Speakers 2021-02-16T19:07:26+00:00

Keynote Speaker

H. Richard Milner IV, Ph.D., Cornelius Vanderbilt Distinguished Professor of Education, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 9:00 a.m. │Opportunity-Centered Teaching in Afterschool Programs: Six Imperatives

H. Richard Milner IV’s (Rich) research, teaching and policy interests concern urban education, teacher education, African American literature, and the social context of education. Milner’s research examines practices and policies that support teacher effectiveness in urban schools. His work has appeared in numerous journals, and he has published seven books. His most recent are: Start Where You Are But Don’t Stay There: Understanding Diversity, Opportunity Gaps, and Teaching in Today’s Classrooms, Rac(e)ing to Class: Confronting Poverty and Race in Schools and Classrooms, and These Kids Are Out of Control: Why We Must Reimagine Classroom Management for Equity.

Each conference registrant will receive a copy of Milner’s Start Where You Are But Don’t Stay There in advance of the conference.

Workshop Presenters

Adán Alvarez, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey

Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 10:45 a.m. | Facilitated Discussion on Equity in Afterschool Programs

While his research aims to support all educators in K-12 settings, Adán Alvarez, Ph.D., is particularly interested in educators who work with children of color, children living in urban environments, and children who are exposed to violence and trauma. Alvarez uses various race-based, analytic frameworks and diverse methodological approaches to study how race and racism shape the social context of education across various settings. Featured in Theory into Practice, Equity and Excellence in Education, and Teaching Education, his scholarship contributes to a growing body of research, attempting to shift our institutional approaches toward preparing future educators and researchers to recognize and disrupt longstanding school and social inequalities.

As Assistant Professor of Urban Education in the Department of Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Education, Alvarez teaches graduate courses, such as critical pedagogy, power and privilege, and other topics related to urban education. Additionally, he is a core faculty member in the Urban and Diverse Educational Systems, an area of concentration within Rowan’s Ph.D. in Education program for students seeking to either specialize in urban education research or broaden their understanding of and interdisciplinary approaches to exploring race, equity and justice across various school and social contexts.

B.A., Psychology, Huston-Tillotson University; M.Ed., Educational Leadership and Policy, University of Texas at Austin; Ph.D., Social and Comparative Analysis in Education, University of Pittsburgh.

Jacob Bennett, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 10:45 a.m. | Facilitated Discussion on Equity in Afterschool Programs

Jacob Bennett taught high school social studies, mainly economics and U.S. History, in Atlanta, Georgia, and Nashville, Tennessee, from 2008-2014. Central to his teaching philosophy was that learning best occurs when teachers and students share in trusting and meaningful relationships. Jake came to believe that teachers must seek to understand the complex relationship between identity and power and how this contributes to their and their students’ daily experiences.

Since leaving the classroom, Jake is working toward the development of an empirical knowledge base to show how teachers’ ideological backgrounds can affect decisions of practice in the classroom related to supporting historically marginalized youth.

Jacob earned a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Virginia in May 2018, and currently works as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University.

Jennifer Brevoort, Senior Consultant, Development Without Limits, Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 9:00 a.m. | Families: Your Key to Successful OST Programming

Jennifer Brevoort is a Senior Consultant for Development Without Limits, an education and professional development organization. Jennifer is also the co-founder of PopUpPlay, an organization focused on connecting diverse families, building relationships, and fostering confidence in the power of playful learning. She embraces the frequent innovation in online learning and works with the Development Without Limits online learning team to contribute to training development. Jennifer’s experience includes running youth programs, supporting youth workforce development professionals as well as coaching afterschool leaders to develop their emotional intelligence.

Katie Butcher, LEAP Program Specialist, Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 9:00 a.m. | Afterschool Reimagined: The Virtual Pivot in Mentoring Youth

Katie Butcher joined LEAP as an Afterschool Leader in August 2018, creating and facilitating after school activities for youth at the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Fishtown branch. Previously, Katie worked as the Quality Coordinator at The J.M. Smucker Company. Before she became an expert on jams and jellies, she was the senior teacher at EF English First in Shijiazhuang, China, where she trained and onboarded teachers and taught English language learners of all ages. Katie has a bachelor’s degree in English and a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification from Kent State University and is currently halfway through her MLIS at Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

Tabitha Choquette, Assistant Director of Programs, The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa

Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 9:00 a.m. | Introduction to Implementing CHARACTER COUNTS! for PreK Through 12th Grade Educators


Tabitha Choquette is Assistant Director of Programs for The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University. The mission of The Ray Center is to improve civility through character development and ethical leadership. As part of the programming team, Tabitha designs and delivers professional development to help individuals and organizations focus on leadership and character development.

Tabitha grew up in a suburb of Chicago and graduated from University of Kentucky with a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education. After graduation, she moved to Iowa where she began her career in early childhood education teaching preschool. She served as Director of two of the leading Des Moines metro early childhood programs prior to joining the team at The Ray Center in 2018.

Lori Delale-O’Connor, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 10:45 a.m. | Facilitated Discussion on Equity in Afterschool Programs

Lori Delale-O’Connor, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of education at the Center for Urban Education at the University of Pittsburgh. Delale-O’Connor served as the Center’s associate director for research and development from 2014 to 2017. Her teaching, research and policy interests focus on urban education, sociology of education, positive child and youth development, and parent education.

Delale-O’Connor received a Ph.D. in Sociology from Northwestern University where she was also a certificate fellow in the Multidisciplinary Program in Education Sciences — a pre-doctoral training program funded by the Institute of Education Sciences. Delale-O’Connor’s work has received support from the National Science Foundation, Spencer Foundation, and Institute of Education Sciences (IES). She was recently the co-PI for an IES funded feasibility study examining the information provided for parents and students to make schooling choices.

Delale-O’Connor also holds an M.Ed. in secondary education from Boston College where she was a Donovan Urban Scholar and taught secondary social studies in the Boston Public Schools.

Prior to joining the School of Education, Delale-O’Connor was a research scientist at Child Trends, a nonprofit research center focused on improving the well-being of children across the lifespan. There she designed and conducted evaluations of programs serving children and youth.

Jovan Ellis, LEAP Content Developer, Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 9:00 a.m. | Afterschool Reimagined: The Virtual Pivot in Mentoring Youth

Jovan Ellis has been with Free Library’s Literacy Enrichment Afterschool Program (LEAP) since fall 2018, developing curriculum, leading activity training, and hiring adult and teen aftershock facilitators. Before LEAP, Jovan worked in higher education with a focus on college admissions counseling, intercultural competence and access, he served as the program coordinator for student leadership groups, and he worked on several social impact projects for clients such as the United Nations and the Ford Foundation. Jovan has a master’s degree in Emergent Media and in Executive Leadership from Champlain College in Vermont.

Andrew Francis, Education Specialist, You for Youth, Mount Laurel, New Jersey

Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 9:00 a.m. | STEM in Summer Learning

Andrew Francis is an Education Specialist for the US Department of Education’s You for Youth Team. Andrew provides training and technical assistance to out-of-school time programs. Prior to moving to the United States, Andrew spent more than a decade working for Jamaica’s Ministry of Education as Senior Education Officer, trainer and project manager in school improvement planning, curriculum development and education policy implementation. He was instrumental in supporting over 150 public schools through their transition into the new National Standards Curriculum, helping to bridge the divide between people in the field and people making policy. Andrew has first-hand experience on both sides of the equation, including serving as Site Director for an out-of-school time program. Andrew holds a Diploma in Teaching from Shortwood Teachers College and the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica as well as a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communication.

Shauna F. King, Professional Development Specialist, King Professional Development Services, Greenbelt, Maryland

Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 9:00 a.m. | The WOW Factor: Developing and Delivering Engaging Training for Adults


Shauna F. King has a talent and passion for connecting with educators, leaders and parents. She partners with more than 150 schools to improve school climate, student behavior and student engagement. Shauna is a former principal, PBIS coordinator and classroom teacher with over 20 years of experience in public and non-public school settings. Her experience and passion have led to invitations to co-present with education expert Eric Jensen (author, “Teaching With the Brain in Mind”) and share with national and international audiences. Shauna is the author of “School Smart: It’s More Than Just Reading and Writing” (available on Amazon) and multiple national journal articles.

David Kline, Watershed Education Specialist, Stroud Water Research Center, Avondale, Pennsylvania

Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 9:00 a.m. | Blending Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences into 21st Century Afterschool Programs

David Kline is a Watershed Education Specialist at Stroud Water Research Center where the focus is the advancement of knowledge and stewardship of freshwater systems through global research, education and watershed restoration. David is part of the education department that develops and facilitates multidisciplinary programs and professional development to kindergarten through gray audiences. He spent 14 years in the classroom as a science teacher for middle and upper elementary students infusing sustainability and an appreciation of nature through curriculum and projects in ecology, watersheds and agriculture. David’s goal is to educate and inspire teachers and students to be knowledgeable, motivated and empowered citizens who proactively strive to live more sustainably and improve the quality of life for all. His love of the outdoors was fostered by growing up in the Adirondacks, attending the University of Vermont, and living in the mountains of Colorado.

Jeff Kluever, Director of Programs and Administration, The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa

Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 9:00 a.m. | Introduction To Implementing CHARACTER COUNTS! for Pre-K Through 12th Grade Educators


Jeff Kluever is the Director of Programs and Administration for The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University, home of CHARACTER COUNTS!. The mission of The Ray Center is to improve civility through character development and ethical leadership. To that end, Jeff designs and delivers programming and professional development to help individuals and organizations achieve optimal performance through intentional culture building and leadership development.

A native of Norwalk, Iowa, Jeff graduated from Grinnell College with a bachelor’s degree in History and his Initial Teaching License. After teaching and coaching at the high school level for several years, Jeff accepted a coaching position with the Wartburg College football team. After one season at Wartburg, he served as a Graduate Assistant football coach at Carroll University in Wisconsin, while also earning a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Jeff then worked as the Executive Director of the Allen County Historical Society in Iola, Kansas for two and half years before accepting a position as the Education Supervisor at Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier in Petersburg, Virginia. He and his wife returned to Iowa in 2015.

Wendy Kubasko, Ed.D., Assistant Professor Educational Leadership & Special Education, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania

Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 9:00 a.m. | Leading Through Change

Wendy Kubasko received her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Innovation from the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. Her research centers on the use of collaborative learning for school and district leaders around common problems of practice. Currently, Wendy is an Assistant Professor and Coordinator for the Educational Leadership Program at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.

Khyra Lammers, LEAP Teen Specialist, Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 9:00 a.m. | Afterschool Reimagined: The Virtual Pivot in Mentoring Youth

Khyra Lammers joined the LEAP team in February 2018 as LEAP Teen Specialist. Previously, Khyra worked as Bloomberg Arts Internship Youth Manager at the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, Outreach Specialist for the Free Library’s Get HYPE Philly! teen culinary program, and Academy Teaching Assistant grades 6-8 at Mighty Writers. Currently, Khyra serves on two trauma-informed committees through the Free Library of Philadelphia and PHENND network. She is an IMLS fellow in Drexel University’s Community-based librarianship graduate certification program.

Adam Lavallee, Ph.D., Mathematics and Economics Teacher, Springfield, Pennsylvania

Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 9:00 a.m. | How To Better Engage Students Online: Math and More!


Adam Lavallee teaches Mathematics and Economics at Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, and serves as a Learning Design Coach with Global Online Academy. Adam holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Temple University and undergraduate Mathematics degree from Hamilton College. His interests and research include analytics, behavioral economics, sports, the labor force, and personal finance. Adam has presented at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Annual Meeting, Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools Biennial Conference, and Online Education Symposium for Independent Schools Conference.

David McConnell, Lead Training Specialist, You for Youth, Mount Laurel, New Jersey

Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 9:00 a.m. | STEM in Summer Learning

David McConnell provides training, technical assistance and out-of-school time resources for afterschool and summer programs. David has more than five years of experience in OST learning, primarily focused on student activities and youth programming. Prior to joining the Y4Y Team, David worked in educational publishing at Macmillan Learning; his work at Macmillan involved developing training materials for educational software and providing in-person and online training for teachers and administrators. David holds a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in Education from Rowan University, as well as a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Georgia Southern University.

Tamara Peffer, Environment and Ecology Content Advisor, Pennsylvania Department of Education, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 9:00 a.m. | Blending Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences Into 21st Century Afterschool Programs

Tamara Peffer is the Environment and Ecology Curriculum Advisor at the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Previously, Tamara was a communications liaison for the Bureau of State Parks. She taught at Reading Area Community College and worked as an environmental education specialist at the Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center. Tamara has a bachelor’s degree from Kutztown and a master’s degree from Drexel University.

Shaunta Singer, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 10:45 a.m. | Facilitated Discussion on Equity in Afterschool Programs

Dr. Singer has been in the field of special education for 20 years. She began her career as an elementary special education teacher in D.C. Public Schools later becoming a coordinator and department chairperson. After several years, she left the classroom and became a Special Education Director of a charter school bringing it into federal and state compliance. While pursuing her doctorate degree, she studied special education, administration and the research to practice gap.

Dr. Singer has served as a regional education consultant for the largest region in Texas providing professional development to both teachers, administrators and staff. Her main focus has been on ensuring students with disabilities have access and make progress in the general education curriculum. In her current role, she supports students with disabilities as they transition through school and out of high school. Her research and interest heavily emphasize the Universal Design for Learning Framework, used to ensure all students have opportunities to engage in learning and are provided options for authentic learning.

In addition, Dr. Singer explores tools to support students with disabilities in school and in everyday life to ensure meaningful and engaging participation in learning and the world. Her passion for helping those who support students with disabilities is evident through her lively and engaging professional development and positive attitude toward inclusive education.

Dr. Singer is married to an Associate Professor of Health and Kinesiology/Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion for the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University. They have two daughters, Journey Justice (five) and Jordyn Truth (three) who they love and adore.

Heather Sparks, LEAP Out-of-School Program Manager, Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 9:00 a.m. | Afterschool Reimagined: The Virtual Pivot in Mentoring Youth

Heather Sparks has nearly 20 years of library experience and more than seven years managing LEAP, the Free Library of Philadelphia’s premier OST program. Prior to joining the Free Library, Heather worked in academic and private libraries, and briefly taught at the high school level. A certified Teen Life Coach (Center for Social Emotion Wellness, 2017), Heather has presented on the importance of hiring and working with teens at conferences such as Beyond School Hours and National Summer Learning Association, and she remains committed to meeting the ever-changing needs of the youth of Philadelphia. Heather has a MLIS from Drexel University, and completed her undergraduate work in English literature and secondary education at St. Joseph’s University.