Media gallery

Class of 2013-2014

The Riley Institute proudly announced its second class of White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellows who, beginning in September 2013, will spend 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.

The group was on Furman’s campus September 15 – 20, 2013. If you would like to view the White-Riley-Peterson Conference Schedule of Activitiesclick here.

Meet the 2013-14 class!



Valerie Bass

Colorado Alliance for Quality School Age Programs

Valerie is working to re-establish a Statewide Afterschool Network through two activities in support of partnership development in Colorado for OST programs. The first activity was a summit of approximately 75 stakeholders that was organized by the Colorado Afterschool Partnership (CAP) Team and funded by the Mott Statewide Afterschool Partnership Grant in spring 2014. The second activity is the ongoing convening of key statewide organizations to discuss collaboration for quality OST professional development throughout Colorado. Watch video

Richard Bates

Assistant Director
Young Audiences of Louisiana

Richard is working with Louisiana network lead Dara Shackelford to build consensus statewide in support of an afterschool policy platform. Two meetings with stakeholders took place in the fall of 2013, and more took place in spring 2014. Dara and Richard are also meeting with state legislators in spring and summer 2014 to further refine the policy agenda for the Network. Watch video

Tim Brurud

Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Line (Havre, Montana)

Tim is working to help form an effective afterschool network in Montana. He participates in the steering committee that was formed for this purpose and has used information gained from the Fellowship to influence the selection and recruitment of partners and the formulation of the network’s goals and mission statement. He worked with the steering committee to secure financial support and matching funds for a grant that was submitted to the Mott foundation. Watch video

Michele Corey

Interim President CEO
Michigan’s Children

Michele is working on the goal of rebuilding a fund for extended learning opportunities administered by the Michigan Department of Education. She will do this by facilitating participation from the extended learning community in current educational and workforce development initiatives, finding new Legislative champions to support funding, and building a fund dedicated to supporting extended learning opportunities managed by the 21st Century staff within the Department of Education.

Samantha Hedges

Youth Development Associate
Voices for Illinois Children, ACT Now Coalition

Samantha aims to increase college and career readiness in youth by integrating competency-based education opportunities in afterschool settings. This will be achieved by engaging K-12, higher education, and business leaders and educating them on the role afterschool plays in preparing youth for college and career. Once relationships are established, she will explore integrating competency-based education and credit acquisition opportunities, such as digital badging, in afterschool programs. She is working with P-20 Council members and the C-STEMBE collaborative to determine the best school district and afterschool program to begin this work. Watch video

Sheila James

Program Manager, After School Counts
After School Counts / Ed Council (Ohio)

Sheila is working with the Ohio Afterschool Network to develop STEM guidelines, a STEM survey, and a planning tool and training to be used to implement the guidelines in OST programs.  She is looking at guidelines, surveys, and training from other states, choosing what works best for Ohio and aligning that material to Ohio’s QSAT (Quality Self Assessment Tool), Core Knowledge & Competencies, and Quality Guidelines.

Cathy Wyatt Kitts

Education Center Director
Douglas-Cherokee Economic Authority (Tennessee)

Cathy is working toward her goal of strategizing with partners across the state to implement a state afterschool network by 2015. Partnering with the Mott-funded United Ways of Tennessee, she is working on the following objectives: engaging afterschool professionals including school personnel, parents, non-profits, social service, mental health, and strategically identified government agencies in the planning of the state network; designing and creating a state network web page; developing a network plan; and soliciting membership throughout the state.

Erica McCleskey

BOOST Director
BOOST (Building Opportunities in Out of School Time) (South Carolina)

Erica is working on broad-based funding for OST programs at a local level that can be scaled across the state. Engaging key representatives across multiple sectors (government, business, and philanthropy) to increase funding to and understand the importance of OST is critical to impacting youth outcomes.  Erica is providing research-based evidence of program impact to the aforementioned to establish a case for increased funding so more school-age children can access high quality programs. Additionally, with funding from a local philanthropy, BOOST is going through a strategic planning process and engaging representatives from multiple sectors to encourage support. Watch video

Joseph Morra

Project Manager, Quality Initiatives
Rhode Island Afterschool Plus Alliance

Joseph is working to build the foundation for a dedicated funding stream specific to summer learning in Rhode Island in FY2016. Based on his work in managing a statewide summer learning initiative, he  is engaging the Governor’s office and key state legislators to build a case for the positive difference that hands-on, experiential summer learning programs with an academic core have for children and youth. He is also building a varied group of potential allies and advocates, such as superintendents and principals, business professionals, librarians, and higher education institutions. He will engage constituents year round to become key advocates in promoting summer learning programs as a crucial and integral part of a child’s/youth’s educational experience. Watch video

Karen Olson

Venture Youth Alliance (North Dakota)

Karen has spent the last 18-24 months exploring the possibility of establishing a state afterschool network. North Dakota is experiencing extreme growth economically, but there is currently little to no trickledown effect for OST programming or any current policy development regarding OST or expanded learning opportunities.  Karen is bringing this issue to the statewide leadership to be more informed and educated in order to make data-driven decisions. The goal is to build the framework for a statewide network so there is a contact point for youth development organizations/entities to work collaboratively to connect resources with needs. Utilizing a collective voice North Dakota can bring these issues to the forefront with the state legislature and governor in the coming 1-2 years. Watch video

Shawn Petty

Technical Assistance Manager
Edvance Research (Texas)

Shawn is working to achieve a goal of establishing a permanent state funding stream for expanded learning. He is also working to increase summer learning time through the existing 21st CCLC Program and by working with a consultant to help drive the use of Title I funds for summer learning camps. He is developing a workforce development curriculum/program for secondary expanded learning programs to be funded by businesses as a way to fill skills gaps in workers. Finally, he is enlisting legislative, business, and community champions to draft and submit legislation for a funding stream for expanded learning time. Watch video


Pat Trotter
Division of Innovation and Partner Engagement
Kentucky Department of Education

Pat is working with others at the Department of Education to include expanded learning as part of the department’s strategic plan and policy. In collaboration with a key international education partner Pat is developing a proposal to launch a major revision for summer school in Kentucky communities. She is also working on the establishment of an afterschool game design project for high school students that will provide a mechanism for the students to earn credit toward meeting graduation requirements. This project is a collaborative effort with the University of Kentucky and Fayette County Public Schools. She is also working with the Kentucky Out of School Alliance to develop a database of afterschool and summer learning programs in the state. Pat has also established a strong working relationship with her City Councilwoman and is providing her with information on OST  in order to solicit additional support from city government for these programs, especially in the most at-risk neighborhoods. Watch video

Anna Wishart

Legislative Aide
Nebraska State Legislature

Anna and Senator Kowalski are working to draft legislation for the establishment of a two-year Blue Ribbon Task Force on Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs) tasked with reviewing existing state and local programs and policies on expanded learning and developing an extensive report with appropriate recommendations in year one and then implementing recommendations from the report in year two. This bill was turned into an interim study for 2014.  In 2015, Anna will help Matt Bloomstedt request a sum of money for ELOs in the Nebraska Department of Education’s budget, and Senator Kolowski will introduce legislation that uses lottery money to fund a statewide granting program for ELOs. Throughout the year, Anna collaborated with Jeff Cole, Nebraska network lead, and the Beyond School Bells network team to plan goals and outcomes for 2014 and 2015.

Marlene Zeug

Institutional Analyst II
Hawai’i Department of Education

With the Mott Foundation’s planning grant, Hawaii has convened a ‘design team’ that has been meeting with stakeholders on six islands. These conversations and an online survey will determine which of the four priorities (training, program standards, advocacy, and data/evaluation) will frame the network’s initial year of implementation. A summit to follow these smaller meetings was held in mid-March 2014. Given Hawaii’s current landscape, there is a tremendous opportunity to successfully establish a robust, strategic, and coordinated network in partnership with the DOE. Watch video