of Education (CDE), Sacramento, CA

Michael Funk was appointed in January 2012 by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, and was charged with the development and implementation of a strategic plan building upon California's critical investment in Expanded Learning to create systems and programs that maximize outcomes for children, youth, families, school and communities. Prior to this role, Michael was the Founder and Executive Director of the Sunset Neighborhood Beacon Center ( in San Francisco, established in 1996 and regarded as a national model for offering community and afterschool programming rooted in Youth Development. Michael grew up in Idaho where he earned his teaching credential. Following that, Michael became an ordained minister, whereas he worked to create social justice ministries to serve the urban and immigrant communities in North America.

Carlos Garcia
Regional Director, LAUSD - Beyond the Bell, Los Angeles, CA

Carlos began working with the Los Angeles Unified School District's Beyond the Bell Branch in 2002. During his tenure with Beyond the Bell, Carlos has focused on youth development in elementary and middle school-aged children and has worked with students in various capacities all across the greater Los Angeles area. Carlos is currently a Regional Director with Beyond the Bell and oversees 36 middle school comprehensive programs across Los Angeles. His passion for expanded learning has led him towards a path focusing on youth, program, and professional development. Carlos is continuously delivering trainings on the aforementioned topics at numerous conferences and workshops. Additionally, Carlos has developed youth programs to serve children’s leadership, academic, enrichment, and fitness interests. Through his work, Carlos strives to best equip the children he serves to make the best choices for themselves and their community.

Merryl Goldberg
Professor, California State University San Marcos, San Marcos, CA

Merryl Goldberg is a Professor of Music at California State University San Marcos and Director of the ART=OPPORTUNITY campaign of Center ARTES, a university center dedicated to restoring arts to education. Her publications include Arts Integration: Teaching Subject Matter Through the Arts in Multicultural Settings 5th edition (2017) as well as other books, articles, chapters, editorials, and blogs. She has received numerous research and programmatic grants including Federal Department of Education Arts in Education Program, Fulbright-Hays Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, Stuart and Panta Rhea grants. Merryl’s undergraduate degree is from New England Conservatory of Music, and her doctorate is from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to entering academia, she recorded numerous CDs and was on the road for 13 years playing the saxophone with the Klezmer Conservatory Band. Merryl’s hometown is Boston. Go Red Sox!

Annemarie M. Grassi, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO, Open Doors Academy, Cleveland, OH

Dr. Annemarie M. Grassi has served as the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Open Doors Academy (ODA) for the past 15 years. She is a dynamic and caring individual who works passionately and tirelessly to build this successful organization, which was once earmarked for closure. At 23-years-old, she started the non-profit ODA and grew it from 20 kids to over 500 kids annually.

Dr. Grassi holds a B.A. with Honors in Psychology from Ohio University, M.S.Ed. in Child and Adolescent Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, a Non Profit Management Certificate from Case Western Reserve University and a Ph.D. in Urban Education from Cleveland State University. Through growth of Open Doors Academy and service on a number of nonprofit boards, she brings a depth of experience in child and adolescent development, program development, metrics and outcomes, fundraising, and strategic planning.
*BOOST Breakfast Club Blogger 

 Bobbi Hamilton
CEO, Chi Universe, Santa Monica, CA

Bobbi Hamilton, C.Y.T. is a Yoga & Meditation Teacher, a UC Berkeley graduate, and a published Breast Cancer Researcher for U.C.S.F. Medical. She is also a Thought Leader and Producer of children's play-along entertainment, her work has appeared on PBS Kids reaching 20 million households, and 2 million kids in classrooms. Her new invention, the Chi Universe Yoga Mat & Program has been featured in Michelle Obama's Let's Move! LA campaign, the United Nations for HerStory, Four Seasons Resorts, LAUSD STAR After-School program, and public and private schools across the US and around the world.

Shawnee Thornton Hardy
Founder, Asanas for Autism and Special Needs, San Diego, CA

Shawnee is Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT), Educational/Behavior Specialist and M.Ed. Shawnee has worked with children with special needs for over 17 years. She has specialized in working with children who have significant cognitive and language delays, sensory processing deficits, as well as severe behavior challenges. She has experienced first hand the benefits yoga and mindfulness can provide to health and overall well-being. Her goal is to bring the experience of yoga and mindfulness to all individuals no matter their differences or challenges. Shawnee has presented at conferences throughout the US and internationally on topics focused on yoga and mindfulness for children of diverse abilities. She wrote a published a book, Asanas for Autism and Special Needs – Yoga to Help Children with Their Emotions, Self-Regulation and Body Awareness and is the creator of the C.A.L.M.M Yoga Toolkit. She has a Yoga School through Yoga Alliance and travels throughout the US and internationally in order to train others in yoga and mindfulness approaches to support children and young adults with autism and special needs. Shawnee is dedicated to helping support youth in developing strategies to cope with stress in order to live happier, healthier more peaceful lives.
*BOOST Breakfast Club Blogger 

Daniel Hatcher
Director, Community Partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Washington, DC

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. Daniel regularly blogs on topics relevant to healthy afterschool at
*BOOST Breakfast Club Blogger 

Clarissa Hayes
Child Nutrition Policy Analyst, Food Research and Action Center, Washington, DC

Clarissa Hayes joined FRAC in February 2015 as a child nutrition policy analyst. She works with anti-hunger organizations as well as with local, state, and national governments to expand the use of afterschool and summer nutrition programs. Before joining FRAC, Clarissa was an anti-hunger program associate at Maryland Hunger Solutions and worked to increase participation in the child nutrition programs across the state. She has also completed two years of national community service through AmeriCorps NCCC and AmeriCorps VISTA.

Nicole Hockley
Managing Director, Sandy Hook Promise, Newtown, CT

Nicole Hockley, mother of Dylan Hockley, killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, is Managing Director of Sandy Hook Promise (SHP), a national gun violence prevention non-profit that delivers prevention programs to schools around the country, free of cost. Nicole joined SHP in January of 2013, just weeks after the tragedy. She has had to honor of giving multiple TEDx talks on gun safety and knowing the signs of someone who may be in crisis, or planning violence toward themselves or others, as well as dozens of speaking engagements and trainings at schools around the country. She works to ensure that no other parents will have to endure the pain of losing a child to preventable gun violence.

Erin Hogeboom
Community Development and Network Strategy Manager, National Girls Collaborative, Seattle, WA

As Community Development and Network Strategy Manager for the National Girls Collaborative (NGC), Erin Hogeboom increases cohesion across the NGC network and The Connectory, an online community, thereby expanding science, engineering, technology, and mathematics (STEM) resources more equitably. Through managing partnerships, pilots, and on-going projects, facilitating strategic planning, implementation, and social media surrounding the NGC Leadership growth and sustainability, Erin reinforces the forward momentum of NGC and The Connectory.

Ezra Holland
Owner, The Holland Group, Surfside, FL

Ezra is an entrepreneur, author, educator and speaker. He is passionate about the concept of reducing stress in both our personal and professional lives by building strong relationships through effective communication and leadership development. He mission is to help those who work with kids develop skills, thus providing a better service to the children of our communities. Ezra is the CEO of The Holland Group, a national workforce and leadership training company, and an Adjunct Faculty in the School of Business at Endicott College.

Daren Howard
Director of Technical Assistance, Partnership for Children and Youth, Oakland, CA

Daren Howard joined the Partnership for Children & Youth in 2015. As the Director of Technical Assistance he is responsible for providing direct support to after school and summer programs across California through advocacy, training, coaching, and consulting. Daren has been a youth development professional since 2004. He has served students of all ages across California and in Mexico. Most recently, Daren worked with THINK Together in Southern California to provide high quality, academically oriented Afterschool, and Summer Programs. He also served as a Technical Assistance Peer Reviewer for the Los Angeles County Office of Education, and as a Community Advisory Board Member for several state and local health, academic, and enrichment initiatives.

Andre Ike
Program Specialist, Loma Linda University Health, Loma Linda, CA

For the last 3 years, Andre has served as the drug and alcohol education specialist for Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital’s Youth Alternative Solution Program. Over the past 16 years, Andre has worked with children and adolescents from a variety of positions, from supervising sites for before and after school child care to working with SED adolescents in a group home setting. Andre received his bachelor’s degree from the University of La Verne in psychology and a master’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in child and adolescent development from Capella University.

Brooke Jones
Vice President, Random Acts of Kindness, Denver, CO

Brooke wants to live in a world where people choose kindness over violence, compassion over cruelty, and action over indifference.

She is a certified professional life coach and a certified applied positive psychology practitioner. Brooke is the founder of Sisu Coaching and the Vice President of The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.

As Vice President of The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, she oversees an education program reaching almost 60 countries worldwide impacting millions of students, teachers, and families. In addition to the education program, Brooke manages the website, social media, and strategic partnership efforts. Utilizing social media to build engagement, the RAK Facebook page engages over one million fans.

Brooke's roots are in the arts. She received her degree in art history in 1998 after living in Paris, studying art and architecture and developing the rare talent of sustaining on baguettes, wine, and chocolate. She has worked in the fine art industry and municipal government for most of her career before landing in non-profit management and life coaching.

When she's not coaching clients, delivering emotional intelligence training to corporate clients, training educators on the "Kindness in the Classroom" curriculum or posting inspiring stories on Facebook, you can find her curled up with a good book, working on one of her many crafts, or playing games with her husband and eleven-year-old daughter. You may even find her sneaking around performing quiet random acts of kindness.

Quincy Jackson
Executive Chef, Edible Education LLC, Midlothian, VA

With over 26 years of experience in the food industry, chef Quincy's career started to take off in the mid-90s when he was hired as the head chef for the department of the US Navy in Washington DC. Even with culinary training in Brescia Italy, and food service technology training in St. Augustine Florida, his heart and skill set have kept him rooted in the D.C. area. As administrations changed so did Chef Quincy's roles. He spent several years serving under the Clinton and Bush administrations - taking the lead on their personal vacation trips.

In  2008, Chef Quincy was selected to serve President Obama in the Oval Pantry, as well as the handling of high-level visitors including Congress members, Cabinet members, Ambassadors and Heads of State from several different countries throughout the world.

Flash forward to August 2017 and he now spends his days working with the kid-friendly curriculum in Midlothian, Virginia based Edible Education. Now, instead of handling visitors to the Oval Office, Chef Quincy is the behind the scenes wizard that prepares the Edible Education menu to showcase at conferences. He also runs support activities for Edible Education's mission of teaching kids how to have fun with food and markets the Kitchen a la carte.  As a motivated Executive Chef, Quincy is focused on high standards in the kitchen, while also doing double duty as the Edible Education Brand ambassador.

Chef Quincy is an energetic professional with a blend of creativity, passion for food, and exceptional culinary skills. He prides himself on the beautiful presentation of food - no matter whether his audience is an international diplomat, a conference attendee, or a nine-year-old child! 

Brenna Johnston-Kosher
Programs Director, arc Adventure, Torrance, CA

Brenna Johnston-Kosher (yes, like the pickle) is the Director of arc Adventure in Torrance, CA, where she specializes in hands- on leadership training and professional development in outdoor spaces for teenagers, university students, and professional groups alike. Brenna has been in the field of outdoor and experiential education for over a decade, with a background in challenge courses, teambuilding, and adventure retreats. Brenna hails from El Paso, Texas where she developed a love of desert thunderstorms and spicy food, and received her bachelor’s in Political Science and History from UCLA, where she discovered her passion for outdoor education as part of the UCLA Outdoor Leadership Training Program.

Francis L. Kaya
CEO, Source Code Technology (SCT) USA, Essex Junction, VT

Professor Francis L. Kaya is an Author and International Researcher & Specialist on Emotional intelligence (EQ) and the interpretation of dreams, signs & symbols in more than 43 countries throughout the world. As a Chairman and CEO of multiple international foundations, his example of devotion and humanitarianism as a Philanthropist has become a source of inspiration for millions of people on the planet. His capacity to understand and explain the functioning of EQ through symbolic language is an extraordinary source of knowledge. An excellent Lecturer, Professor Kaya helps us discover in depth the importance of our autonomy of consciousness.

Jodie Knowles
Founder, Luminous Minds Project, Seattle, WA 

JODIE KNOWLES is a performing artist with over 20 years of experience whom critics have called “intuitively brilliant.” As an alumni of an arts-based high school program who went on to study theatre arts at Freehold Theatre Studio Lab in Seattle, Jodie has performed in numerous award-winning independent films, theatrical productions, and festivals, in schools, prisons and institutions as a highly sought after female voice in and around the Seattle area and throughout the West Coast.

She has written and performs her solo show called ‘Learning Curve: Confessions of a Special Ed Kid’ about her experience as a Special Ed student in public school in the south. Jodie hopes that by writing her story she has created an artful conversation starter, bringing awareness to the serious psychological effects of bullying and student shaming - and attention to all that our society loses when we segregate creative minds from typical learners in our publicschools.

After many years of research and overcoming the statistics that are predicted for those living with LD/ADHD, Jodie now works as a Coach and Advocate for youth and adults labeled with Learning Disabilities and ADHD. She works with and alongside educators, students, and artists to think, work and live more creatively. She has coached at the University of Washington as an Educational Consultant, and as a guest speaker at Seattle Pacific University on the Art of Entrepreneurship.

Jodie's additional training includes certification as a Strategic Intervention Coach through the Robbins Madanes Training.

In 2014, Jodie researched and consulted with psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, teachers, artists, advocates, coaches and students to create a program of recovery to help youth and adults with Learning Disabilities and ADHD. Jodie created Luminous Minds Project to provide coaching, education, workshops, community meetings, outreach and advocacy to help recover creative minds labeled LD/ADHD that have been injured by the educational and judicial systems. She is on a mission to connect and build a community for those who are often isolated and marginalized, slipping through the cracks. Luminous Minds Project is giving light to those who have been in the dark for too long.

Sangita Kumar
Founder, Be the Change Consulting, Oakland, CA

Sangita Kumar is a results-based organizational development consultant and facilitator dedicated to the empowerment of individuals and our communities. Sangita’s experience over the past 15 years ranges from coaching, professional development, strategic planning, program design, and curriculum development. Sangita holds a Masters Degree in Organizational Development, is a Certified Life Coach, and completed a two- year certification in Somatics and Trauma.

Mike Liston
Founder, DrumBus, the Mobile Music Room, Salt Lake City, UT

Mike Liston founded DrumBus, the Mobile Music Room, where he engages diversity of youth in group-rhythm, transcending traditional barriers, and allowing them to connect and build community. He has used evidence-based approaches in working with many at-risk populations, including in the juvenile justice system, rehab centers, and high-trauma populations. For over 10 years, Mike has facilitated workshops with tens of thousands of children in multiple states. You'll enjoy his easy going facilitation style and have a fantastic time drumming with your friends on the DrumBus. 

Stephanie Lo
TED-Ed Director of Programs, TED Conferences, New York City, NY

Stephanie Lo is the director of programs for TED-Ed, TED’s youth and education initiative. TED-Ed’s mission is to spark and celebrate the voices of students and teachers around the world by sharing curiosity-inspiring content and engaging students through its award-winning platform and programs.

Before joining TED in 2011, Stephanie was the director of growth and development at Relay Graduate School of Education, the first accredited graduate school of education to emerge in New York in more than 80 years. At Relay, Stephanie oversaw the organization’s initial strategic and operational planning to fulfill ambitious plans to scale to ten campuses throughout the United States within ten years.

Stephanie has worked in education and technology in China, Los Angeles, Boston, and New York. She received her EdM at Harvard University in education, policy and management, and earned her BA in international development and minored in education and public policy at University California, Los Angeles.

Fausto Lopez
Senior TA Consultant, American Institutes for Research, Chicago, IL

Fausto A. Lopez is a bilingual technical assistance consultant working on school climate; social and emotional learning; and afterschool and expanded learning initiatives at AIR. He provides technical assistance, training, and professional development to diverse audiences in the education and out-of-school time sectors. Lopez works with educational and out-of-school time systems to design resources and tools that support programs in the development, implementation, and applied evaluation of program offerings. Lopez specializes in U.S. Department of Education, Elementary and Secondary Education Act initiatives, now ESSA, including 21st CCLC, GEAR UP, and Upward Bound. He is a nationally recognized presenter on youth development and related education topics. He facilitates national, regional, and statewide educational workshops that bring the most up-to-date research to the field in exciting and relatable formats (e.g., Beyond the Bell Toolkit). Lopez holds a master’s degree in education psychology-youth development from the University of Illinois at Chicago. 
*BOOST Breakfast Club Blogger 

Mark Lovett
Organizer, TEDxSanDiego, San Diego, CA

Having survived three decades in corporate America, recovering c-level executive Mark Lovett is now immersed in the world of storytelling, from organizing TEDx events in San Diego, on the U.S. / Mexico border, and in prison, to professional speaker coaching and conducting storytelling workshops.

Michelle Lustig, Ed.D, MSW, PPS
Director of Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program & Homeless Education Services, San Diego County Office of Education, San Diego, CA

Michelle Lustig, Ed.D, MSW, PPS is the Director of Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program and Homeless Education with the San Diego County Office of Education as well as the President and CEO of Foster Horizons, Inc. a consulting firm focused on improving the educational outcomes of students in foster care through cross-system collaboration and trauma-informed practices within school systems. She has over 30 years of experience in public and private child welfare, research and education. Dr. Lustig has served as a part-time professor at the USC School of Social Work and the Cal State University, San Marcos School of Education. She has worked for The Child and Adolescent Services Research Center, San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, Child Welfare Services and Casey Family Programs. She has created several nationally recognized programs that support and increase school stability, and academic outcomes for students in foster care. Under her leadership, a model interagency database was developed that allows secure access to health and education data for children under the jurisdiction of juvenile court in San Diego County. Dr. Lustig believes that educational attainment is the gateway to a successful life and works to ensure that every student she serves has the opportunity to fulfill their academic potential. 

Manijeh Mahmoodzadeh
Director of Impact and Evaluation, Big Citizen HUB, Los Angeles, CA

Manijeh Mahmoodzadeh is a doctoral student in Developmental Psychology and Program Evaluation at Claremont Graduate University. Her work focuses on positive youth development and issues of social justice, emphasizing the role of community programs in empowering youth. She has worked as an applied researcher and evaluator for a variety of youth programs and serves as the Director of Impact and Evaluation for Big Citizen HUB, a youth civic engagement program. Manijeh considers her experience as a youth work practitioner integral to her perspective as an evaluator.

Chad Mann
Community Development Manager, Marathon Kids, Austin, TX

Growing up with a love for the outdoors, sports and coaching youth, the importance of being physically active, and instilling that belief in youth, has become one of the driving forces of Chad's life. After graduating from the University of Idaho (Go Vandals!) with a degree in International Studies, he pursued a career in community development through sports-based initiatives, eventually joining the Marathon Kids team in 2013. As the Community Development Manager for Out-of-School Time programs, Chad works with all of our out-of-school time partners, ensuring easy access to our world-class program and promoting the message that afterschool programming truly works!

Bruno Marchesi
Director of Strategic Expansion, U.S. Soccer Foundation, Washington, DC

Bruno Marchesi has been appointed Director of Strategic Expansion of the U.S Soccer Foundation with the goal to enhance, assist and grow the sport of soccer in the United States. Bruno was named one of the Top 16 Most Influential, in Health and Wellness by the National Afterschool Association (NAA) in 2017. He has more than 20 years of afterschool and summer learning experience at all levels including frontline staff, Site Coordinator and Program Manager of afterschool programs. Bruno's passion and drive come from his own core values of humility, integrity, and service.
*BOOST Breakfast Club Blogger 

Robin Mattaini
Director, Customer Experience, Eleyo, St. Paul, MN

Robin is the Director, Customer Experience at Eleyo and has helped a variety of School District after-school programs around the Country implement online registration and billing within the Eleyo system. Through implementing these various programs, each with their individual needs based on their communities, she has gained valuable insight and knowledge about how district programs are efficiently managing enrollments as well as family accounts through technology.

Steve McCormick
Director of Education & Outreach, La Jolla Playhouse, La Jolla, CA 

Steve McCormick has been the Director of Education & Outreach at La Jolla Playhouse since 2006 developing programs and partnerships that serve over 35,000 patrons annually both at the Playhouse and at schools throughout San Diego County. During his time at the Playhouse, he has commissioned and produced over a dozen world-premiere productions for youth from high profile playwrights including BD Wong, Barry Kornhauser, Will Power, Karen Zacarìas, Juan Felipe Herrera (former Poet Laureate of the United States) and Ernie Nolan with a piece that was selected for participation in the 2012 New Visions/New Voices program at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and on Arts Education Strategic Planning Committees for both the Chula Vista Elementary and San Diego Unified School Districts and he is the current Co-Vice Chair of the San Diego Unified Visual and Performing Arts Advisory Board. Steve is an active member of Art Education Resource Organization (AERO) San Diego where he has a seat on the Governance Committee and serves as the Chair of the Standards and Accountability Committee. He received his MFA in Theatre for Youth from Arizona State University in 2001 and currently serves on the national board of TYA/USA. Steve has been a guest lecturer at California State San Marcos and the University of California San Diego Extension. Steve has also worked as an educator, dramaturg and/or performer for First Stage Children’s Theater, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Nashville Children’s Theatre, Childsplay and is a company member of Native Voices at the Autry. He can also be heard playing various aquatic life in multiple video games for the SpongeBob Squarepants TV series.

Tom McFadden
Program Director: Villages Expanded Learning Programs, Monrovia USD, Monrovia Unified School District, Monrovia, CA

Tom McFadden is a Teacher on Special Assignment who has worked in Expanded Learning for over 5 years. He oversees a very successful expanded learning program at Monrovia USD and is currently a member of the LA County Grantee Advisory Group and a Co-Facilitator of the Community of Practice #3.

Robin Mattaini
Director, Customer Experience, Eleyo, St. Paul, MN

Robin is the Director, Customer Experience at Eleyo and has helped a variety of School District after-school programs around the Country implement online registration and billing within the Eleyo system. Through implementing these various programs, each with their individual needs based on their communities, she has gained valuable insight and knowledge about how district programs are efficiently managing enrollments as well as family accounts through technology.

Emily Moberly
Founder/CEO, Traveling Stories, San Diego, CA

Emily Moberly is the Founder and CEO of Traveling Stories, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids fall in love with reading by the 4th grade. Since 2010 Emily and her team have established seven international libraries and six StoryTent literacy programs in Southern California. More than 6,400 children improve their reading skills through the Traveling Stories programs each year. In 2016, the National Book Foundation recognized Traveling Stories as an “Innovations in Reading Prize” Honoree for its StoryTent program model.

For her work with Traveling Stories, Emily was named one of the “Top 10 Female Entrepreneurs to Watch in San Diego” by Forbes Magazine; Microsoft featured her in their Do More campaign; 10 News and LEAD San Diego awarded her a Leadership Award and in 2015, and San Diego Magazine named her a finalist for the San Diego Woman of the Year award n 2015 and 2017. In addition, the San Diego Business Journal named her a finalist for the Women Who Mean Business Awards in 2012 and 2015.

Traveling Stories has been featured by Microsoft, the National Head Start Association, Forbes, Huffington Post, Mashable, Medium, 10News, NBC7, Fox5, the San Diego Union Tribune, the San Diego Reader, SDSU, USD, and John Brown University among others.

Christian Moore
Founder, Why Try Organization, Provo, UT

Christian Moore is an internationally renowned speaker, social worker, and author of The Resilience Breakthrough. The WhyTry Program that he authored is used in 18,000 institutions worldwide, and has proven to effectively teach the social and emotional skills needed to thrive in school and life.

Metria Munyan
Youth Engagement Project Coordinator, Public Health Institute Center for Wellness and Nutrition, Sacramento, CA

Metria Munyan first joined the Public Health Institute in 2006 supporting a broad variety of nutrition education and obesity prevention strategies and initiatives that reach low-resource Californians through Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) interventions. Metria’s passion for increasing youth opportunity and supporting youth voices in community change approaches complements the Center’s Youth Engagement efforts, and she continues to support Youth-Led Participatory Action Research (YPAR) projects as well as new approaches and innovations. Previously Metria supported youth leadership strategies such as YPAR through the Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Youth Engagement Initiative. Provided countless training statewide and, at its peak, provided technical assistance to up to 52 youth projects throughout California. Additionally, she contributed to the creation and dissemination of a statewide beverage education campaign known as the Rethink Your Drink Campaign. Metria also brings extensive event coordination expertise to CWN from in-person and web based training series, to youth-facilitated trainings for groups with more than 100 young people, and multi-day professional statewide conferences with more than 800 attendees.

Jesse Oliveros
Program Coordinator, Beyond the Bell, LAUSD, Los Angeles, CA

Jesse Oliveros has been working for the Beyond the Bell Branch Before and After School Program for 18 years. Having initially started as a line staff, he has had the opportunity to connect with participants and staff on various levels. He is currently the Program Coordinator at the Beyond the Bell high school unit. This role allows him the opportunity to exercise his passion to serving the youth in his community.

He is currently spearheading the quality and compliance observation team which is responsible for conducting daily onsite coaching and development site observations for high school program CBO’s. With a proven ability to build relationships, lead teams, and develop programs has helped him be successful in this role. Furthermore, Jesse feels that as a leader within the field, it is his responsibility with to continue to grow and develop his skills. It is though this that leaders can develop the ability to create change within the field.

Elvy Garcia
Program Coordinator, LAUSD - Beyond the Bell, Los Angeles, CA

Elvy Garcia has contributed to the Expanded Learning Field since 2007 with the Beyond the Bell Branch of the Los Angeles Unified School District. As Program Coordinator with Beyond the Bell’s Youth Development Program, Elvy designs and implements leadership development programming for elementary-aged students and staff throughout the City of Los Angeles. Elvy holds a B.A. in Sociology and an M.A. in Public Administration from California State University Northridge. Elvy strives to fulfill her set mission to lead, create, and advocate towards responsive Expanded Learning programs focusing on the needs of youth and the communities she serves.

Erika Petrelli
Senior Director of Leadership Development, The Leadership Program, New York, NY

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika’s been in the field of training for decades, and with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through trainings, coaching, and writing. The legacy Erika strives to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. She blogs weekly, and wrote an interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy. 
*BOOST Breakfast Club Blogger 

Vincent Pompei, Ph.D.
Director, Youth Well-Being Project, Human Rights Campaign, Washington, DC

Dr. Vincent Pompei is the Director of the Youth Well-Being Project at the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest civil rights organization dedicated to LGBTQ equality. Previously, he was the Project Director for the Center for Excellence in School Counseling and Leadership, served as President for the California Association of School Counselors and was a National Cadre Trainer for the National Education Association. He also worked as a middle school teacher and high school counselor for ten years. In addition, Pompei authored the LGBTQ section of the American School Counselor Association’s National Model, testified at a congressional hearing on school safety in Washington D.C. and was one of four public educators invited to the White House for their first anti-bullying summit. Recently, he was named one of the Advocate Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 and selected by the National Education Association as a Classroom Superhero. In 2015, Pompei earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from San Diego State University.

Christina Oliver
Chief Program Officer, Classroom Inc., New York, NY

Christina brings over 15 years of program design and curriculum creation experience with a focus on engaging youth in high poverty communities with fun reading experiences, and building 21st century skills essential for college and career success. At non-profit, Classroom, Inc. she leads the professional learning and partnership work with schools and community partners ensuring the highest quality learning experiences for educators and youth using Read to Lead workplace learning experiences.

Shawn Petty
Director of Training, Westat, San Antonio, TX

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 has been a Regional Coordinator for Harris County Department of Education as well as a Texas ACE Project Director. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from BYU-Hawaii and a Masters of Political Management from George Washington University. Mr. Petty is a White-Riley-Peterson Fellow, a National Afterschool Matters Fellow, & a national STEM expert with a PMP certification.

Janae Phillips
Director of Leadership and Education, Harry Potter Alliance, Cranston, RI

Janae Phillips is a community organizer and writer from Southern Arizona. She is the Director of Leadership and Engagement at the Harry Potter Alliance (before you ask: Hufflepuff), and her work in engagement design is transforming the way people think about leadership development. She spends a lot of time thinking about how she can impress SUE the T.rex. You can find her most everywhere @janaeisms. 

JC Pohl

JC Pohl is an award-winning producer, nationally recognized speaker, and certified counselor who has reached over 9 million people with his efforts to build school culture and empower student voice. He has produced groundbreaking programs such as TEEN TRUTH and RISING UP, and award-winning content for companies such as Warner Brothers, ESPN, and Disney. He is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy Associate and can be reached on Facebook and LinkedIn or directly at

Lauren Reilly                                                                                                                             
Chief Learning Officer, Practice Makes Perfect, New York, NY            

Lauren Reilly is the Chief Learning Officer at Practice Makes Perfect (PMP), a nationally recognized summer school operator. She joined the PMP team in early 2014 after teaching in the Bronx and Harlem's charter schools. During her time at PMP, she has created the programmatic framework that has positioned the organization as a highly scalable solution to our nation's summer school crisis. In addition to improving the quality of staff training, Lauren oversaw the integration of a home visits program, a merit-pay system, and one of the most selective teacher internship programs in the nation.

Lauren is a 2011 Teach For America alum and a New York State certified teacher. She is also a White House Champion for Change, awarded for her work in summer learning. She graduated with a Master's degree in Education from Fordham University and a Bachelor's degree in History from Vassar College. She is part of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society and was All-Academic for four years on the Varsity Women's Soccer Team.

Jessenia Reyes
Manager of Educational Equity, Advancement Project, Los Angeles, CA

Jessenia Reyes currently serves as the Manager for Educational Equity at Advancement Project California where she will help lead K-12 statewide policy around local control and continuous improvement, teacher pipeline, school finance and alignment with the Early Care and Education with K-12 education systems. She is a first generation student who was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley where she attended local public schools and received her B.A. in Child and Adolescent Development at California State University, Northridge. While earning her B.A., Jessenia worked full time for an after school program that focused on underperforming middle schools in low-income areas; subsequently, she developed a passion to work with at risk youth, and undocumented families within working class communities. As an advocate for education, she has participated in multiple education platforms to help support families and students. Due to her experience on the ground with multiple CBO’s and school systems, she believes that any form of education is the key to help unleash the power families and students to overcome environmental and personal challenges. Jessenia received her MSW at University of Southern California, with a concentration on Community Organization, Planning and Administration with a certificate in Nonprofit Management and Policy.

Richard Reyes
Executive Director, PLUS ME Project, Los Angeles, CA

Richard Reyes is the founder and executive director of the PLUS ME project, a youth development nonprofit based in Los Angeles that inspires students through sharing personal narratives. He 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 Educational Foundations. Richard has shared his personal narrative with over 75,000 students throughout Southern California and has supported thousands of others with discovering their own narratives.

Ed Samperio
Regional Director, Beyond the Bell, LAUSD, Gardena, CA

Ed Samperio has been a Director for the LAUSD Beyond the Bell program since 2001. He began as a front line staff member in 1987 at his local elementary school. Having grown up as an after-school participant he knows the positive influence that we as extended day learning staff have on the youth we serve.

Stu Semigran
President & Co-Founder, EduCare Foundation, Van Nuys, CA

Stu Semigran, the co-founder and president of EduCare Foundation, has more than 30 years developing and facilitating programs in educational settings worldwide. EduCare currently provides expanded learning programs for over 50 high schools and middle schools in southern California. He is the author of "Making the Best of Me: A Handbook for Student Excellence and Self-Esteem". Stu currently serves on Beyond the Bell’s Take Action Campaign Steering Committee & the CDE’s Expanded Learning Division’s SEL Planning Team. In 2012, Stu was recognized as a David Chow Humanitarian Award Foundation recipient for his service to youth.

Sandy Slade
President/CEO, Skillastics, Corona, CA

For over 22 years, Sandy Spin Slade was considered one of the best basketball handlers in the world, performing for thousands at NBA half-times, schools, and special events around the globe.

Additionally, she revolutionized the educational market by introducing Skillastics®, oversize board games that allow all children to have a positive experience being physically active. Since 2002, Skillastics has been enjoyed by over 10 million students in over 25,000 education settings nationwide. Sandy is also known for being one of the premier session speakers/presenters at Physical Education & After School Conferences throughout the country, inspiring thousands to enjoy all the benefits physical activity provides.

In January 2017, her high school alma mater named their gymnasium, Sandy Spin Slade Gymnasium in her honor. 

Amy M. Smith, Ph.D.
Director of Educational Programs, Career Training Concepts, Inc., Lincoln, NE

Amy Smith is Director of Educational Programs at Career Training Concepts, Inc., where she applies her passion for children’s social and emotional well-being on projects aimed to stop bullying and promote respect in schools.  She earned a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Research from The University of Memphis.  As a researcher at the Center for Research in Educational Policy in Memphis, Dr. Smith was responsible for research projects aimed at discovering instructional methods to improve student achievement. 

Prior to joining the Center for Research, Dr. Smith taught in inclusive school environments with a Masters level Tennessee teaching license.  She instructed college courses on child development for teachers, consulted with schools in the West Tennessee area, developed and delivered numerous workshops for teachers and administrators, accomplished several publications, and studied innovative education in Italy.  Dr. Smith currently serves on the Board of Directors for a charter school in Utah.

Sharona Sommer
Director of Family Services, College Internship Program, Pittsfield, MA

Sharona Sommer, Certified Professional Coach, is Director of Family Services at the College Internship Program. Sharona Sommer has over 20 years in the Special Education field and is the founder of Sharona Coaching and Consulting. Sharona is lead trainer and a content contributor for CIP’s Autism and Learning Differences Active Learning Teaching Toolkit.

Bryan Stevenson
Founder & Executive Director, Equal Justice Initiative, Montgomery, AL 

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. Mr. Stevenson is a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned. Under his leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill and aiding children prosecuted as adults. Mr. Stevenson has successfully argued several cases in the United States Supreme Court and recently won a historic ruling that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger are unconstitutional. Mr. Stevenson and his staff have won reversals, relief or release for over 115 wrongly condemned prisoners on death row. Mr. Stevenson has initiated major new anti-poverty and anti-discrimination efforts that challenge the legacy of racial inequality in America, including major projects to educate communities about slavery, lynching and racial segregation. Mr. Stevenson is also a Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law.

Mr. Stevenson’s work fighting poverty and challenging racial discrimination in the criminal justice system has won him numerous awards including the prestigious MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Prize, the National Medal of Liberty from the American Civil Liberties Union after he was nominated by United States Supreme Court Justice John Stevens, the Public Interest Lawyer of the Year by the National Association of Public Interest Lawyers, and the Olaf Palme Prize in Stockholm, Sweden for international human rights. The American Bar Association has honored Mr. Stevenson with its John Minor Public Service and Professionalism Award. In 2002, he received the Alabama State Bar Commissioners Award. In 2003, the SALT Human Rights Award was presented to Mr. Stevenson by the Society of American Law Teachers. In 2004, he received the Award for Courageous Advocacy from the American College of Trial Lawyers and also the Lawyer for the People Award from the National Lawyers Guild. In 2006 New York University presented Mr. Stevenson with its Distinguished Teaching Award. Mr. Stevenson won the Gruber Foundation International Justice Prize and has been awarded the NAACP William Robert Ming Advocacy Award, the National Legal Aid & Defender Association Lifetime Achievement Award, the Ford Foundation Visionaries Award and the Roosevelt Institute Franklin D. Roosevelt Freedom from Fear Award. In 2012, Mr. Stevenson received the American Psychiatric Association Human Rights Award, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Fred L. Shuttlesworth Award, and the Smithsonian Magazine American Ingenuity Award in Social Progress. Mr. Stevenson was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Science in 2014 and most recently won the Lannan Foundation Prize for Human and Civil Rights.

Mr. Stevenson has received 26 honorary degrees including degrees from Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University and Washington University. He is the recent author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Just Mercy, which was named by Time Magazine as one of the 10 Best Books of Nonfiction for 2014 and has been awarded several honors including a 2015 NAACP Image Award.

Dan Thoene
CEO, Judo Math, San Diego, CA

Dan is the CEO of Judo Math Inc. He's been teaching educators how to implement math in a more engaging way for the past 8 years, reaching 5 different countries around the world. He's also spent 15 years in the classroom teaching math at High Tech High in San Diego. Before teaching, Dan spent 12 years as a Sports Broadcaster, earning an Emmy Award in 2001.

Sonia Toledo
President, Dignity of Children, Inc., New York, NY

Sonia M. Toledo began in 2008 with the vision of creating programs that would support children and youth holistically. She has over 25 years of experience working in the after-school field building quality programming for students in elementary through high school during their off time. Sonia has worked for Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA, Children’s Aid Society, Child Care Inc., and served as President of the After-School Works NY. When she founded Dignity of Children, Inc. she decided that the best approach for child and youth development was to educate adults to help them create environments for children that would make them feel emotionally safe while allowing them to develop their self-worth. Dignity of Children, Inc., a Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) vendor, has served child care programs across the five boroughs and surrounding counties leaving each client satisfied and returning for more of Sonia’s intoxicating attitude towards child and youth development. With trainings fit for anyone working with school-aged children, and workshops that encourage programs to include the entire family in helping their child develop, Dignity of Children, Inc. has become a leader in child and youth development in New York City.

David Tuero
Sr. Director, Out-of-School Programs, LAUSD - Beyond the Bell, Los Angeles, CA

David Tuero has worked with before and after school programs for over 25 years. He is currently the Senior Director for Beyond the Bell Branch’s Ready-Set-Go Before School Program, which services 100 sites.

Kristi Vincent
Read Naturally Coach, Read Naturally, El Segundo, CA

Kristi Vincent is currently a national presenter in reading, technology and curriculum and has a masters degree in education. During her 12 years as an educator, she worked with struggling readers and ELL students at the middle/elementary school level in Colorado and California. Kristi has also been an instructional coach and helped to implement the Read Naturally program at her Reading First school as well as train the staff. She has used Read Naturally for years and has experienced firsthand how motivating and successful Read Naturally's strategies are with students.

Mike Walsh
President, California School Boards Association (CSBA), Sacramento, CA

Elected to serve on the Board of Trustees for the Butte County Office of Education in June of 2010, Mike Walsh shortly thereafter was appointed to CSBA’s Delegate Assembly.  In December of 2011 he was elected to serve on the CSBA Board of Directors as the Director-at-Large, County.  During his time at CSBA, Mike has served on numerous committees, including chair of the Annual Education Conference Planning Committee, and Chair of the Legislative Committee.

In 1992, Mike was hired as a Drop-out Prevention Services Coordinator for the Butte County Office of Education (BCOE). In this role, he identified high-risk students and created plans to help address their specific needs and goals. In 2005 Walsh co-founded Beacon Results, an organizational growth and leadership development firm that works primarily with school districts and non-profits to help them develop and align their strategic plans. Mike has also worked with the Region 2 Technical Assistance Lead to create systems training front-line and managerial staff to ensure high quality ASES and 21st Century programs.

In addition to his service to school boards across the state, Mike also serves on three major committees of the National School Boards Association and has written and published multiple articles focused on equity and improving outcomes for underserved student groups. Walsh’s current volunteer activities include working one day each semester at LPHS teaching history students how particular personality traits can be a predictor of behaviors in leaders. Mike holds a BA and MA in Organizational Management with a specialization in Leadership from Ashford University.

Liz Weir
National Learning and Development Manager, Camp Australia, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Liz Weir is very committed to continuing to provide contemporary learning and development approaches, policies and practices which will support the development of Educators working with children and youth. Having recently completed a Master of Education, specializing in Educational Leadership and Well-being in Inclusive Schooling she is very passionate about supporting children's well being. As the National Learning and Development Manager with Camp Australia her role involves: Being an executive team member of Camp Australia Senior Leadership Team contributing to the companies strategic plan and business goals. Leading and Managing of the Training and Development Team (Inclusion of a Global Team). As well as the creation of a Nationally and Internationally researched and written Training and Development Framework including VSHAPE for Active Supervision in Australia.

Damita “Penny” Willis
Training and Program Development, Lions Club International, Oak Brook, IL

Penny Willis is a Training and Program Development Specialist for the internationally recognized Lions Quest K-12 Social and Emotional Learning Programs. Lions Quest is a program of Lions Clubs International, the world’s largest volunteer service organization.

For the past two decades, Penny has trained educational leadership, practitioners about innovative ways to design, develop and implement family, school and community interventions.

Through her work at Lions Clubs International Penny strives to support the social and emotional well-being and development of young people by developing SEL resources and training materials for school-based and Out-of-School Time initiatives, training educators, principals and school district leaders, and providing school and district wide implementation support. Current projects include developing research-based tools to foster social and emotional teaching practices including curriculum, classroom observation and professional learning strategies.

Rachel Willis
Research Project Manager, Kansas Enrichment Network, Lawrence, KS

Rachel Willis is a Research Project Manager for the Kansas Enrichment Network with KU-CPPR. Rachel is primarily focused on network building through creating and providing technical support for Kansas 21st Century Community Learning Centers as well as coordinating the Network’s policy efforts. She travels across the state conducting site observations. She also hosts conferences and roundtables, organizes webinars and conference calls, and presents on a variety of topics related to out-of-school time. Rachel Willis was selected to the White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellowship Class of 2014-15 and now serves as an afterschool Fellow focusing on advocacy work for the field. She also coordinators the Kansas Regional Afterschool Ambassador program and the Day at the Capitol. In addition to providing technical assistance and policy management, Rachel specializes in distribution of communications (newsletters, social media, etc.), event planning, and grant writing. Before joining the Kansas Enrichment Network, she served as the Executive Director of Kids Voting USA. In this position, Rachel led committees that created new curriculum and matrixes, organized fundraising events and supervised employees. Rachel graduated with her Masters of Public Administration from The University of Kansas in May, 2015.

Ty Woods
Executive Director, Artportunity Knocks, Atlanta, GA

Ty Woods has been in the youth development and STEAM education profession for over 15 years. She is a dynamic speaker recognized nationally and has delivered workshops on the topics of: nonprofit development, startups, program development, and achieving your goals. She has worked for agencies such as: The Jenesse Center, Family Resource, Boys and Girls Club, City of Covina, and the Cobb County School District and assisted with Arts curriculum development at each agency. Her experience has led her to receive recognition from local government officials and national agencies for her work in leadership, nonprofit development and Arts/Music Education and Child advocacy. Her education spans over a decade which includes an Associates in Early Childhood Education, a Bachelors degree in Business Management from Life University where she graduated valedictorian, and an MBA from Coles College of Business. She also has over 20 years of Performing Arts Experience leading in plays such as Dream Girls, Kingdom Come, and Phantom of the Opera. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, writing scripts and songs, mentoring youth (especially girls), serving in her church, and going to the movies.

Christine Woolford
Professional Development & Quality Manager, Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL), Dorchester, MA

Christine began her career as a classroom teacher and soon realized that there was a need for more that she simply could not provide to her students and families during the traditional school day. She transitioned out of the classroom and perused a master's degree in Educational Policy and Leadership from the University of Michigan. She has since worked for a number of impressive non-profit organizations such as The Education Trust, Citizen Schools, and community-based organizations. In these roles, Christine has lead, implemented and executed out-of-school time programs for children and families from disadvantaged communities. Her experiences in professional development, curriculum design, program coordination and development, and teaching have left an imprint in rural and urban communities up and down the east coast and in the mid-west.

In her current role, Christine develops and facilitates professional development for youth development professionals and educational leaders and monitors program quality at Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL).

When she is not working, Christine enjoys serving her community as a Junior League member and Girl Scout troop leader and spending time with her fiancé and their lively pets.

Nikki Yamashiro
Director of Research, Afterschool Alliance, Washington, DC

Nikki Yamashiro is the Director of Research. She works with the Vice President of Policy and Research to coordinate and implement annual research activities, design surveys on pressing issues in the afterschool field and analyze research findings, communicating the need for and great successes of afterschool programs to policy makers, afterschool providers, advocates, and the public.


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