MEET THE 2017 BOOST CONFERENCE SPEAKERS & PRESENTERS
Program Officer, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Berkeley, CA
Justina Acevedo-Cross is a program officer for the Children, Families, and Communities (CFC) program. She oversees a grantmaking portfolio that ranges from after-school and summer learning advocacy, best practices and technical assistance to early learning advocacy and educator workforce development.
Prior to joining Foundation, Justina worked in the nonprofit sector as a communications professional for small and mid-size organizations, most recently at Women’s Initiative for Self Employment in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has served as a policy consultant for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, CFED, and Net Impact together with the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Her work has focused heavily on community development, economic security, education, and small business/workforce issues. Justina holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.A. from Scripps College.
She taught video production to high school and middle school students both in school and in an after-school program. She currently serves as board chair of Californians for Justice, an education policy organization that ensures that students have the opportunity to grow as leaders, and win campaigns so every school and community can thrive. Justina is a parent to one young son, which is driving home the importance of early childhood development in a whole new way.
CEO, Children’s Choice, Albuquerque, NM
Mike and Chelsea founded and directs a non-profit organization that provides youth development programs as well as staff training and consulting. Mike taught courses in brain-based teaching, and middle childhood development for Concordia University. Mike is a former President of the NM School-Age Care Alliance and the NM Association for the Education of Young Children. Chelsea teaches courses in leadership, child care management, early childhood guidance, and teaching strategies at the Central New Mexico college. They are authors of Best Practices: Guidelines for School-Age Programs, and Leading to Learn: Learning to Lead – Organizational Leadership for the Child Care and Youth Development Director.
Founder and CEO, Children’s Choice, Albuquerque, NM
Mike and Chelsea have been active in the child and youth development field since 1989. They currently live in the small mountain community called Cedar Grove, New Mexico with their two wonderful daughters. Mike and Chelsea met while working at a YMCA that ran a summer day camp and school-age child care program. They successfully managed a number of camps and afterschool programs, and Chelsea directed a corporate child care center for a number of years. Mike and Chelsea founded and direct a non-profit organization that provides youth development programs as well as staff training, and consulting. Mike taught courses in brain-based teaching, and middle childhood development for Concordia University. Mike is a former President of the NM School-Age Care Alliance and the NM Association for the Education of Young Children. Chelsea teaches courses in leadership, child care management, early childhood guidance, and teaching strategies at the Central New Mexico college. They are authors of Best Practices: Guidelines for School-Age Programs, and Leading to Learn: Learning to Lead – Organizational Leadership for the Child Care and Youth Development Director. They frequently teach workshops, seminars, and keynotes. They have presented at many national conferences. They have trained staff from all 50 states of the USA, as well as, Canada, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Puerto Rico, and Japan.
Education Program Director, The Niroga Institute, Oakland, CA
Coleen Armstrong-Yamamura is the Education Program Director at The Niroga Institute. A passion for social justice and equity motivated Coleen to become an educator. She joined Teach for America as a 2008 corps member in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her years as a Middle School English teacher in New Orleans and South Los Angeles taught her about the realities of chronic stress and trauma in the lives of so many American youths and the educators that serve them. Coleen left the classroom with the goal of broadening her impact in the education movement by sharing the evidence based and healing practices of Dynamic Mindfulness. She is grateful to be working everyday with educators, students, and families to bring greater sustainability, resilience, and joy to their schools and communities.
Specialist, ASAPconnect, San Jose, CA
Julie Bennett is a Specialist with After School Assistance Providers Connect (ASAPconnect), a statewide technical assistance organization based out of the Santa Clara County Office of Education that works to support the building of comprehensive, coordinated and exemplary technical assistance to support the diverse needs of CA expanded learning programs. Prior to working for ASAPconnect, Julie worked 10 years for San Jose Unified School District, a 40 school K-12 district, where she was instrumental in building three district-wide initiative: Tobacco Use Prevention and Education (TUPE), Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS), and After School Education and Safety (ASES). Julie has deep knowledge of PBIS and helped pilot then scale PBIS in her district, first with 5 middle schools and later with over 25 K-12 schools. Over 5 years, Julie trained and coached district-based teams on how to implement PBIS, and also trained others to become PBIS coaches and trainers. She also coordinated her district’s ASES grant consisting of 16 K-8 schools, and regularly trained and coached after school staff on how to integrate behavioral systems to improve the culture and climate of their programs. Most recently, Julie developed a three-part training called PBIS in Expanded Learning, and piloted it to 3 agency-based and 2 district-based teams in the fall of 2015.
CEO, OrganikSEO.com, Solana Beach, CA
Julien Brandt is the founder and CEO of a digital marketing agency called OrganikSEO.com. Julien and his team of digital marketing specialists focus on helping purpose driven brands, nonprofits and educational institutions harness the power of SEO, SEM, Social Media and Content Marketing to drive awareness and increase online exposure. Organik SEO is a certified Benefit Corporation and they were just ranked #51 on the list of San Diego's 150 fastest growing companies for 2016!
Julien sits on multiple nonprofit boards and mentors SDSU students at the Lavin Entrepreneur Center. He also speaks regularly at other local universities and organizations on the topic of digital marketing and Entrepreneurship.
School Climate Specialist and Teaching and Learning Consultant, Erin Browder, LLC, Redondo Beach, CA
Erin Browder is a Teaching and Learning Consultant. She specializes in school transformation, school emotional climate, and capacity building. Prior to becoming an independent consultant, she worked with Los Angeles Education Partnership (LAEP) as a Transformation Facilitator with the Transform Schools Department. She has provided site-based support for school improvement efforts in comprehensive Los Angeles high schools since 2011. As a Project Director, she continues this work from our home office working with LAEP partner K-12 schools. 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 a M.S. in Education from Hunter College, City University of New York and a M.A. in Education Administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills. She is currently studying Entrepreneurial Leadership in Educational Organizations at at Johns Hopkins University, in the Ed.D. Program.
Director of Physical Education and Sports Programs, Speed Stacks, Inc., Englewood, CO
Matt Burk has always had a passion for sports and education. Before starting his career with Speed Stacks, Inc. Matt was the Midwest Regional Territory Representative for TaylorMade Golf. Matt shared his golfing expertise with avid golfers but more importantly with youth. Matt was an advocate in the growth of First Tee across the mid-west. He spent a vast majority of his time offering golf instructions to youth programs. Matt moved to Colorado where he coached multiple sports from football, boys lacrosse, wrestling and strength and conditioning at the middle and high school levels. From coaching, Matt saw an opportunity to continue his passion for sports and developing youth through Sport Stacking with Speed Stacks. Matt now travels around the country presenting at Shape/AHPERD conferences as well as schools and summer programs. Matt has presented at over 200 schools and conferences throughout the country sharing his excitement and knowledge of Sport Stacking to educators and decision makers. Come meet Matt at the Speed Stacks booth or attend the Essentials of Sport Stacking with Speed Stacks where Matt will be presenting.
President CampbellJones & Associates, Elliott City, MD
Brenda CampbellJones,Ph.D, is president of CampbellJones & Associates. Dr. CampbellJones provides professional learning and technical assistance to school districts throughout the United States and Canada. She has served as a teacher, an elementary principal and an award winning middle school principal, an area superintendent, and college professor. Through the lens of Cultural Proficiency, she coaches and facilitates the change process in school districts that are making systemic changes for academic and social achievement. She is the co-author of Journey of Spirit Walk of Faith: Our Relationship with God and one of Corwin’s bestselling books, The Cultural Proficiency Journey: Moving Beyond Ethical Barriers Toward Profound School Change.
Director of Evaluation, LA’s Best, Los Angeles, CA
Regino Chávez, Director of Evaluation for LA’s BEST, received his B.A. degree in sociology from Pitzer College and his M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley. He has over 30 years of experience in educational research and has extensive experience in evaluating educational programs in the U.S. as well as internationally. He has worked in the areas of improving the quality of education at various levels including preschool, elementary school and high school.
Chief inStrategist, Think inStrategy, Vista, CA
Rebecca Culjat is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 15 years of clinical, administrative and executive leadership experience. Rebecca has spent most of her career working in not-for profit organizations and community-based mental health programs and has extensive experience providing both clinical and administrative supervision to staff of all levels. Rebecca also has extensive experience teaching and training on a variety of clinical topics as well as management and leadership training. Rebecca currently provides leadership training and development to CEO's and organizations from all industries as the Chief inStrategist with Think inStrategy. Rebecca is also a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) and has taught Motivational Interviewing at the undergraduate and graduate level for San Diego State University's School of Social Work and Cal State San Marcos' Social Work program.
Executive Director, San Francisco Human Rights Commission, San Francisco, CA
Sheryl Davis has been in the education field for over twenty years, serving as an educator, program director, executive director and now is the director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. Over the last decade Sheryl has created and developed programs that serve community based programs in the Western Addition. Sheryl is the founding director of Mo’ MAGIC – a collaborative of service providers and coordinates quality opportunities for thousands of youth each summer. Sheryl earned her undergraduate degree from San Francisco State University and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco.
Efrain De La Peza
Senior Training Manager, Up2Us Sports, Los Angeles, CA
Dre is a Los Angeles native who has spent the last seven years serving communities around the city and nation-wide. He trains coaches and organizations on trauma sensitive practices, relationship building, building position culture, and other sports-based youth development foundations. Previously, Dre worked as a Program Manager with City Year LA supporting a team of AmeriCorps members through a year of service at Samuel Gompers Middle School in South LA.
Program Specialist II, San Diego County Office of Education, San Diego, CA
Gabriela has served in education for over 16 years as a member of the San Diego County Office of Education. She provides direct service to youth by delivering support groups, guidance lessons, and empowerment conferences. Gabriela provides professional development training to school counselors, community-based partners, probation and law enforcement. She has a Master of Arts Education/School Counseling with a PPS Credential from Point Loma Nazarene University and a Master in Public Administration from San Diego State University. Gabriela is also an Adjunct Instructor for Azusa Pacific University's Department of School Counseling and Psychology.
Director, Welcoming Schools, Welcoming Schools/Human Rights Campaign, Washington, DC
Johanna, M.Ed, is the Director of Welcoming Schools, the premiere resource for elementary school educators to create respectful, safe, and supportive schools. Johanna leads the Welcoming Schools program with over 20 years of experience addressing equity topics in E/K-12 education as a teacher, administrator and consultant. Johanna is currently responsible for all program development and oversight of the Welcoming Schools program and specializes in providing national leadership and expertise in providing resources and professional development to elementary schools to embrace family diversity, create LGBTQ-inclusive schools, prevent bias-based bullying, create gender-expansive schools, and support transgender and non-binary students.
Ph.D Student at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Earl Edwards is a Ph.D. student at the University of California Los Angeles Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. He completed his Masters degree in public school leadership from Columbia University and received his B.A. in sociology from Boston College. Currently, Earl is a graduate researcher for UCLA’s Black Male Institute and works with Drs. Tyrone Howard and Pedro Noguera conducting research on improving the educational experiences and life chances of Black and Latino males. Earl has over ten years of professional experience in youth development and curriculum design. As a school administrator and teacher, he has designed and facilitated district-wide professional development modules covering data analysis, formative assessments, and effective teaching strategies for students with learning disabilities. Earl has also co-authored graduate course curricula focusing on educational leadership development in urban public schools for Columbia University, Teachers College. In addition to his expertise in curriculum development, he founded and contributed to several youth development programs that support Black and Latino males across the country.
Dr. Matthew Farber
Teacher, Valleyview Middle School, Branchburg, NJ
Matthew Farber, Ed.D. is a social studies teacher at Valleyview Middle School in Denville, New Jersey. He is also an adjunct instructor, an Edutopia blogger, and cohost on Ed Got Game on the BAM Radio Network. Dr. Farber was a recipient of a Woodrow Wilson HistoryQuest Fellowship, and is a Certified BrainPOP Educator and a PBS Local Digital Innovator. He is the author of the book "Gamify Your Classroom: A Field Guide to Game Based Learning."
Senior Director, Programs, Tiger Woods Foundation, Anaheim, CA
Cristina Fernández is the Senior Director of Programs for the Tiger Woods Foundation. Based within the flagship TGR Learning Lab in Anaheim, California, her responsibilities include overseeing the staff, programs and operations of the Earl Woods Scholar Program. Through her leadership, EWSP has produced 149 college scholars, 97% of which are first-generation college students, and boasts a 98% graduation rate. Fernández, who has been with TWF for over ten years and with the Tiger Woods Learning Center since its inception, shares the foundation’s vision of helping students in need thrive in school, their communities and the working world.
Partner, FowlerHoffman, Richmond, CA
Steve Fowler, Partner, applies his adroit political organizing skills and public policy experience to the entire firm’s client work. Elected to the Nebraska State Legislature at age 22, Mr. Fowler served 11 years as a state senator. During his term, he held posts as Chairman of the Rules Committee and Chairman of the Urban Affairs Committee. He also served six years on the Appropriations Committee and three years on the Public Health and Welfare Committee. Mr. Fowler left the legislature to serve as Governor Bob Kerrey's Director of Policy and Planning. In this post, Mr. Fowler served as both policy advisor and political advisor to the governor, charting directions for the new administration.
Upon moving to California in 1985, Mr. Fowler applied his outreach and communication skills to statewide organizing. Joining the staff of Campaign California, he was directly involved in the strategic planning and execution of campaigns for three major initiatives in the state, including the Tobacco Tax initiative.
In his work at FowlerHoffman, Mr. Fowler has designed opinion leader communication programs for The California Wellness Foundation, the National Cable Television Association, the Pew Global Stewardship Initiative, and The Nature Conservancy of California. He has directed public education and outreach campaigns on violence prevention, children's safety and child abuse, long-term care, forest conservation, biodiversity, and urban redevelopment. Currently, Mr. Fowler is consulting on initiatives to expand learning opportunities for young people and serves as an advisor to SRI International’s project on the role of social networks in disseminating science content in California’s afterschool system.
Director, Expanded Learning Division, CA Dept of Education, Sacramento, CA
Michael Funk was appointed Director of the Expanded Learning Division for the California Department of Education in January 2012. 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 earned his teaching credential and then became an ordained minister working to create social justice ministries to serve urban and immigrant communities.
Consultant, Gering Consulting LLC, Kansas City, MO
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.
Associate, Afterschool Alliance, Washington, DC
Dan works to advance the Afterschool Alliance’s outreach and messaging efforts. He coordinates the Alliance’s activities and collaborative efforts and advocacy campaigns with partner organizations. He also plans and implements projects including performing research and writing and disseminating reports for stakeholders at the national, state, and local level. Dan has experience working 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 Degree in Public Administration from the George Washington University and a Bachelor’s degree in political science from Northeastern University in Boston.
Mary Jo Ginty, Expanded Learning Regional Lead: Region 11 Lead
Los Angeles County Office of Education, Los Angeles, CA
Mary Jo Ginty has been involved in the Expanded Learning field for over 25 years. She has been a practitioner, manager, executive and TA provider. Her framework is based on over 40 years experience in the private, non-profit and educational worlds.
Educational Technology Author and Consultant, Los Angeles, CA
Sam Gliksman is an educational technology author, speaker and consultant. Sam has keynoted conferences across the world and speaks about technology’s potential to engage students and spark educational reform. Sam has consulted for small schools, districts and has even been called upon to advise governments on the use of mobile technology in education. He conducts workshops for schools and colleges and is the author of several popular books including “iPad in Education for Dummies”, “Creating Media for Learning” and “40 Simple Ways to Inspire Learning with Mobile Devices”.
Director of Design Thinking, Amplifier Foundation, Seattle, WA
Mark Gonzales is a father and futurist. His expertise is informed from fifteen years of global experience that span 16 countries including: speaking on 4 TEDx stages, space making an 8000 square foot center in northern Africa, design thinking for the United Nations, and collaborating on the most successfully funded art campaign in Kickstarter history. He simultaneously serves as Director of Design Thinking for the Amplifier Foundation, and a consulting professor with Stanford University.
Mike de la Rocha is the Founder and CEO of Revolve Impact, (a global social impact firm that combines organizing and the arts) with an impact portfolio that spans 20 years. Highlights include founding Artists for 47, a coalition assembled to pass California’s historic Prop. 47 (impacted more than 1 million Californians and led to the largest record change effort in U.S. history), launching the Justice Policy Network (the country’s first fellowship focused on increasing the number of leaders in the government sector advancing a new justice agenda), and co-managing John Legend’s #FREEAMERICA campaign. He was selected as one of GOOD Magazine’s top 100 people changing the world, Stanford Social Innovation Review’s top innovators in America, as well as receipient of the AFL-CIO's Justice, Peace, and Freedom award.
Dr. Gale Gorke
Executive Director, Kids Kan Inc., Calimesa, CA
Gale has been a public school educator nearly 35 years, teaching at both the elementary and secondary levels. She currently is the Executive Director of Kids Kan Inc., an organization that specializes in staff development, activity selection and program implementation. Gale has served as an adjunct professor for several universities. Her Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction focused on academic intervention in after school programs and her Ed.S. is in School Psychology. She effectively models teaching that accommodates for all student’s ability levels and reflects a keen awareness of adolescent development and brain-based learning principles. Her enthusiasm is contagious! Gale believes the best way to learn is through play and the way you show up for the game is the way you show up for life.
Executive Director, Afterschool Alliance, Washington, DC
Since 2005, Jodi Grant has been Executive Director of the Afterschool Alliance, where she oversees all aspects of the Afterschool Alliance’s work – setting its goals and strategies for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, working with the field to help programs tap into federal funding streams, and supervising research to help national, state, and local afterschool advocates and providers support, create and expand quality afterschool programs. Prior to joining the Afterschool Alliance, Grant served as Director of Work and Family Programs for the National Partnership for Women & Families. In that position, she worked to protect and expand the Family & Medical Leave Act and was a member of the team that successfully defended the law before the U.S. Supreme Court. Prior to that, she worked on Capitol Hill as General Counsel to the Senate Budget Committee and as Staff Director for a Senate Committee. Her legislative accomplishments include expanded support for the child tax credit, the Child Health Insurance Program, and class size reduction. She also served as liaison to the National Governors’ Association, where she worked closely with Republican and Democratic governors.
Dr. Aisha Griffith
Researcher, University of Virginia’s Youth-Nex Center to Promote Effective Youth Development and the Department of
Psychology, Charlottesville, VA
Dr. Aisha Griffith is a researcher at the University of Virginia’s Youth-Nex Center to Promote Effective Youth Development and the Department of Psychology. After teaching middle-school for a number of years, Griffith became interested in better understanding how out-of-school time programs serve as critical contexts for youth development. She earned her Ph.D. in Human and Community Development from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2014. Her research focuses on interactions and relationships between youth and non-parental adults across learning contexts, with a particular focus on trust. She is especially committed to connecting research and practice around positive youth development. Thus, she has discussed her research at the Statewide Illinois 4-H Annual Staff Meeting, led a developmental evaluation on behalf of an intermediary organization coordinating after-school services for middle-schoolers, and serves on a technical working group for the Department of Education’s 21st CCLC Summer Learning Project.
Principle, Restorative Justice League and Educational Consulting, San Francisco, CA
Andre developed a curriculum that includes the restorative justice process and implemented a youth driven prevention, leadership and intervention peer advocacy model. The pilot led to the creation of the Restorative Justice League. Restorative Justice League and Educational Consulting is developed to train trainers, train facilitator and youth to implement best practices that can be utilized in schools, charters, colleges, non-profits, and criminal justice system, churches and community agencies.
Daniel W. Hatcher
Director of Community Partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Washington DC
Daniel oversees community-based and out-of-school partnerships at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. 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 healthiergeneration.org/hostblog and is a BOOST Breakfast Club Blogger boostcollaborative.org/breakfastclub
Rockwell “Rocky” Herron
Special Agent, DEA, San Diego, CA
Rockwell is a 26-year special agent with DEA and currently stationed in San Diego, CA. He is assigned to investigate criminal prescribing and illegal distribution of pharmaceutical drugs. He spent 6.5 years living and working in Santa Cruz, Bolivia with DEA. He has the collateral duty of speaking in schools representing the DEA’s effort to educate youth about their personal consequences for drug abuse, as well as the broader societal consequences. He has spoken to over 44,000 young people in the US, El Salvador and Colombia.
Tim Hodges, PhD
Director of Research, Gallup Education, Allston, MA
Tim Hodges, PhD, is Director of Research for Gallup’s Education Division. He consults with K-12 school districts and higher education institutions and leads research projects in strengths development, employee selection, employee engagement, parent engagement, and well-being. Dr. Hodges has written journal articles and research reports and is a frequent conference keynote speaker. He is focused on helping transform schools into great places to work and learn. Among his volunteer activities, Dr. Hodges is a public board member for the Center to Advance CTE, a nonprofit organization providing oversight and direction for the implementation of Career and Technical Education across the United States.
Community Development and Network Strategy Manager, The Connectory and National Girls Collaborative, Seattle, WA
As Community Development and Network Strategy Manager for The Connectory and 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 as related to The Connectory, and facilitating strategic planning, implementation, and social media surrounding the NGC Leadership growth and sustainability, Erin reinforces the forward momentum of NGC and The Connectory. With the goal of increasing diversity in tomorrow’s STEM professionals, Erin's role culminates eight years of working on community and human development issues. Erin holds a Masters from New York University and is a former Peace Corps Volunteer.
Dream Initiative Manager, California Teaching Fellows Foundation, Fresno, CA
Pamela Hutton, M.A., CBBSC, is the Dream Initiative Manager and a Dream Coach for California Teaching Fellows Foundation. Pam is also an adjunct faculty member in the Business Education Division at Fresno City College and former adjunct faculty for California State University, Fresno. She has a passion for developing college students and has been a sports coach, fitness coach, and academic coach in her lifetime. Pam has also been a consultant for more than 35 companies across 10 industries. She is certified in Brain-Based Success Coaching with The Academies and International Coaching Federation.
Program Specialist, Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, Loma Linda, CA
Professionally, for the last 3 years, Andre has been 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 in a variety of positions, from supervising sites for before and after school child care to working with SED adolescents in a group home setting. Educationally, 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.
Founder, Chief Transformation Officer, Nourished Life Design, Manalapan, NJ
Mr. Jordan established The Goodworx Foundation in 2005, a non-profit organization that provided mentoring & educational services to children & young adults. His non-profit organization focused on life-skills & mentoring and developed specific programming focused on nutrition and healthy lifestyles for children and their families.
In 2011, Mr. Jordan became a certified health & nutrition counselor. He founded Nourished Life Design, a holistic health, wellness, & life-coaching company with a concentration on the development and balance of the Mind, Body, & Spirit. His online training program, The Mind, Body, Spirit Transformation MasterClass was launched in 2015 and his Podcast "A Nourished Life: Transformational tales from across the world" will launch later this year.
Jeffrey is a National speaker with a unique platform inspiring educators and youth program staff to look at a holistic approach to youth development. His mission is to inspire an awareness of the Mind, Body, & Spirit balance to student, as well as staff, programming.
Dr. Donald Lancia
Founder and Coordinator, ACES After School Program, Mission Bay High School, San Diego, CA
Dr. Ronald Lancia was the 2015 San Diego Unified School District high school teacher of the year. His work with young people began in Colorado developing a summer youth-led program that focused on storytelling in an urban community, and has included travels to New Zealand to study Maor’i classrooms, and throughout California to examine the factors impacting the educational outcomes of African American males in an academic support setting. Bringing almost twenty years of experience as a teacher, Dr. Lancia currently serves as Mission Bay High School’s language arts department chair and coordinator for the ACES/ASAP after school programs.
Dr. Jenel Lao
Director of Undergraduate Programs, UCI School of Education, Irvine, CA
Dr. Lao has been an advocate for quality teaching both inside and outside the school day for over 25 years. She was the first director of one of the state’s largest district programs, Santa Ana Unified. Later, she was the Executive Director of Research and Evaluation for the state’s largest provider, THINK Together. Dr. Lao has extensive experiences in strategic planning, grant writing, and evaluation related to ground-up implementation, scale-up, and continuous program improvement planning. Dr. Lao has had the honor of serving on several state-wide afterschool committees and now directs the Undergraduate Programs at the School of Education at UC Irvine while also co-directing and teaching in the Certificate in Afterschool & Summer Education (CASE) program.
Principle, Edge Research, San Francisco, CA
Pam provides trusted counsel and custom marketing research for clients big and small. As a Principal at Edge, she works regularly with marquee brands to design studies and provide insights that drive their business – K¹² Inc., Kaiser Permanente, National 4-H Council, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, U.S. Travel Association, the USO, and The Washington Post, to name a few. Pam also manages the firm’s Education and Health & Wellness practices.
Senior Program Manager, Global Learning Beyond School, Asia Society, New York, NY
Heather began her career as an English teacher at a New York City high school where she implemented interdisciplinary curricula utilizing a workshop format for developing students’ literacy skills. Then she managed several out-of-school time programs before overseeing capacity building projects and coaching educators in topics such as conflict resolution, lesson
planning, SEL, behavior management, among others. Heather taught an undergraduate course called Perspectives on Childhood for the Children’s Studies department at Brooklyn College. She joined Asia Society in 2012. Heather earned a BA in theater from UC San Diego and a MA in education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Informal Education Specialist, NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA
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 and real-world STEM activities into afterschool. She firmly believes in the power of personal discovery in afterschool – Leslie oversees a NASA afterschool time curriculum project, and provides STEM professional development for OST leaders to build their interest and capacity for bringing NASA STEM to their programs.
Implementation & Product Specialist, Eleyo, St. Paul Park, MN
Robin Mattaini has been working with school district programs around the country for more than five years. From setting up registration to evaluating and reporting, Robin is proficient in the steps involved in ensuring programs are meeting the needs of the communities by which they are surrounded.
Executive Director, Every Monday Matters, Burbank, CA
I matter because I am dedicated to raising three amazing global citizens. I try to inspire others to discover their talents and to freely share these talents with others.
Executive Director, CALEAD, The California Leadership Initiative, San Francisco, CA
Ryan McCarthy is an experienced and dedicated educator who has trained thousands of teachers and youth workers in the best practices of Social-Emotional and STEAM education across locations as diverse as Houston, New York, San Francisco, Palestine, and Beijing. Ryan is passionate about the transformational power that employing Youth Development and Restorative Justice principles and frameworks can have on our classrooms and communities, and strongly believes that all educators deserve access to the highest caliber of professional development and support, regardless of location, background, or resources.
Group Trainer/Performance, Dale Carnegie San Diego, Carlsbad, CA
Aaren McKinney is a San Diego native, a graduate of Vanguard University and will soon hold a master’s degree in organizational psychology.
Aaren has 15 years’ involvement in the social services arena. Through her diverse experience, she has managed care home facilities, taught core subjects for the court and community schools, and was an assessment counselor for the California Welfare System.
While working at a large church in San Diego Aaren was able to narrow her interests, specializing in leadership training, boundaries workshops, and conflict resolution.
As a member of the team at Dale Carnegie of San Diego Aaren is able to fulfill her passion of not just working with people, but spurring individuals on to their full potential in business and personal life.
As a true extrovert Aaren finds joy and energy spending her free time with close friends and family, preferably over a good meal or at the beach.
Field Support Specialist, Sanford Harmony (SEL) at National University, La Jolla, CA
Annie Middlemist is Field Support Specialist and trainer for the Sanford Harmony SEL Program at National University. Annie has been a teacher for over 15 years, as well as having ran the before and after school program for toddlers through 8th grade. She has experience working with children of all ages and from diverse backgrounds having worked in public, charter and Montessori schools throughout her career. Annie currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, 2 teenage boys, and 3 dogs.
Astrophysics Education Specialist, CRESST/USRA & NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD
Since 2003, Sara Mitchell has supported a variety of formal education, informal education, and communication programs in NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Astrophysics Science Division. She has focused on creating innovative standards-aligned resources for educators and providing high-quality STEM experiences for out-of-school time audiences - especially girls and families. Ms. Mitchell has presented educator professional development workshops at conferences around the country, and has been recognized nationally for her contributions to education and communication at NASA.
Owner, Cyber Education Consulting, Oceanside, CA
Jon Moffat has been working with youth for the past 17 years. He started educating youth and parents about Internet dangers 9 years ago. Jon started his own consulting business creating custom Cyber Safety presentations three years ago. He enjoys traveling the country talking to parents and kids about technology, and helping bridge the digital knowledge gap.
Media Educator, Outside the Lens, San Diego, CA
Hilary Morefield is a photographer, filmmaker, and Media Educator with San Diego based digital media nonprofit Outside the Lens. Hilary graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a dual degree in Visual Arts-Media and Communication. She is passionate about the power of arts in education and currently serves as OTL’s resident arts integration specialist, bringing together science, ELA, and photography to create innovative strategies for learning in the classroom.
Professor, California State University San Marcos, Oceanside, CA
Rita Naranjo has dedicated her life to giving back to her community. From the time she was a young girl growing up in foster care she experienced years of instability, uncertainty, and profound longing for her family. For many years she struggled while strategically finding ways to survive. Although Rita faced significant challenges she learned crucial life lessons that led her onto paths that allowed her to effectively strive for happiness and well-being. Rita refused to give up or forget where she came from and fought to overcome the obstacles of life with a mission and vision of creating a better life for herself, family, and community. In 2013 Rita earned her Master’s degree in Applied Sociological Practice from California State University, San Marcos. All this learning was done in order strengthen and build her capacity to contribute as an advocate. For over 15 years Rita Naranjo has served as an expert consultant, advisor, curriculum designer, keynote speaker, and trainer with extensive experience in presenting at conferences, leading workshops, participating on panels, and conducting lectures. Rita Naranjo started her own business, Of Many: Creative Life Action Network to serve as a vehicle for her to formally and effectively work within communities. She is a trainer for the Academy for Professional Excellence: Public Child Welfare Training Academy, and also teaches Sociology courses at California State University San Marcos and San Diego City College.
Director of Education and Safety, Outward Bound California, San Francisco, CA
Nettie Pardue is the Director of Education and Safety at Outward Bound California (OBCA). Prior to joining OBCA, she was the Director of Programs for 6 years at Outward Bound Center for Peacebuilding designing experiential programs to build compassionate global leaders. She is an expert in designing and delivering experiential learning processes having worked with Outward Bound, Adventure Associates, The United World College, and Action Learning Associates, as well as hundreds of corporate clients. Much of her focus has been on character building with individuals and teams that are resilient, engaged, creative, cooperative, and compassionate. She has presented several times at the (IAF) International Association for Facilitators conference, (AEE) Association for Experiential Education, several universities around the US, the Association for Dispute Resolution in Northern California, and the Outward Bound International Symposium. Nettie has an MA in Applied Behavioral Science with an emphasis on organizational development from Bastyr University. She is also a somatic leadership coach.
Dr. Michelle Perrenoud
Project Coordinator, Los Angeles County Office of Education, Downey, CA
Dr. Michelle R. Perrenoud is recognized as an educational leader and is particularly renowned for her work in the fields of expanded learning, education and youth development. She has extensive experience with research and program design for older youth programs serving middle and high school students. Michelle is a published author and frequent conference speaker. She serves on various committees focused on statewide leadership and policy development to advance
programmatic and instructional capacity at local levels while further addressing the learning needs of youth and building the leadership capacity of practitioners to deliver quality expanded learning experiences.
Training Manager, Westat, Boerne, TX
Shawn C. Petty joined Westat as the Training and Development Manager to oversee the development of educational training courses, coordinate the efforts of consultants, and to monitor the progress of support to the Texas Education Agency for the Texas ACE / 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program. In addition, he assists the Executive Vice President for
Emerging Practices in monitoring educational trends and highlighting innovative practices that are transforming the industry. He is a White-Riley-Peterson Fellow and a BOOST Breakfast Club Blogger.
Executive Director, the PLUS ME project, Los Angeles, CA
Richard Reyes is the founder/executive director of the PLUS ME project, a youth development non-profit based in Los Angeles that inspires students through sharing personal narratives. He has shared his unique journey to and through college with over 40,000 students throughout Southern California. He received his undergraduate degree from Occidental College and his graduate degree from California State University, Los Angeles.
Executive Director, S.C.R.A.P. Gallery (Student Creative Recycle Art Program), Cathedral City, CA
Karen Riley is the Executive Director and a founder of the S.C.R.A.P. Gallery (Student Creative Recycle Art Program), the environmental arts education program. Since 1997, the S.C.R.A.P. Gallery has been addressing two of today’s most urgent issues – the environment and the education of youth throughout the Coachella Valley and beyond. Riley supports a variety of art and environmental endeavors throughout Southern California. Riley received her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from California State University Long Beach and her Master’s Degree in Environmental Education from Fairfax University. She is also the author of Landfill Lunch Box, Argollas Plasitcas y OtrasCosas/Plastic Rings and Other Things, Don’t Trash My Planet, The Eco Deck and Recycle Road Trip.
Director of Capacity Building Programs, California School-Age Consortium, Berkeley, CA
Aleah Rosario joined the CalSAC team in 2013. Before this, she worked with the Riverbank Unified School District's afterschool programs in the rural, Central Valley community where she grew up. During this time, Aleah attended CalSAC’S CA Afterschool & Summer Challenge and experienced two important values brought to life: giving voice to the things you care about; and valuing afterschool as a critical social service for families and communities. Immediately drawn to CalSAC after this experience, Aleah jumped at every opportunity to be involved, becoming an endorsed trainer and project leader, chapter leader and fellow of CalSAC's 2012 inaugural cohort of the Leadership Development Institute for Emerging Leaders of Color.
Aleah received her undergraduate degree in Political Science from CSU Stanislaus. In 2014, she was recognized by the National Afterschool Association as Afterschool’s Next Generation of emerging professionals. Aleah serves on the Communications and K-12 Integration Leadership Team of the California Expanded Learning Division and is a founding member of Sisters Inspiring Change, a group formed in 2015 that aims to increase opportunities in the expanded learning field for women and girls of color to realize their full potential.
Aleah is honored to now work on behalf of the organization that so significantly invested in and influenced her own development. As she continues to pursue a more equitable world, she is motivated by writers like Junot Diaz, the music of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and dancers like Misty Copeland. Early memories of walking the precincts, organizing neighborhood events and boycotting grapes has imparted in Aleah a deep responsibility to honor her family’s legacy of service, community, and justice.
Julia Rugg, Chief Strategy Officer, WINGS for kids, Charleston, SC
Julia is the Chief Strategy Officer at WINGS for kids, a nonprofit organization focused on developing social and emotional learning (SEL) skills in at-risk elementary school age youth during the after school hours. She has launched WINGS’ expansion efforts across the southeast, ensured the WINGS model has been replicated with fidelity and quality through internal and external evaluations, evaluates future growth opportunities, develops partner relationships, and leads efforts to drive the SEL field forward. She has been a presenter at the National Afterschool Association Convention SEL Convening, Wyoming Afterschool Alliance Conference, Effective Learners Convening (hosted by Bridgespan, CASEL, and Character Lab), and contributed to SEL conversations locally in Charleston, SC. She is a National Afterschool Matters Fellow with NIOST at the Wellesley Centers for Women. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and a J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law.
Director of Operations and Expanded Learning, Washington Alliance for Better Schools, Shoreline, WA
Cindy Sackett is the Director of Operations & Expanded Learning for Washington Alliance for Better Schools. She has made many contributions to the expanded learning field. She organizes diverse partners to advance after school curricula, address unique rural program needs, and effective supports for struggling students. She brings a great understanding of the expanded learning landscape. Cindy works on programming that operates outside the school day allowing her to create a community based environment for students and partners to create life long learners.
Outreach Project Manager, WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston, MA
Saranya Sathananthan is the Outreach Project Manger for Design Squad Global (DSG) at WGBH Educational Foundation. She manages the program’s outreach to national and international educational partners and supports Design Squad Global clubs in the US by facilitating their matching and collaboration with international clubs. She also provides expertise in design engineering content and leads trainings for formal and informal educators at workshops and conferences. She holds a BS degree in Materials Science and Engineering and received her Master’s in Bioengineering from Georgia Tech. Prior to her work at WGBH, she served in the Peace Corps and taught Computer Technology at an Industrial Professional school in Northern Mozambique.
Director of Staff Development, The Leadership Program, New York, NY
Greg has been with The Leadership Program for over 14 years. Greg’s focus lies in the leadership development of staff both inside and outside the company, the design and development of programs, and client consultation. Greg has presented internationally on topics such as leadership development, staff motivation, effective facilitation, bullying prevention, male and female empowerment, and embracing difference; he has also delivered keynote presentations on, “Leading By Example”, “Finding the Leader Within” and "Leadership and Legacy". Prior to and coinciding with his work at Leadership, Greg has worked as a professional actor in many different capacities, with experience in film, television, theatre and commercials. Greg holds a Masters in Educational Theatre from New York University, which has provided an effective and engaging foundation in using theatre as a window in to leadership development. Greg lives in Manhattan with his wife, Stacie, and their two daughters, Vivian and Willa.
Clinician, Sandy Spin Slade, Inc., Corona, CA
Putting her own spin on bringing a unique perspective on sport and physical activity has been Sandy Spin Slade’s mission since the age of 12. As the creator of SKILLASTICS®, Sandy developed herself into a basketball-spinning Phenom during her early teenage years that eventually grew to performing arena-rousing NBA halftime shows for more than 20 years. Her skills have been featured on a GameBoy National TV Commercial, as a double for Halle Berry in the movie CatWoman, and was the subject of a documentary entitled; Sandy Spin Slade: Beyond Basketball. However, Sandy Spin Slade’s performing and entertaining years were only the foundation for her quest to make a difference.
Sandy is also a sought-after speaker and presenter at Physical Education and Afterschool conferences nationwide. She has presented at more than 500 state, regional, and national conferences. Her commitment and enthusiasm for developing activities that are appropriate for all ages and abilities is truly inspiring.
In January 2017, Sandy’s alma mater, Solon Springs High School in northern Wisconsin, named its gymnasium “The Sandy Spin Slade Gymnasium” in her honor.
Researcher, American Institutes for Research, Chicago, IL
Samantha Sniegowski is a researcher working on afterschool and expanded learning initiatives with the Social and Emotional Learning and School Climate practice area at American Institutes for Research (AIR). She is responsible for coordinating and monitoring data collection activities, conducting data analyses, writing reports, and project coordination. Her specific skill set includes project management, data collection coordination, data file management, data analysis, and technical assistance around data-driven planning and improvement. She received her Master or Social Work from the University of Michigan.
Director & Film Maker, Sundawg Media, Phoenix, AZ;
Matty Steinkamp is an independent film maker from Phoenix, AZ. His passion centers around positive change documentaries and multi media projects. He finished his first film in 2016 called Play The Documentary. He is currently working on two short films both hoping to release in the next year. Matty has worked with companies such as The NFL, Major League Baseball, ESPN, The X Games, Disney, Farm Box Direct, SXSW, Scottsdale Culinary Festival, McDowell Mountain Music Festival, Apache Lake Music Festival, Kwss Radio station, TMI Radio show, Strawberry Hedgehog, Haus Panther, All Girls Garage, Velocity TV, Hubmedia Company, Fidelity National Title Agency, Remax Real Estate, CCIM, Keller Williams, and many more throughout the years. He loves making films and telling the true side of amazing people and the lives they lead.
Tiveeda Stovall, Community Connector, Bayha Group, San Diego, CA
Tiveeda is currently a national educational consultant. Tiveeda conducts workshops and facilitates groups around youth community engagement, service-learning, diversity and inclusion in education, youth participatory action research, social justice curriculum, STEAM initiatives, and non-profit development. In 2016, as a co-author published an article on "Service-Learning and The Future of America and Education." Ms. Stovall received her Master’s in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley and taught as an adjunct professor in Sociology and Psychology. She is currently a student at Johns Hopkins University in the Doctorate in Education program.
Humanities Teacher, High Tech High, San Diego, CA
Mike is a student and a teacher. He is committed to a life abundant with wonder, awe and relentless “finding out”. He has spent his career drawing inspiration and initiative from the work that young people have done through hands-on projects, integrating sciences and the humanities. Through his 13 years in education, Mike has urged himself and his students to pursue excellence using tools like creativity, critical thinking, empathy and passion to explore the physical and metaphysical world around them. He believes that doing authentic work, filled with opportunity for adventure, ignites relentless learners.
Mike has been a humanities teacher at High Tech High for thirteen years. He has a B.A. in Literature and a minor in Music from Point Loma Nazarene University and a M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership from the High Tech High Graduate School of Education. He is mentor and workshop leader in the HTHGSE Education Leadership Academy and a coach in the Stanford d.school School Retool program.
Outside of his work in education, Mike is an avid fisherman, musician and father to his daughter, Poema, and son, Canon. On weekends he can be found singing songs around San Diego and in the summer he “gets lost” fly-fishing in the Sierras. He believes this beautiful blue dot deserves our best work, that the natural world is a profound storyteller and that it is our job to encourage each other to listen and respond.
Co-Producer & Co-Executive Producer, Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital World, San Francisco, CA
Lisa Tabb is a story producer and mother of two teenagers. For 15 years she produced news at ABC 7 News in San Francisco, with a focus on trends around parenting and raising kids. Prior to television, Lisa started the first ecotravel magazine in the U.S, EcoTraveler. She went on to have a long career in running ecotravel publishing. She is the co-author of Beyond Vegas in which she writes about marrying her husband in 10 countries. Lisa has worked with schools on fundraising and education initiatives in Northern California where she lives.
Co-Owner, Coast 2 Coast Coaching, Laguna Niguel, CA
Nick Telford is the co-founder and owner of Coast 2 Coast Coaching. Nick has a Bachelor's degree in Sports Science and Health and is a qualified PE and Science teacher.
Associate Professor, Fresno State University, Clovis, CA
Greg Thatcher, M.S.P.H., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health at Fresno State University. He is also the Executive Director of the Youth Board Gaming League, a non-profit organization whose mission is to develop critical thinking and communication skills in people of all ages. His main interest is in healthy risk-taking behavior change programming, particularly with under-served populations.
Shawnee Thornton Hardy
Educational/Behavioral Consultant & Yoga Therapist, Asanas for Autism and Special Needs, San Diego, CA
Shawnee is an Educational/Behavior Consultant, 500 E-RYT, RCYT (Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher), Yoga Therapist and M.Ed. Shawnee has worked with children with autism and special needs for over 16 years. She has specialized in working with children with significant cognitive and language delays, sensory processing deficits and behavior challenges. Shawnee has presented workshops on Yoga for Educators, Yoga for Children with Autism and Special Needs and Yoga for Teens facing the challenges of mental illness. 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 travels globally to train others in yoga 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.
President and Co-Founder, SPIDERfit Kids, San Diego, CA
Craig Valency, MA, CSCS, president and co-founder of SPIDERfit, has been a personal trainer for 14 years. Currently working at Fitness Quest 10, Craig specializes in youth fitness programs that promote physical literacy, injury prevention and optimal performance. In addition to Craig’s work with elite young athletes, he has done volunteer work implementing the SPIDERfit program of sensory awareness and fundamental movement skills for a low-income school in South San Diego. Craig is a contributing author for the 2017 edition of the Certified Personal Trainer textbook for the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). Along with Brett Klika, Craig is the co-author of Powerful Play – The Ultimate Guide to the Foundation of Youth Fitness and Physical Literacy. Craig also worked at the YMCA for 5 years for the after school and summer camp programs with Kindergarten through 3rd grade. Craig holds a master’s degree in kinesiology from San Diego State University. He is a certified strength & conditioning specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength & Conditioning Association.
Senior Program Manager, U.S. Soccer Foundation, Washington, DC
Michael works at the U.S. Soccer Foundation as Senior Program Manager. Prior to joining the Foundation, Michael worked as Program Manager for United for D.C./D.C. United’s United Soccer Club, an after school program that taught soccer and healthy life styles. Previously, he served as Operations Manager for PeacePlayers International, in Jerusalem, Israel. There, he helped grow a successful program that uses basketball as a tool to unite divided societies. In addition, Michael is the Managing Partner of Global Game Changers, a boutique consulting firm that assists organizations in their pursuit to use sport for good.
Lead Consultant, Transform Educational Consulting, San Diego, CA
Kyle Wagner has been an educator for over 12 years. He is the founder and lead consultant of "Transform Educational Consulting," a consulting group that empowers school leaders to improve instructional practice and student learning through innovative programs and teaming structures. His book, “The Power of Simple” has been used as a guide for school transformation across many schools worldwide. He is also the former program coordinator of Futures Academy at the International School of Beijing; a program that uses interdisciplinary project- based learning to connect students to their passions and the world outside of school. Finally, Kyle is a former educator at High Tech High; the school featured on the hit documentary, “Most Likely to Succeed.” He holds a M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership and resides in San Diego, California where he spends time developing schools of the future and helping other school leaders build theirs.
Director of Engagement & The Prison Project, The Actor’s Gang, Culver City, CA
Sabra Williams has received international acclaim for her work as an actor and founder of The Actors' Gang Prison Project, including being named by President Obama in 2016 as a Champion of Change. After establishing a body of work as an actress and television host in the United Kingdom and internationally, Sabra became an “alien of exceptional ability” upon her arrival to Los Angeles in 2002.
In 2004 Sabra was honored with an invitation to serve as a company member of The Actors' Gang (Tim Robbins, Artistic Director) Based in part on her experience of working in prisons in the United Kingdom with The English Shakespeare Company and The London Shakespeare Workout, Sabra created The Actors' Gang Prison Project and currently serves as the program's Director in addition to serving as the company's Director of Engagement, creating and overseeing prevention programs for at-risk youth and gang members and ensuring an off-ramp from prison with a Reentry program for those coming back to our communities as well as ongoing programs in ten California Prisons and Juvenile Camp.
Sabra has established strategic program partnerships between The Actors' Gang, the US Department of Justice and such organizations as Inner-City Arts, the Anti-Recidivism Coalition and Homeboy Industries. She was invited by The President’s Senior Advisor, Valerie Jarret to co-produce an event at The White House around innovative programming and the Arts in Criminal Justice Reform. Sabra has been a tireless advocate for including the Arts in legislation and has been invited to do two TEDx talks about her work and is in great demand for speaking engagements.
The Prison Project has developed programs in ten California prisons, a highly successful Reentry program and a Juvenile program as well as a program for Officers. The work has been featured by the BBC, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and National Public Radio, as well as many other publications, articles, and radio and television shows nationally and internationally.
Among several awards garnered by the work, The Martin Luther King Westside Coalition gave their Community Light Award and California Lawyers for the Arts gave their Artistic License Award to The Prison Project for the work, and Sabra was honored by radio station KNX as a KNX Hero. In May the Prison Project will receive a, ‘Pursuit of Justice Award’ from the California Women’s Law Center.
‘Working with people who understand the power of the Arts to effect social and inner transformation is crucially important to me’.
Founder & CEO, The Meditation Initiative, San Diego, CA
Jeffrey Zlotnik, Founder and CEO of The Meditation Initiative has worked to bring the mental health benefits of mindfulness and meditation to more than 35,000 people for free since 2003. He began meditating in 1996, while working at a Group Home for Abused Teens and noticed tremendous change in their attitude after meditation. Jeffrey has led free meditation for Homeless Teens, K-12 Public Schools, Juvenile Detention Facilities, Federal and State Prisons, Diabetes Patients, HIV Patients, Seniors Centers, United States Military, Wounded Warriors, UCSD, Thiel Foundation, Wikimedia, Sober Living Homes, Superior Court of CA Judges, Susan G. Komen, Braille Institute, Jewish Family Services, Superior Court of CA Judges, Catholic Charities and Group Homes for Victims of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking.
Jeffrey’s background includes community service work with the homeless and prison re-entry programs with Second Chance as well as helping to develop community partnerships for TKF, an organization dedicated to peace and non-violence for youth impacted by gangs. He has worked with physically, sexually, and emotionally abused adolescents in an effort to share methods for creating inner-peace and harmony. Jeffrey spent seven years as a Consultant working with SAP, Oracle, Siebel and RDR, in addition to coaching youth baseball for 15 years. In 1997, he received his BA in Psychology from the University of Arizona. Jeffrey approaches meditation simply as a daily practice of mindfulness laying the foundation for a happier and healthier life.