Keynote Speakers

Keynotes 2018-01-08T14:50:05+00:00

Wednesday, March 21

Edward DeJesus, National Director, Workforce Development Policy and Programs for Youth Advocate Programs, Inc., Harrisburg, PA

Edward DeJesus was born and raised in the Bronx, New York where he started his career in several major youth initiatives in the South Bronx, Harlem and Washington Heights. DeJesus has blended his love for reaching youth with a special ability to impact policy by conducting research on effective programs that help youth acquire and maintain jobs. He served as a youth policy expert for the Sar Levitan Center for Youth Policy at Johns Hopkins University and on the Task Force on Employment Opportunities for young offenders for the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. DeJesus has served as a consultant to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the National Education Association.

DeJesus is the national director of Workforce Development Policy and Programs for Youth Advocate Programs, Inc., where he serves a network of 2,000 youth advocates in more than 100 cities dedicated to improving options for youth in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. He is a W.K. Kellogg Foundation National Fellow and holds a master’s degree in management and urban policy analysis from the New School for Social Research. DeJesus is the author of the best-selling book, “Makin’ It”.

In his keynote Afterschool Programs: Building Tomorrow’s Workforce, DeJesus will pull from his workforce development expertise to present on how afterschool providers can be a force in helping students with academic achievement, career exploration and workforce readiness skills.


Thursday, March 22

Frances Frost, Family Ambassador, United States Department of Education, Washington, DC

Frances Frost is a wife, mother, blogger and author with a passion for books and reading. She is an advocate for equitable opportunities for learning for all children and supporting parental engagement in education. An active member of the PTA since 2006, Frost is on the Board of the Maryland PTA, an officer in her children’s high school PTSA, and the immediate past president of the Montgomery County Council of PTAs (MCCPTA) in Maryland.

During her terms as MCCPTA president, Frost led efforts to identify the institutional practices and policies which created cultural and racial barriers to parent engagement in the school system and the PTA organization itself and proposed ways to address them. She represented parents on a number of school system committees, including annual operating and capital budgets, reviews of school improvement plans, principal and central administrators interviews, superintendent interviews, review of the choice/magnet school selection process, review of the scoring mechanism for school construction assessment, school architectural selection, and establishing the school calendar.

Frost has conducted workshops and trainings for parents in the county and at the National PTA convention. MCCPTA awarded her a Lifetime Achievement Award and Honorary Lifetime Membership in Maryland PTA in 2012.

As an author, Frost supports the necessity for greater diversity in books for all ages, adults as well as children. She is active in serving the Montgomery County community with her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and has been involved with her children’s various activities, including volunteering as a Girl Scout troop leader and a coach for Girls on the Run. Frost is a graduate of the Wake Forest University Babcock Graduate School of Management and the University of Delaware, and she is a former high school teacher.