PRESENTER PROFILES

Meet the 2018 BOOST Conference Speakers & Presenters

(This page was updated on 12-12-17. Please continue to check back for additional speakers and presenters.) 

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

From 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 such issue areas 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 the 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.

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 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 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.

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 ClassTechTips.com 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 insures 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.

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.

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.

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 in 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.

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!

Jill Gordon
Program Director, Youth Philanthropy Initiative of Indiana, Indianapolis, IN

Jill Gordon serves as the Program Director and primary contact for the Youth Philanthropy Initiative of Indiana (YPII). Locally based in Indianapolis, Indiana and nationally connected, the mission of this unique collaborative is “to grow lifelong philanthropist who share of their time, talent, and treasure for the common good.” Jill oversees YPII's role in providing workshops, resources, technical assistance and best practices to nonprofits and foundations. She brings over 16 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, with a focus on program development, training/evaluation, grant writing, and nonprofit management. Jill is passionate about lifelong learning, community collaboration, and empowering youth to take action and make a difference!
*BOOST Breakfast Club Blogger 

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 

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 healthiergeneration.org/hostblog.
*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.

Dr. Kristy Hilton
Trainer, School Specialty, Sportime featuring SPARK, San Diego, CA

Dr. Kristy Hilton holds a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Physical Education as well as a Doctorate Degree from USC. She has taught public school Physical Education for 28 years, including 15 in High School, 8 in Middle School and 5 in Elementary. Kristy currently teaches at USC. Dr. Hilton has sat on several state Physical Education committees and has presented for National and State Physical Education conferences. Kristy has been an Elite SPARK trainer for the past 21 years. Her passion and joy is sharing her experience and knowledge with fellow educators! Her professional mission is getting kids excited about moving!

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.

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 cart.  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! 

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.

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.

Heather Loewecke
Assistant Director, Global Learning Beyond School, Center for Global Education at 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 received a BA in theater from UC San Diego and a MA in education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

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

Fausto A. López 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. López 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. López 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). López 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, 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. 

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.

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.

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 

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

Jill Young
Senior Director of Research & Evaluation, After School Matters, Chicago, IL

Jill Young has over 10 years of experience in nonprofit research and evaluation. She is currently the Senior Director of Research and Evaluation at After School Matters in Chicago, Illinois, where she leads research and evaluation efforts for 25,000 after-school and summer program opportunities for teens each year. Previous to After School Matters, Ms. Young worked as a statistical analyst at University of Chicago and as a research manager at Northwestern University. She graduated from Drake University with honors, earning her BA in journalism and mass communication. She earned her MA and Ph.D. in research methodology from Loyola University Chicago.

 

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