Media gallery

Inaugural Class of 2012-2013

The Riley Institute proudly announced its inaugural class of White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellows who, beginning in October 2012, spent ten months studying afterschool and expanded learning policy and developing state-level policy plans in partnership with their State Afterschool Networks and the National Afterschool Alliance. To view the White-Riley-Peterson Conference Schedule of Activities for October 21-26, 2012, click here.

Meet the 2012-13 class!


Paula Adams

Program Manager
Fun 5 Program, Kahoomiki (Honolulu, HI)

Paula’s policy project has been helping to establish a Hawaii Statewide Afterschool Network. She has been working with Hawaii Superintendent’s office, with the Lt. Governor’s office, with afterschool providers and with other organizations interested in supporting the afterschool world. Hawaii is planning on submitting a grant to the Mott foundation as soon as all the needed pieces are in place. Upon the creation of the network, Paula hopes that new and exiting ideas will fill Hawaii afterschool scene.

Ken Anthony

Director of Professional Development
Connecticut Afterschool Network (Branford, CT)

Ken is working with the Connecticut State Department of Education to develop a system that will contribute to longitudinal outcomes for state funded afterschool grants’ recipients. One component of this system is to create benchmarks based on data that programs are expected to collect, as well as the development of a quality improvement report used as part of the coaching process all grantees take part in. The current funding cycle is two years, allowing programs the time to develop a program and begin to build local capacity. However, as a result of this biennial funding cycle, programs that meet benchmarks have to recompete against unproven, untested programs and often lose funding as a result. The system Ken is creating as part of the White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellowship will allow current grantees to gain additional points for performance over the life of the current funding cycle and continue to build local capacity and longitudinal outcomes in successful programs. This project is also on of the seven reccomendations made to the State Legislature as part of the Supporting Student Success (S3) initiative. Ken credits the policy knowledge and process directly to the Fellowship experience. Watch video

Monica Armendariz

Director of Education/President
BeHive USA/ Central Texas Afterschool (Austin, TX)

Monica Armendariz has been working with Texas Partnership for Out of School Time to navigate the state’s unique expansive OST landscape and to invigorate communication, advocacy, and collaboration among all of the regions of Texas. She has aided in the coordination of resources and recruitment for Texas’s first ever Out of School Time Day at the Capitol, and created strategies and next steps for strengthening current and potential regional networks, network leaders, and regional champions. Through regional surveys, she is using data to build public profiles of regional work, resources for leaders on creating and strengthening regional advocacy work, and identifying major gaps and barriers where TXPOST can provide support and mentorship. TXPOST’s Executive Director and Monica have had such a positive experience through the WRP program, that Monica was asked to build recommendations and ideas around a Texas Policy Fellowship as a potential strategic intiative for the state network. Watch video

Eric Billiet

Expanded Learning Education Specialist
Safe and Healthy Learners Team; Minnesota Department of Education

Eric’s efforts have been focused on building relationships to ensure alignment between Statewide education initiatives and the out-of-school time field in Minnesota, as well as the use of the afterschool in achieving larger educational goals.  For example, he is working to connect the Minnesota Global Learning Advisory Board with the Afterschool Global Learning Initiative so afterschool will be a strong component of the Minnesota Global Learning Strategic Plan.  He also wrote and was awarded a Noyce Foundation STEM Afterschool Planning Grant for the Minnesota Afterschool Network to build collaboration between the Afterschool Network with the Minnesota STEM Network on parallel informal STEM initiatives, including a mapping project, needs analysis, and measurement tools. Eric has also worked with a member of the Afterschool Network and MDE to create a Student Advisory Committee where students can have a voice in educational policy.  Eric credits the White-Riley-Peterson Fellowship for developing his skills in networking and community building around policy efforts.

Erin Bofenkamp

South Dakota Afterschool Partnership (Sioux Falls, SD)

In South Dakota, the Network’s overarching goal is to increase funding for out-of-school time programs. As a White-Riley-Peterson Fellow, Erin has used this opportunity to conduct statewide research that measures the impact of out-of-school time programs on South Dakota. This data will form the basis of a report to guide data-driven conversations with elected officials and business leaders to help increase funding for such programs. Watch video

Blaire Denson

Virginia Partnership for Out-of-School Time (Richmond, VA)

Blaire is creating the opportunity to open doors, build relationships, and identify champions which will increase the level of knowledge of Out of School Time (OST) and its importance in Virginia. With increased awareness, she is working to increase access to OST from 16% to 20% by 2015. Blaire created a survey to determine the complexion of OST at the local level by congressional districts. A powerful visual aid of her fiscal and geographic mapping project that resulted from the survey is the creation of a picture of OST in Virginia that highlights existing disparities. Her newly identified champions are working to help alleviate those disparities which will increase access to quality OST programs in Virginia. Watch video

Rebecca Kelley

Director, Knowledge & Innovation
The Strive Network (Cincinnati, OH)

Rebecca is working to showcase early successes in connecting out-of-school time providers through regional and state forums in order to show others it is possible to scale new systems of learner-centered public education that will prepare every child for lifelong learning, meaningful work and informed citizenship. By deepening the linkage between Kentucky Out-of-School Alliance’s participation in the National Governor’s Association (NGA) Policy Academy and the Council of Chief State School Officers Innovation Lab Network, this policy initiative has the potential to transform how and where students earn competency-based credits that include anytime, anywhere learning opportunities. Watch video

Katie Kross

Project Coordinator
Georgia Afterschool Investment Council (Atlanta, GA)

Katie’s work thus far has been focused on building relationships with Governor Deal’s reading by third grade and the Georgia Campaign for Grade-Level Reading initiatives. She is working to ensure alignment between these initiatives and the out-of-school time field in Georgia and the use of the afterschool in achieving the larger goals of reading by third grade.

Cherry Penn

Afterschool/21st CCLC Programs Supervisor
Baldwin County Public Schools (Loxley, AL)

Cherry’s Policy Project focused on getting the Alabama Afterschool Community Network started. She worked with the Steering Committee to hire a Network Coordinator, establish policy that supports Afterschool through contacts with State Representatives and State Senators, and begin a mapping project of all afterschool programs for a map on the Network’s website. Watch video

Michelle Rich

Senior Program Manager
SPPG State Public Policy Group (Des Moines, IA)

Michelle Rich is the Senior Program Manager for SPPG State Public Policy Group in Des Moines, IA, which provides support to the Iowa Afterschool Alliance. The Iowa Afterschool Alliance has sought to establish itself as an influential group as education and afterschool policy has changed in the state. Michelle’s focus was on taking advantage of all of the current work in education reform and using this information to achieve developments in afterschool policy in Iowa. She sees the Iowa Afterschool Alliance playing key roles in reform and policy-making, including working with the Department of Education to inform the public and afterschool providers of any future changes in policy, serving as a resource in the newly-formed area of extended learning in Iowa, and advocating afterschool as an integral part of education reform. Watch video

Nyeema Watson

Director of Public School Partnerships
Office of the Chancellor; Rutgers University (Camden, NJ)

Nyeema C. Watson is working in partnership with the Executive Director of the Joint Committee on Public Schools in New Jersey to create an out of school time coordinating council which will study and recommend how to better coordinate, expand, finance and  improve accessible, affordable, and quality out-of-school time programming for school age children in all school districts in New Jersey. Watch video

Julie Wild-Curry

Program Director
21st Century Community Learning Center, Community After School Programs (Fairbanks, AK)

Julie’s policy project has been helping to establish an Alaska Statewide Afterschool Network.  Working with the Alaska Children’s Trust and interested partners across the state, Julie has started a steering committee and is working on strengthening existing partnerships and developing new ones.  It is Alaska’s intent to collaborate on preparing a Mott grant for submission this spring to further strengthen the Alaska Statewide Network. Watch video

Nicole Wilkins

Senior Communications and Policy Associate
Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership (Boston, MA)

Nicole has been working with the Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership (MAP) and our statewide and regional networks to demonstrate the need for state prioritization of afterschool, summer and out-of-school time (OST) programs through budgetary increases to state line items. As only 18% of Massachusetts’ approximately 1.3 million school-age children (K-12) have access to high-quality afterschool and OST programs, increasing access is a key priority area for the Massachusetts Network. To support this work, Nicole has also created a survey to conduct statewide research around program information, statistics and challenges, which will be used to help inform the newly created Afterschool and Out of School Time Coordinating Council. Watch video

Press Coverage

Furman UniversityUpstateBizSCThe Greenville NewsUpstateBizSCFurman University

Read a press release about Julie Wild-Curry


Comments from the inaugural 2012-2013 class:

“It has been an eye-opening experience for me not only to be part of the Fellowship but also to have
the opportunity to meet so many people passionate about the rights of the children to have a place to
go during out-of-school time. During the week together, I learned the essential tools needed to make
changes in policy in general and in particular for afterschool programs.”
Paula Adams, Program Manager, Fun 5 Program, Kahoomiki, Honolulu, HI


“The intensive week-long workshop helped me to evaluate my work towards increasing funding for
out-of-school time programs in South Dakota, gain new insights on how this work is being funded
across the country, focus on realistic goals and draft a short and long-term course of action.”
Erin Bofenkamp, Director, South Dakota Afterschool Partnership


“The WRP Policy fellowship program has increased capacity for Texas OST leaders to strengthen
citywide systems of support and bolstered energy to truly engage community and city leaders in
advocating for increased access to OST programs . It has allowed me to form critical support
networks among my fellowship colleagues across the country from Alaska to Alabama, interact with
key state and national leaders, and receive valuable mentorship from major movers and shakers in the field. This is a truly unique experience in achieving great goals with fervor and loud, empowered voices.”

Monica Armendariz, Director of Education/President, BeHive USA/ Central Texas Afterschool


“The White-Riley-Peterson Fellowship has been an amazing honor and learning experience. The
knowledge of all the instructors and facilitators along with the depth of combined knowledge of the restof the “Fellows” is helping me work with partners in Alaska to develop our plans for a Statewide Network.
Julie Wild-Curry, Program Director, 21st CCLC, Community After School Programs, Fairbanks, AK