Bonita Allen is a Parent and Family Engagement consultant with the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Division of Federal Programs and a mentor for emerging parent leaders including the Title I State Parent Advisory Council. She is the past President of the Pennsylvania PTA. Bonita has 25 years of professional family and community engagement experience, presents at conferences statewide and nationally, and delivers site-based training to school districts across the commonwealth. Her training topics include raising our race-consciousness and building equitable school systems by examining race, equity, and privilege utilizing her experience as black female raising children of color and a transgender daughter. Bonita received her B.A. from Harvard University; she has completed the requirements for a Doctorate in Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education except for the dissertation. She currently serves as a board member of the Education Policy and Leadership Center and the Pennsylvania Humanities Council.
David Baird is an advocate for students, parents, and families with experience managing extended learning opportunities and developmental programs for migrant, immigrant, refugee, and English language learners. David is currently the Director of Migrant Education at Millersville University, which serves more than 2,500 eligible students in Lancaster, Lebanon, Berks, Northampton, and Lehigh Counties. David previously served in the same role in central and northeastern Pennsylvania at Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit directing its own migrant program-serving students in 27 counties. David began his career at the Center for Schools and Communities, a division of Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, as Statewide Recruiter Coordinator.
Sneha Barve, J.D., worked in Florida as a Guardian ad Litem, a parents’ attorney, and finally as an education attorney, advocating for children with disabilities in foster care to receive a free and appropriate public education. At the Center on Children and Law, Sneha combines her child welfare knowledge and her passion for education advocacy with her work at the Legal Center for Foster Care and Education. She also works with the Pennsylvania Permanency Barriers Project, assisting child welfare agencies and courts to reduce the amount of time children spend in foster care. Her work at the Center has reinforced her long-held belief that the best way to advocate and support children is by strengthening their families.
Joel Baum, M.S., is the Senior Director for Professional Development at Gender Spectrum. He is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the organization’s education and training efforts. Joel facilitates trainings, develops curriculum, consults with caregivers and professionals, and provides resources in service of a more compassionate understanding of gender and young people. As a founding member and Director of Education for the Child and Adolescent Gender Center at UCSF-Benioff Children’s Hospital, he is frequently called upon to help institutions think more expansively about the gender diversity of all children and teens, and ways to create more gender inclusive conditions accordingly. An educator for more than 30 years, his career has been marked by a commitment to social justice and equity. First as an award-winning middle school science teacher and school leader, he has also served as a school district administrator in Oakland, CA, a school reform coach with the National Equity Project, and a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at California State University, East Bay.
Matthew Butensky, MPA, Youth Development Managing Coordinator at Center for Schools and Communities, is assigned as the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Statewide Foster Care Point of Contact. Matt’s role is to collaborate with school districts to ensure implementation of foster care provisions found under the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015. Prior to joining the Center, Matt worked in grant development and out-of-school time programs. Matt also participated in the Teaching Assistant Program in France where he worked in a Priority Education Zone, providing English language learning opportunities to elementary age students. Matt is a graduate of Susquehanna University and holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Shippensburg University. He is currently seeking a Trauma Skilled Specialist certification with the National Dropout Prevention Center.
Storm Y. Camara
Storm Y. Camara, M.Ed., M.S. is the state coordinator for Homeless Education at the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Prior to this position, he was a school principal for three years, ending his tenure at Quehanna Motivational Boot Camp. He has been a teacher of English and elementary education in the Philadelphia Public School system, teaching a total of 10 years in the city. Camara has also been an adjunct professor at Cheyney University, offering instruction in Introduction to Education courses, as well as Praxis workshops for aspiring elementary education teachers.
Kenneth Chancey is the Policy Manager at National Foster Youth Institute since 2019. Formerly serving as a Legislative Deputy to the City of Los Angeles, Kenny comes to the organization with robust knowledge of government functions and policy processes.
Kenny was appointed to serve as the Vice-Chairman of El Segundo’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee where he has worked to improve community and police relations in the South Bay municipality. He works alongside fellow committee members to offer recommendations to create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for residents and visitors alike. He has a strong commitment to upholding social justice values at work and when he is home.
Lees M. Chevere
Lees M. Chevere has a B.A. in Education and a M.S. in Curriculum and Teaching. Lees started her journey teaching in Puerto Rico and became a Special Education Facilitator. Lees moved to Reading, PA, to work as a Student Support Specialist and Parent Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Migrant Education Program (PA MEP). Two years later, Lees was promoted to Team Leader for the PA MEP in Berks County. Lees believes that knowledge is power and she is determined to provide her staff with all the tools and resources needed to help the 1,300 students they serve in the PA MEP.
Kristal Moore Clemons
Kristal Moore Clemons, Ph.D., is the National Director of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools® Program. She comes to CDF with experience across K-12 education, higher education, and nonprofit management. Dr. Clemons’ expansive work and leadership within Freedom Schools has supplemented her research and scholarship on both the historical and contemporary Freedom Schools movement. Dr. Clemons received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Education-Culture, Curriculum and Change and a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies from Duke University. She and her partner, Dr. Kawachi Clemons, reside in Virginia with their three children.
Stephanie has spent more than 15 years providing professional development in prevention education and youth development. She has developed curriculum incorporating social emotional learning (SEL) competencies and resiliency on topics including teambuilding, AOD abuse prevention, cyber addiction, and diversity and inclusion. Stephanie provides professional development, consultation and technical assistance to schools and youth serving agencies with a focus on SEL as the Training and Organizational Development Associate for the Center for the Promotion of Social and Emotional Learning at the Center for Schools and Communities. Stephanie is Lead International Trainer and manages the I Can Problem Solve (ICPS) and Raising a Thinking Child programs. She worked as an adjunct professor teaching personal resiliency, diversity, and inclusion, was certified in the Pennsylvania Student Assistance Program (SAP), and serves on the PASAP BOD. Stephanie is certified in Lifelines Suicide Prevention, ICPS (a CASEL, SELect program), and Lions Quest (evidence-based SEL program). She has received training in SEL and character education, Courageous Conversations-Beyond Diversity, and Supporting Students Exposed to Trauma.
Leigh Dalton, Esq., Ph.D., is a member of the Stock and Leader’s School Law Practice Group, focusing on all areas of public education, including special education, student services, and equity. Leigh has served as the Director of Legal Services for the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and as Chief of Special Education Monitoring and Accountability Section at the Maryland State Department of Education. Leigh also served as the Director of the York County Truancy Prevention Initiative, a program of the United Way of York County, in partnership with the York County Bar Foundation. In 2012, she was recognized as “A Person Who Matters” in York County for her efforts in furthering the Youth Court Alliance. Leigh holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a Juris Doctorate from the University of Baltimore School of Law, and a Ph.D. in Education Policy from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Melissa DeMotta is a program specialist for two programs: Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness and Educational Stability for Children and Youth in Foster Care. She works directly with public school districts in a six-county region to assist with breaking down barriers to education for displaced youth and youth in foster care. Through these programs, she works closely with community agencies throughout the region to encourage collaboration in providing support services to students and families. Melissa has presented at the regional, state and national levels on homeless education. Melissa holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in social services.
Amanda Dorris has served as the Director of the Bureau of Policy, Program, and Operations within the Office of Children, Youth, and Families (OCYF) since October of 2019. From 2014 to 2019, she worked in OCYF’s Bureau of Juvenile Justice Services as the Director of the Juvenile Court Services Unit and Policy, Program, and Staff Development Unit. She began her commonwealth career in the Office of Child Development and Early Learning, working in the Bureau of Certification Services for more than nine years. Amanda’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Shippensburg University.
Tracy Duarte has worked in the field of early childhood education with Head Start (HS) and Early Head Start (EHS) for more than 25 years. She is currently the Director of the Pennsylvania Head Start Association, State Office at the PA Key, in Harrisburg. In this role, she serves as the liaison between HS/EHS programs and state programs and initiatives that serve low-income families and children ages birth to five. Prior to her current role, Tracy was the Director of the Venango County EHS Program for 12 years; served as the Infant/Toddler Specialist for Pennsylvania through ZERO TO THREE; and was a consultant providing T/TA to programs through ZERO TO THREE. Tracy lives in Oil City, PA.
Barbara Duffield is Executive Director of SchoolHouse Connection. For more than 20 years, she has bridged policy and practice in early care, education, housing, and homelessness. Previously Barbara was the Director of Education for the National Coalition for the Homeless where she collaborated with service providers, educators, federal agencies, and Congressional offices to address children’s issues. She served as the Director of Policy and Programs at the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth in Washington, DC, leading national efforts to strengthen federal protections and services for children and youth experiencing homelessness, from early childhood through higher education. She received her bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in Political Science from the University of Michigan.
Leanne Eckenrode is a licensed clinical social worker and the Coordinator of Social Workers and Families in Transition at Reading School District, in Reading Pennsylvania. Over the past five years, Leanne has lead programming in the district for students experiencing homelessness and foster youth. Leanne works with students transitioning to college as well as has implemented programming to remove barriers for students to access their post-secondary education. Leanne was the recipient of the Pennsylvania Department of Education‘s Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Region 2 Advocate of the Year, 2017, and the Superintendent Award of Excellence.
Christina Endres is a Program Specialist with the SERVE Center, where her work focuses on education for students in foster care and who are homeless. During her 10-year tenure as a state coordinator for homeless education, she served as president of the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth and Even Start State Coordinator. Christina started her career providing direct services to families, including mental health, home-based and family preservation services, as well as mentoring and helping youth build independent living skills. She strives regularly to be the human being her two hound dogs believe her to be.
Shirley Fan-Chan currently serves as the chair of the Post-Secondary Education Committee at the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY). She joined NAEHCY’s board as Board of Director in 2013 and has worked closely with NAEHCY’s board and contractors in higher education and foster care education as well as presented at many national conferences and webinars. Fan-Chan’s professional experience and knowledge in homeless education from cradle to career come from her previous roles in different nonprofit organizations and state agency in Massachusetts, such as stateside education manager at Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. She oversaw K-12 education services and federal education policy related to foster care youth and children.
Fan-Chan was the founding director of the Office of Off-Campus Support Services known as U-ACCESS at the University of Massachusetts Boston. In her role at U-ACCESS, she created the first of its kind office serving primary homeless and foster care students on campus in the state university system. She was co-founder of the Massachusetts Post-Secondary Education Homeless Students Network and subsequently the Single Point of Contact network in the state.
Before joining the university, Fan-Chan had worked as the chief policy and training officer at Horizons for Homeless Children that served homeless children ages birth to five, providing training to early development educators and service providers and advocating the homeless child care voucher policy in the state.
Bellis is a mental health advocate in every sense of the title. Her passion began as a child, when she personally witnessed the disappointment and lack of follow through in the mental health care system for youth, especially youth of marginalized groups and identities. Her motivation to help others like herself and her peers lead to her own personal studies on pediatric development and mental illness, thus educating herself on the toxic systems in her childhood home and family. Now, Bellis is putting herself through school in a new town and a new community college with dreams of becoming a pediatric psychiatric nurse. In her free time, Bellis still acts as the mental health advocate by speaking on her own experiences, fighting the mental health stigma, and volunteering at Project Oz, PATH and St. Baldricks.
Brandi Gilbert, Ph.D., has extensive research, evaluation, and technical experience in community resilience, particularly around helping children and families prepare for and respond to chronic and acute stressors. Brandi joined Community Science from the Urban Institute, where she focused on researching and evaluating disaster preparedness and response initiatives. In her past work, she has led studies on the disaster recovery of youth, examining the long-term impacts of Hurricane Katrina on adolescents and the effects of the 2010 BP oil spill on children and families in Gulf Coast communities. Additionally, Brandi serves in a range of national leadership positions with the American Evaluation Association, including the Graduate Education Diversity Internship Program.
Missy has work with the Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program for four and a half years as the McKinney-Vento Program Liaison and the Regional Foster Care Coordinator/Point of Contact as well as worked with homeless and low-income households for more than 33 years in York County. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from York College of Pennsylvania and until recently, she held the role of Vice Chair of York County Coalition on Homelessness, formerly known as York County Continuum of Care, and has been a member since its establishment.
Jodi Grant, J.D., has been Executive Director of the Afterschool Alliance since 2005. As Executive Director, she oversees federal policy efforts, works with the field to help programs tap into federal funding streams, and supervises research to help national, state, and local afterschool advocates and providers support, create, and expand quality afterschool programs.
Prior to joining the Afterschool Alliance, Jodie served as Director of Work and Family Programs for the National Partnership for Women and Families, where she worked to protect and expand the Family and Medical Leave Act and was a member of the team that successfully defended the law before the U.S. Supreme Court. She worked various positions on Capitol Hill and 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.
Grant graduated from Yale University with honors and was elected senior class president. She received her law degree from Harvard University, where she was elected class president (first marshall). She currently serves as a Board Member of the Search Institute, on the Coalition for Community Schools Steering Committee and is a Trustee of the America’s Promise Alliance. Grant, her husband and two children live in Washington, DC.
Tiara Greene, J.D., is a Staff Attorney at Juvenile Law Center who joined the organization in January 2021. She advocates for the rights of youth in the juvenile justice system through litigation, amicus, and policy advocacy efforts. Prior to joining Juvenile Law Center, Tiara’s legal practice involved labor and employment litigation practice as well as global date privacy compliance. Tiara is a 2014 graduate from Rutgers School of Law Camden. She focused on juvenile justice and child advocacy through participation in the Street Law Program, the Juvenile Justice Clinic as well as internships with the Child Advocacy Unit of the Defenders Association of Philadelphia, Education Law Center, and Juvenile Law Center. Following law school, Tiara clerked for the Honorable Thomas J. Shusted, Jr., in the Family Division of Camden County Superior Court in New Jersey.
Lindsay Gregg is the Coordinator of Family Engagement and Families in Transition within the School District of Lancaster. She is a Licensed Social Worker and Home School Visitor. She earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Social Work from Millersville University and her Home School Visitor Certification from Bryn Mawr College. Lindsay spent nine years working in the foster care and adoption field and transitioned to the education setting in 2015 where she worked as a school social worker. In 2018, she began her current role as a coordinator. Lindsay has a strong background in supporting families in high-level crises, navigating mental health services and resources.
Amanda Guzman is Team Leader for the Pennsylvania Migrant Education Program in Lancaster and Lebanon Counties. She majored in Sociology and Psychology at Millersville University and is currently working toward her master’s in School Counseling at Millersville University. Amanda started in the program as a Student Support Specialist where she worked with migrant students in grades K-12 who resided in Lancaster County. After two years as Student Support Specialist, she was promoted to Team Leader of the Migrant Education Program in Lebanon County before becoming Team Leader for both Lancaster and Lebanon Counties’ Migrant Education Programs. Amanda is determined as a leader and advocate to guide her team in providing quality educational and supportive services to migrant families.
Jamerika has more than 10 years of experience as a journalist and advocate for foster care children, having previously worked for the YMCA of Greater Seattle and the Press Enterprise in Riverside, CA. She holds a B.A. in Communication from the Edward. R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. Jamerika earned a certificate in Public Relations and Strategic Communications from the University of Washington. A native of Tacoma, WA, she has worked as a communications consultant for several organizations including the Washington State Department of Social Health and Services, the University of Washington and nonprofits. She also owns and operates Clever Jam Communications, a consulting firm offering strategic communications guidance, motivational speaking and facilitation to those working in child welfare. She is currently the reigning titleholder USA Ambassador Ms. 2021 through the USA Ambassador Pageant.
Amira Hill-Yancy, Ed.D., supports MTSS — Equity and Special Education Law initiatives and the state systemic improvement plan focused on decreasing dropout risks and rates for students with disabilities. Amira supports a professional development grant by leading a professional learning community for administrators and coordinating a partnership with institutes of higher education to develop data based decision-making modules for preservice teachers. Dr. Amira is the co-recipient of the 2021 Moral and Courageous Commitment to Equity Educator Award from Cabrini University. She is a certified Equity Literacy Facilitator. Amira previously served as a Special Education Adviser, Special Education teacher, Special Education Director, Secondary English teacher, and Literacy Coach. Dr. Amira is especially interested in teacher-level considerations to close the opportunity gap and School to Prison Pipeline to improve outcomes for all marginalized students, especially black males.
Kristen Hoffa has been a Regional Coordinator for seven years and has prior experience and training working with children experiencing homelessness due to domestic violence.
Elizabeth (Beth) Hoffer is a Youth Development Coordinator at the Center for Schools and Communities. She provides support and technical assistance to Pennsylvania Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant recipients. Beth assists in the collection and analysis of performance reports from Pennsylvania grantees. She develops training sessions and webinars on 21st CCLC grant compliance, data collection, leadership skills training, and programming strategies. Beth is working towards the Trauma Skilled Specialist Certification through the National Dropout Prevention Center. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Management Information Systems from Penn State University. She formerly served as Vice President of Information Technology for the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association; she is a certified Elementary School teacher.
Alyssa H. Holstay
Alyssa H. “AK” Holstay, Esq., currently serves as a Legal Training Specialist through the Pennsylvania Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN) Legal Services Initiative. In this role, Alyssa authors the Monthly Legal Report, designs and delivers trainings to the full spectrum of professionals in the child welfare system, concentrating her efforts in the Central and south central regions of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining SWAN, Alyssa practiced in several areas of law including criminal and family, and served as a parents’ attorney in child welfare matters at both the trial and appellate court levels. Alyssa is a graduate of Shippensburg University and the Widener Commonwealth School of Law.
With more than 16 years of experience, Serena Holthe joined the American Youth Policy Forum as Senior Director of Programs and Strategy in July 2021. Previously, Serena served as Senior Staff Attorney at the National Juvenile Defender Center where her work primarily focused on outreach, training, and technical assistance to improve the provision and quality of post-disposition and reentry legal representation for delinquency court-involved youth. Serena also worked at the Center for Children and Youth Justice in Seattle, where she managed a civil legal services program to help system-involved youth surmount hurdles to their successful transition into adulthood. Serena assisted in policy reform efforts to expand juvenile record clearance laws, broaden extended foster care, and create governmental supports for youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. Before moving to Seattle, she was an Assistant Public Defender in Baltimore City and a Staff Attorney at Maryland Legal Aid. Serena earned her Juris Doctorate from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law; she holds a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa.
Constance Iannetta is a 3rd generation foster alumni who aged out of substitute care at 18 and later became a kinship/adoptive parent and child welfare professional. Constance is a national advocate for foster care, kinship, adoption, and mental health. She co-founded the resource hub FosterStrong.org to serve the foster care community.
Patricia Julianelle, J.D., is an attorney and legal consultant for state and local governments and nonprofit organizations. She has more than 20 years of experience defending children and youth’s rights, including leading state and federal policy advocacy. Patricia is an expert on education law and policy, including the rights of children and unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness, students with disabilities, and undocumented immigrants. She has worked with the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, the National Disabilities Rights Network, Washington State’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the American Bar Association, among other organizations. Patricia’s work has been published in several academic and practice journals, Patricia graduated from Yale University and received her J.D. summa cum laude from Lewis & Clark Law School.
Chris Kapp has been in the housing/homelessness field for 20 years. She currently works as the coordinated entry regional manager for the Central Valley Regional Homeless Advisory Board, through the Cumberland County Housing Authority. Chris has helped to implement and oversee one of the most substantial federal and county systems change strategies that has happened in many years, creating ”one front door” into the social services system and facilitating unprecedented interagency collaborative efforts to end homelessness in our region.
Maria Kelley is a sophomore at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT. As a foster transitioning adult, she is driven to advocate and give back to her community. She has an individualized major in Law, Social Justice, and the Family and cultivates her passions within various organizations on and off campus. As an YCT member, Maria strives to work towards making an impact from an instructional and systemic level. Moreover, she is determined to improve the disparities that lie within the child welfare system, while spreading love, light, and humanity in the process.
Since 2006, Wendy has served as the Region 5 Coordinator at the Midwestern Intermediate Unit 4 for Pennsylvania’s Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program. In this role, she has oversight of a 10-county region, with an estimated population of 3,000 children ages birth to 21 years who are experiencing homelessness, in conjunction with a network of a site coordinators and Intermediate Unit Liaisons. She provides technical assistance and training to assigned homeless liaisons (within approximately 70 school districts), homeless shelter staff and community agencies. She has presented at statewide and national events in support of homeless education. Wendy previously held positions with the Lawrence County Community Action Partnership, Value Behavioral Health of PA, Inc., Women’s Shelter/Rape Crisis Center of Lawrence County, and the Human Services Center, Inc. in New Castle, PA. Wendy obtained her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Grove City College, her master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Slippery Rock University, and holds a School Counseling Certification.
Jani Koester has been the Lead Teacher in the Madison Transition Education Program (TEP). As an educator for more than 39 years, she has spent the last 32 years as a TEP team member implementing McKinney-Vento and supporting families experiencing homelessness. Jani is an active participant in the community through chairing the Early Childhood Homeless Workgroup along with co-facilitating the Doubled-Up Workgroup. She is an active member of the local CoC, providing leadership through board participating and supporting committees through co-chairing. One of her favorite projects is the “Who We Are” program that provides students and families experiencing homelessness an opportunity to share their voices. This is a collaborative program with the UW Greater Madison Writing Project and occurs once a year on the UW campus. Their voices, stories, and words are written down and shared throughout our community to help build awareness and support.
Rijelle Kraft serves as the Family Support Managing Coordinator at the Center for Schools and Communities specifically working with the Children’s Trust Fund and Parents as Teachers. She provides implementation support for programs working to prevent child abuse as well as professional development in the area of strengths-based family support practices. She is certified in the Standards of Quality for Family Strengthening and Support from the National Family Support Network. She is a certified trainer for Bringing the Protective Factors Framework to Life in Your Work and the Be Strong Parent Café model. She holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Mansfield University, an M.A. in Social Justice from The School for International Training, and an M.S. in Nonprofit Management from Eastern University. She is a graduate of the Educational Policy Fellowship Program.
Alison Kreitzer, Ph.D., is a Project Specialist at the Center for Schools and Communities. She coordinates professional learning and provides technical assistance for the Youth Development and English Language Development teams. Alison received her Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization, and her research focuses on 20th-century cultural history with an emphasis on material culture studies. She has served as a university history instructor. Additionally, Alison is an experienced public historian and has worked in various roles within museums and foundations. Alison is currently pursuing a Trauma Skilled Specialist Certification through the National Dropout Prevention Center.
Cindy LaCom, Ph.D., is a founder and CDO of Transforming Culture Consultants, which works with organizations and companies to create a workplace culture where employees feel valued, respected, and engaged. She is also the Director of the Gender and Diversity Studies Program at Slippery Rock University, where she has collaborated with 70 campus and community partners to host programs, trainings and workshops focused on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She has served on several nonprofit boards that provide support and resources to victims and survivors of domestic violence and people experiencing homelessness. Cindy is a member of the Elsinore-Bennu Think Tank, a boots-on-the- ground organization that designs programs that apply concepts of Restorative Justice to heal broken relationships in communities harmed by crime.
Joy Lenzi began working with survivors of sexual/interpersonal violence in 2014 with a local, survivor-led group called Voices. Her activism in anti-human trafficking began in 2013 as a liaison with BRVHEART. Joy was asked to co-chair Delaware County Against Trafficking, which she now chairs. She worked directly with survivors of trafficking in a long-term residential facility from 2017-2021. Joy joined the board of Walk Her Home, equipping students to prevent exploitation, decrease demand, and support survivors. Joy is a lived-experience expert on complex trauma and sexual violence.
Alex Maasdam is a Kinship Navigator with Pennsylvania KinConnector, which offers information, referral, and follow-up services to grandparents and other relatives raising children. Alex has eight years of experience working to help serve, counsel, educate, and strengthen families, including five years of leading bilingual outreach initiatives among Spanish-speaking/Latino communities. Outside of work, Alex enjoys traveling and has lived, worked, explored, and studied in nearly a dozen Latino countries. In addition to his passion for Latino cultures and communities, in his spare time he enjoys nature photography, musical performance, competing in triathlons, and most importantly prioritizing quality time with his wife.
Susan L. Mangold
Susan Mangold serves as the Assistant Dean of Students at Kutztown University, where she has worked for more than 33 years. In this role, Susan coordinates services for students dealing with emotional distress, mental health issues, and life circumstances that negatively affect student success and well-being. This includes management of KUBIT, the university’s behavioral intervention team, as well as the KU Care Team, a group that provides emergency financial assistance to students through the Helping Paws Emergency Fund. She also works with the university’s PROFS program (Providing Resources and Opportunities for Future Standouts), an initiative that provides supportive services for students who have experienced foster care. Susan holds a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Kutztown University, is a Nationally Certified Counselor, and is licensed in Pennsylvania as a Professional Counselor. As a counseling professional, Susan provided individual, couples, and family counseling as well as workshops and support groups. In addition, she serves as a paid counseling consultant for the congregational care team of a local Lutheran Church.
Leslie McConnell is the Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s program director for Evaluation, Grants, and Data. She has been dubbed a data and reporting harbor pilot and likes to think of herself as a professional problem solver. She serves as the lead state evaluator for some of Pennsylvania’s largest supplemental, grant-funded programs: Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, Migrant Education, and Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness, among other regional and local projects. Leslie’s professional background in data and evaluation, strategic planning, technical writing, project management, and grant development supports her in helping educators and community leaders create, implement, and refine programs to increase success, improve outcomes, and communicate that success in meaningful ways.
Kathleen McNaught, J.D., has been with the American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law for more than 18 years. She is the Project Director for the Legal Center for Foster Care and Education, which is a collaboration between the ABA, Education Law Center, and Juvenile Law Center. Kathleen provides training and technical assistance around the country on a variety of legal child welfare issues, primarily focused on the educational needs of children in foster care. Prior to joining the Center, Kathleen spent seven years practicing law in the state of Maryland. She was a staff attorney for Maryland’s Legal Aid Bureau in their Child Advocacy Unit. She also was in private practice, representing parents and children in child welfare cases, as well as in education, delinquency and custody matters. She received her J.D. from the American University, Washington College of Law, and her B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College.
Colin McShane aged out of Pennsylvania congregate care at 18 years old. Colin went on to state and national level policy/advocacy work to better outcomes for future generations. Colin is co-founder of FosterStrong.org, a resource hub for the foster care community.
Carmen M. Medina
Carmen is the Chief of the Division of Student Services in the Bureau of School Support at the Pennsylvania Department of Education. She oversees six initiatives — Migrant Education, Refugee School Impact Grant, Teen Pregnancy and Parenting Program, Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC), Foster Care Provision under ESSA, and Homeless Education (McKinney-Vento). All these programs provide quality supplemental educational services to Pennsylvania special student populations. In addition to overseeing these programs, Carmen is a member of the Pennsylvania Department of Education Data Governance Council and Credit Recovery/Flexibility workgroup. Prior to her employment with the commonwealth, Carmen was the Adams County Program Director of 21st CCLC. As the Program Director, she was responsible for the grant writing, implementation, management, and supervision of the Adams County afterschool programs focusing on migrant students. She also spent 15 years with Dauphin County Courthouse system as an Adult Probation and Parole Officer and Criminal Investigator.
Carmen is the former Chair of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs and former President of the National Latino Peace Officer Association and Pennsylvania-Gettysburg Chapter. On Aug. 28, 2004, Carmen received the honor to be the recipient of the Pennsylvania Latina of the Year Award of the National Latino Peace Officer Association and she was presented with the Key of Gettysburg Borough. On August 2005, she was selected as one of 12 Central Pennsylvania Women of Strength. In 2018, she was selected in the top 100 Pennsylvania most influential Latinos. Carmen is an Alumnus of the Leadership Development Institute for Women in Government and a Fellow of the Education Policy Leadership Institute. Carmen Medina is a native of Caguas, Puerto Rico. She attended the University of Puerto Rico where she majored in Mathematics and minored in Education. In 1978, she moved to Harrisburg, PA.
Mirielle Milne is a 19-year-old consultant and advocate from Spokane, WA. Her passion lies in seeing people free and flourishing, re-imagining and building community and authentic youth collaboration. Mirielle first started volunteering with an anti-human trafficking organization in Spokane in 2015 and has been involved in advocacy work ever since. Combining knowledge from her own lived experience with what she learned from the survivors she had the privilege to work with, Mirielle strives to provide and fight for the valuable perspectives of young people. Having been in a consultant role with Youth Collaboratory since 2018, Mirielle pulls from the experiences, partnerships, and new skills she has gained to advocate for a better community and better future.
Nadia Mozaffar, J.D., is a Senior Attorney at Juvenile Law Center. Her work focuses on advancing educational rights and opportunities for children in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, economic justice issues, and protecting the rights of young people in the adult justice system. Nadia has led numerous trainings and presentations for lawyers, advocates, and policy makers on reforms regarding cost and fees in the juvenile justice system. Nadia co-authored a 2018 report, The Price of Justice: The High Cost of “Free” Counsel for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System, detailing the costs associated with court-appointed counsel around the country. Nadia also has significant experience with federal and state legislative advocacy.
Samantha Murphy earned her master’s degree from Duquesne University in Counseling Education with a focus in Community Counseling in 1999. She began her work with Allegheny County Department of Human Services in 1995 as a child welfare caseworker and has been serving the community since the year 2000 as a resource and referral specialist (now manager), assisting helping professionals with thoughtful and precise information and resources in order for them to best serve their consumers. She was tapped for the supportive role of Education Liaison in 2011 with the ultimate goal of improving educational outcomes for children served by the department.
Katherine Noss works in child abuse and neglect prevention, providing implementation support to Parents as Teachers and Children’s Trust Fund programs. She has been a home visitor to migrant and refugee families and a classroom teacher to students of all ages. She has extensive management experience in the private sector. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Latinx Studies from Duke University; she is working on a master’s degree in Public Health from Penn State University.
Rebecca O’Shea began her career with United Way of Pennsylvania as the Advocacy Engagement Coordinator. Prior to working for United Way of Pennsylvania, Rebecca served as a Government Relations Member Organizer with Pennsylvania State Education Association. Rebecca earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Anthropology from American University in Washington, DC. Her undergraduate academic concentration is in Black History, Race Equity, and Mass Incarceration. She spent her final year at university working for and building the first start-up Antiracist Research and Policy Center. Currently she is pursuing a Master of Public Administration and Public Policy from American University.
Erin Patterson is Director of Education Initiatives at SchoolHouse Connection, where she provides practical support for states and LEAs in their efforts to support children and youth experiencing homelessness. Erin began her career as a classroom teacher nearly 15 years ago, and has since held positions in federal policy, philanthropy, and policy consulting. Erin holds a B.A. in History from Anderson University; she earned her MPP in Education and Social Policy from George Mason University. She currently serves on the board of the Wanda Alston Foundation in Washington, DC.
Emily Peeler, J.D., is a Staff Attorney at the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law. Emily works on a variety of projects at ABA including: The Legal Center for Foster Care and Education, Pennsylvania Education Barriers, Capacity Building Center for Courts, kinship care, and parent representation. Prior to working at ABA, Emily managed a legal diversity pipeline program with law firms and high schools across the country and worked as a youth advocacy coordinator at CASA for Children of DC. Emily received her J.D. from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law and her M.S.W. from Boston University.
Shaquite Pegues is the Director of Ella Baker Leadership Development for the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools® program. She is a true product of the program, having participated for many years as a scholar. She joined the national Freedom Schools program staff in 2008. Pegues is a native of Bennettsville, SC, and serves the local community in many ways. She oversees the local Freedom Schools summer and after school programs. She also serves as President of the Pee Dee Region Spelman College Alumnae Chapter, Vice President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Upsilon Sigma Omega Chapter, and Alt. Executive Committeewoman for the Marlboro County Democratic Party. Pegues obtained her bachelor’s degree from Spelman College and her master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University. She has received a number of awards and recognitions over the years, but none greater than the honor of working with the Children’s Defense Fund to level the playing field for children.
As a queer, non-binary person of Cuban and Puerto Rican descent, I struggled growing up to find others whose gender experience mirrored my own. As the youngest of three children and the only child raised as a girl, I quickly learned what was deemed appropriate gender behavior for me and what was not. When first learning about Gender Spectrum, I could not help but imagine how much heartache could have been spared if an organization like GS had existed when I was younger. Because of this, my wish for all people, but most especially, young people is: the world they inherit be one where they are able to grow into themselves and their gender, free from expectation, limitation, and judgment, and full of joy and acceptance.
Tatiana Piper is the Community Advocacy Coordinator at the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape. She provides training and technical assistance related to engaging and supporting traditionally under- and unserved survivors of sexual violence; including older adults, individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, communities of color and incarcerated survivors. While at PCAR, she has developed resources, organized conferences, provided trainings and authored blogs focusing on the intersections of sexual violence and forms of oppressions. It is her life mission to ensure traditionally under- and unserved communities are not forgotten and always have a seat at the table.
Sonia has worked with students experiencing homelessness for more than 24 years, eliminating educational barriers for homeless students and unaccompanied teens through partnerships and coordination with school districts, shelters and other community agencies. Sonia obtained her bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Education (Special Populations) from Northland College, WI. In 2015, she received the national Sandra Neese Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by the National Association for Education of Homeless Children and Youth.
Kelly Protho is an Applied Learning and Development Specialist at the Allegheny County Department of Human Services. She is a co-facilitator of DHS’ Trauma Think Tank: a cross-system collaborative that promotes a trauma-informed organizational approach. She also co-facilitates Shifting the Lens: Practical Applications of Trauma-Informed Care, a training that explores the effects of traumatic stress and practical applications of trauma-informed care principles as they relate to client engagement, service planning, and workforce well-being. Kelly began her work in the field serving families through community prevention services more than 15 years ago. In her previous position, she served as Family Engagement Supervisor within a nonprofit organization where she focused on making a transformational impact with families through trauma informed practices specifically within underserved communities. Kelly holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Hampton University and currently lives in the Hill District with her husband and four children.
Samantha Pudloski is the program manager for Pennsylvania’s The Office for Dispute Resolution (ODR), where she supervises statewide special education dispute resolution resources and services. During her tenure with ODR, she has served more than 10,000 constituents through her work with the Special Education ConsultLine, an information helpline for families and advocates of children with disabilities. She is trained in mediation and is the lead presenter of “Creating Agreement in Special Education,” a conflict resolution training for all stakeholders of the special education process. Prior to starting at ODR, Pudloski was a school-based speech language pathologist. These experiences have provided her with insight into the critical school-family relationship and the significance of supporting effective partnerships. Pudloski is a graduate of James Madison University (B.S.) and MGH Institute of Health Professions (M.S.).
Al B. Quarles, II, Ph.D., was born and raised in Abington, PA, and is a graduate of Abington Senior High School. He attended Millersville University of Pennsylvania., where he earned a Bachelor’s of Science Temple University, where he earned a master’s degree in Educational Psychology, and Gwynedd Mercy University, where he earned his Doctorate in Educational Leadership. Dr. Quarles currently works as an administrator for the School District of Philadelphia and serves as the Philadelphia Coordinator of the Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program. While diligently working to serve the neediest population of students in Philadelphia, Dr. Quarles has been appointed on two occasions and currently serves on the Pennsylvania Secretary of Educations Homelessness Task Force. He is the author of the highly acclaimed “Burning Sands” literary series, two children’s books based on bullying, and has more than 25 years of experience as an administrator, counselor, and behavioral health professional working with children.
Julie Ratekin is currently the McKinney-Vento Consortium Coordinator and County Liaison for Wayne County, MI. As the Coordinator for the largest Consortium in Michigan and working with the McKinney-Vento program for more than 10 years, Julie has been a strong advocate for youth and families experiencing homelessness and a wealth of knowledge for her peers. Julie oversees the homeless youth programs at Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency and she helped create training and professional development at the state level. As the Consortium Coordinator Julie provides professional development and program support to school districts and community organization to promote awareness of youth and families experiencing homelessness. Julie holds a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University.
Erin Reed, ACTP, RYT 500, is proud to serve communities, families, and children as a Well-being, Healing, and Resilience Educator for Starr Commonwealth. Erin comes to Starr with a background in education and healing arts. She supports Starr Commonwealth’s work in equity, diversity, and inclusion through the Glasswing: Racial Healing Experience. Erin spent seven years working as an academic and behavioral interventionist in elementary and middle schools. Erin is trained in school-based mindfulness practice, and has developed curriculum for mindfulness practices in the classroom and leads workshops for adults and children. Erin began her journey with yoga and mindfulness 22 years ago. She earned her 300-hour trauma sensitive yoga teacher certification, and earned an additional 300 hours of training in yoga/somatic therapy from the Body Mind Being Institute. Erin has guided trauma sensitive yoga practices for trauma survivors in both group and individual sessions. She is a graduate of The Evergreen State College where she studied mind/body practices, and multi-cultural counseling. Erin has dedicated herself to developing and facilitating trainings that support whole well-being and provide experiences of resilience for helping professionals, educators, children, and communities.
Lisette Rivera serves as the Site Coordinator for the Families in Transition Program for the School District of Lancaster. She is entering her 4th year in this position but has worked within the district since 2002. Lisette received her bachelor’s degree in Special Education. However, she has spent the majority of her career working within her community and social work. She is currently enrolled in graduate classes at Widener University to obtain her Home School Visitor Certification as well as her master’s degree in Social Work.
Jim spent the early part of his career in the CPG industry area of marketing research producing revenue forecasts for an entire product line. After many years in that role, Jim transitioned into a consulting role on his own working with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, working on numerous projects with a focus on data analysis. The consulting position eventually encompassed the data file development for the ECYEH program, which proceeded until a recent opportunity for a full-time position became available. Jim has now served in that role for several months.
Anne Salerno has served as a McKinney-Vento Homeless program monitor since 2018. She has vast knowledge of various Federal Education programs including but not limited to Title I, Title II, and Title III programs. As a Federal and Special Programs Coordinator for the Scranton School District, she directed, budgeted, and managed their federal programs including the Preschool Program, Neglected and Delinquent Programs and School Age Mothers Program. Salerno is a Head Start Liaison and currently serves on the boards of the United Way of Wayne and Lackawanna Counties and the Scranton Public Library. She has served as the past President for Pennsylvania Association of Federal Program Coordinators, United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania, and Board of Trustees at the Scranton Public Library. Salerno has attained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Scranton. She obtained her Elementary School Counseling Certification from Marywood University.
Nancy Scherlong is a licensed clinical social worker in the states of New York and Connecticut as well as a registered bibio-poetry therapist, certified journal therapist, and a trainer in both methods. She also serves as an adjunct professor for Adelphi and Columbia Universities in their social work counseling programs. She is on the training faculty of the Therapeutic Writing Center and Kint Institute. She has extensive experience working with clients of all ages. She utilizes creativity and writing in educational, hospital and community agency settings. Nancy enjoys providing individual, family, group, and corporate coaching, therapy, and wellness services through her business Change Your Narrative LCSW PLLC.
Jillian Schreib joined the Office of Children, Youth, and Families (OCYF) as a Human Services Program Specialist and serves as the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (PA DHS) Education Point of Contact. One of Jill’s roles is to support County Children and Youth Agency implementation of school stability provisions under the Fostering Connections and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008. Prior to joining OCYF, Jill worked for PA DHS as a Career Development and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Income Maintenance Caseworker. Jill also served as a teacher, tutor, and youth mentor for children and teens attending Philadelphia schools. Jill is a graduate of Montclair State University in New Jersey and holds a Master’s of Science in Education from the University of Pennsylvania.
Maria Searcy is a Parent and Family Engagement Consultant and a Title I Monitor for the Pennsylvania Department of Education. She provides training to school districts across Pennsylvania to help them increase parent involvement in their schools. Maria currently serves as a member of the Pennsylvania Title I State Parent Advisory Council as well as the Equity Advisory Panel, Pittsburgh Public Schools, where she monitors district data and makes recommendations to central administration on ways to eliminate racial disparities between black and white students. Maria received the Community Empowerment Award at the Summit for Courageous Conversations, Pacific Educational Group in 2012. The award is presented to local leaders who effectively broker collaboration — focused on racial equity — between and among community members and their schools. Maria is a native of Pittsburgh’s Northside, a graduate of a public school system, a wife, and mother of two daughters, Brett and Chandler Searcy.
Rajni Shankar-Brown, Ph.D., is a Professor and Endowed Chair of Social Justice Education at Stetson University, Vice President of National Coalition for the Homeless, and Co-Chair of Equity and Justice for International SITE. She is the Founder of the Poverty and Homelessness Conference, Dream Scholars, and Acts of Kindness and Justice Movement, and Faculty Advisor for the Student Homeless Coalition. She began her career as a public school teacher and worked in a variety of transformative leadership roles with communities, organizations, government agencies, corporations, and schools in urban, rural, and suburban areas across the United States and around the world. She specializes in educational equity, diversity, and inclusion, trauma-informed care, and healing centered engagement. Dr. Shankar-Brown is an award-winning educational scholar of social and environmental justice, human rights activist, poet and artist. She has presented around the globe and she is an internationally renowned author.
Kelly-Jo Shebeck, Secretary, is currently the McKinney-Vento Liaison for the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, NV. As the liaison for the fifth largest school district and working with the McKinney- Vento program for more than 11 years, Kelly-Jo has been a strong advocate for youth and families in transition. Kelly-Jo holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in education with an endorsement in educational leadership. Prior to the liaison role, Kelly-Jo was an elementary teacher and a facilitator working with Title I budgets. In her role as district administrator, professional development and program organization have been a passion for Kelly-Jo as she looks for opportunities to promote awareness of youth and families experiencing homelessness in schools and the community.
Andrea received a bachelor’s degree in Child Development/Family Relations with minors in Sociology and Psychology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She has been employed with the Armstrong-Indiana Intermediate Unit for 26 years. Andrea worked with the Family Literacy program teaching parent education and early childhood education, then with the Indiana county Family Center as the Lead Family Specialist, again working with families as a parent and early childhood educator. For the past 16 years, Andrea has been the Regional Homeless Coordinator working with school district and homeless shelters supporting the children with their education needs while experiencing homelessness and their families throughout Region 6 with the Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program. Andrea also serves on the Cambria County Community Action Agency Board, Head Start Policy Councils, Local Interagency Coordinating Councils, Early Care and Education Committees, Human Resource Committees, and Local Housing Boards throughout Region 6.
Tia-Maria Smith is the Program Director for Pennsylvania KinConnector, which helps informal and formal kinship families find the information, resources, and emotional support they need. Tia-Maria is passionate about kinship families because she was raised by her great grandmother and then became a kinship caregiver to the grandmother who raised her. After working for two fortune 500 companies for more than 25 years, Tia-Maria answered the call to use her talents in the social welfare space. Starting as a case aide driver, later a foster parent recruiter, a KinConnector Supervisor, and now in her current role as Program Director with Pennsylvania KinConnector, Tia-Maria is dedicated to advocating for kinship families and giving them tools to thrive. Tia-Maria holds a M.A. in Sociology from the University of Chicago.
Ludy is a recently retired educator who has always incorporated meditation and mindfulness in her classes and practice and has now committed herself to increasing the access of BIPOC, multilingual immigrant/refugee, and LBGTQ+ communities to non-allopathic practices that increase wellbeing, help address trauma, and support healing.
Nicole Steward is a social worker (MSW), homeless/foster youth liaison, and certified yoga instructor with a focus on community engagement, public education, and trauma-informed yoga. With more than two decades of social work practice in nonprofits and accountability work in K-12 education, Nicole has noticed the need for a trauma-informed lens in the world of social services and education to help us understand the needs of those we serve better. Nicole also believes self-care is a radical tendency we must adopt if we are to discharge the toxic stress we absorb through our work and sustain ourselves as service providers, educators, and human beings. Nicole teaches yoga, mindfulness, and offers trauma-informed self-care professional development, workshops, and retreats.
Jackie Strohm is the Prevention and Resource Coordinator at the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape. She provides training, resources, and support to local rape crisis centers with the goal of making communities safer for everyone. She previously served at PCAR as the Special Projects Coordinator, where she worked on projects related to telecounseling and serving male survivors. Jackie joined the movement to end sexual violence in 2012 as a peer educator on her college campus. She is a graduate of Temple University where she earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work.
Danyah Subei is an art therapist and counselor, currently residing in Phoenix, AZ. Danyah graduated with a Master’s of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has been working as an artistic behavioral health specialist at Resilient Health for almost a year now. As a designer, artist, and art therapist, Danyah believes in the power of art in achieving personal transformation and healing. Danyah have facilitated supportive Open Studio spaces in person and online in clinical and community settings where creative expression is used to foster growth and well-being.
Ashley joined the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services in 2019 after graduating with her master’s degree in Design from Carnegie Mellon University. She previously worked for Pittsburgh Public Schools, implementing districtwide programs alongside educators, and as a consultant focused on classroom based social emotional learning interventions.
Jorge Verlenden, Ph.D., is a Behavioral Scientist with the Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Verlenden received her doctorate and master’s degree in psychology from Tulane University and completed her postdoctoral fellowship with a combined appointment to Morehouse School of Medicine’s Satcher Health Leadership Institute and Georgia State University’s Center for Leadership in Disability. She also earned a Master of Education from Loyola University New Orleans. As a Behavioral Scientist at DASH, Dr. Verlenden investigates factors that contribute to health and educational disparities and applies behavioral and social science skills to reduce risk and enhance health outcomes for children and youth through programming and policy.
Sarah Wasch is the Field Center’s Program Manager, coordinating a variety of Field Center projects and initiatives. She has held practice and advocacy roles in the child welfare and social services arena for nearly two decades, spanning residential treatment, foster care, and education. Sarah’s background includes presenting, training, and writing on critical topics in child welfare, with a focus on college access and success for young adults with experience in foster care. Sarah coordinates the Field Center’s Multidisciplinary Student Training Institute, providing cross-disciplinary education and training to graduate students in multiple disciplines, including social work, law, and education.
Joe Willard is the Vice President of Policy at People’s Emergency Center (PEC). Prior to working at PEC, Willard was the Associate Manager for Public Policy at the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania and the Associate Director at the Reinvestment Fund’s Regional Workforce Partnership. Willard has a bachelor’s degree from Penn State University and a master’s degree from Hunter College.
Jeff has worked with at-risk youth for 21 years. He was previously employed at an alternative school in Northeast Pennsylvania, teaching grades 6-12 for 10 years and was certified as a safe crisis management instructor. Jeff also counseled adolescents in drug and alcohol prevention. For the past 11 years, Jeff has been the Region 7 Homeless and Foster Coordinator in Northeast Pennsylvania, covering 17 counties and 86 LEAs. Jeff has worked closely with school districts, shelters, and agencies to help eliminate barriers homeless children experience and provide much needed services. He has coordinated numerous charitable drives as well as continues educating entities in his region on various issues surrounding homeless children. Jeff received his bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Secondary Education, along with a master’s degree in Education, from Wilkes University.