BOOST CONFERENCE LEADERSHIP TEAM
The BOOST Leadership Team is critically important to the success of our event. This amazing Team is guided by the National BOOST Conference Advisory Board and provides big ideas, new connections, practical strategies and adds credibility to the planning process. This comprehensive Leadership Team represents the diversity of after school and out-of-school time programs and includes representatives serving at all levels of the field. We are a quality conference truly planned by after school professionals, adding voice and value to the needs of the field.
Karen Cantrell, Independent Consultant
Karen Cantrell, MA, has more than 25 years of professional experience in designing, directing and supporting district-led, community-based and faith-based afterschool programs and is a recognized leader in the field. As a consultant for the Los Angeles County Office of Education, the Center for Collaborative Solutions and several school districts, she has closely worked with leadership teams, staff members and district administrators at all levels and has made a difference in the lives of thousands of children and their families and communities. She has 10 years of experience conducting formative evaluations that have had a positive impact on program quality. Karen graduated from National University with a Bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science, earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Concordia University and holds a certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University.
Top 5 Strengths: Positivity | Woo | Includer | Developer | Belief
Kai Dickens, Life and Business Coach
Defining Your Dash, San Diego CA
As an athlete, Kai learned the power of motivating and inspiring his teammates to be the best they could be. As a senior program director at the YMCA, he was able to take the skills he learned in his youth and apply them to creating a culture where his staff team felt supported and inspired, making them willing and excited to really get behind huge visions.
After 9+ years of experience managing, training and leading teams of 200+ employees in the non profit world, he realized that his passion and talents were in the land of empowering and coaching others to reach their fullest potential, both personally and professionally
Currently, he works with leaders to improve their individual leadership and communication skills, cultivate relationships that empower others, create structures for improved efficiency, and systems that optimize productivity. He also puts a lot of focus on helping individuals work on their leadership presence, charisma and remembering how to have fun. Defining Your Dash was born from his vision of supporting others in creating a life by design and empowering them to live life how they want to live it!
Top 5 Strengths: Competition | Significance | Woo | Self Assurance | Strategy
Eddie Garcia, Director of After School Programs
Lennox School District, Lennox, CA
Eddie Garcia has been the Director of the After School Program in the Lennox School District for the last 5 years, working to provide a safe environment for students to participate in a quality after school program that has a strong Youth Development focus. Prior to the after school program, Eddie was the coordinator of the "El Espejo" Mentoring program. El Espejo is a reputable program in the district that has been in existence for over 15 years. It matches middle school student with Loyola Marymount University students to provide academic mentoring and college awareness.
Eddie graduated from California State University, Dominguez Hills in 1999, where he received his degree in Liberal Arts. After raising his teenage nephew and niece because of the passing of his beloved sister, Eddie pursued a Masters Degree in Public Administration from California State University, Long Beach. He strongly believes that higher education is the key to success and continuously reinforces it with the students of Lennox. He is a Site Reviewer with the Los Angeles County Office of Education After School Division, a Youth Development Trainer with WestEd, and a member of the LACOE Work-Plan Advisory Group, which serves as the executive committee for after school programs in Los Angeles County. One of the experiences that he enjoys most is being a Site Reviewer because it allows him time to connect with other after school programs in the county to enhance the after school experience for student in the Southern California area.
Top 5 Strengths: Adaptability | Relator | Deliberative | Ideation | Belief
Edward Gardiner, Associate Program Director
YMCA of Greater Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
Eddie Gardiner is currently an Associate Program Director for the YMCA of Greater Long Beach where he oversees two elementary school after school programs. He has been a part of after school programing for the last nine years where he has worked as a Program Leader, Assistant Site Director and Site Director. Eddie Holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies with a focus in Language and Literacy from California State University Long Beach. In 2011 he decided to go back to school to earn his Masters Degree in Public Administration with a focus in Organizational Leadership. In Addition to his responsibilities with after programs in Long Beach he also holds the title of College Readiness Director where he helps youth gain access to higher education. Eddie is also a part of After School University, a national training team who provides professional development opportunities for after school professionals.
Eddie married his best friend and partner in crime Dana August 2013. In his free time Eddie enjoys hiking, cycling, cooking and spending time with his family and friends.
Top 5 Strengths: Communication | Ideation | Strategic | Self-Assurance | Command
Mary Jo Ginty, Region 11 Lead
Los Angeles County Office of Education, Downey, CA
Mary Jo Ginty is the Regional Lead/Program Coordinator overseeing the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) After School Technical Assistance Unit. This Unit provides staff training and development, consultation and technical assistance services to the 1300+ school sites providing after school programs funded through the After School Education and Safety Program (ASES) and/or 21st Century Community Learning Center grants. Over 130,000 students participate in these programs which also provide over 10,000 employment opportunities in the county. Ms. Ginty directed and oversaw after school programs at the elementary, middle and high school level; she has experienced the power of change these programs bring to students and their families. Her professional experiences over the past years include: Owner of a successful consulting firm, highschool teacher, high school principal, college professor, lobbyist and community organizer. She holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from UCLA and a Bachelors Degree in Business and Social Welfare Administration from Ursuline College. Her spare time is spent enjoying her family, leading a Junior Girl Scout troop, music and cooking in all forms and sitting on the Board of Directors of her 10 year old daughter’s school.
Mary Jo Ginty believes that after school programs have the potential to assist youth to gain the skill sets, tools and knowledge and have the experiences necessary to Make A Life for themselves and their families.
Suzanne Hill, Program Manager
OC STEM Initiative, Corona Del Mar, CA
Suzanne Hill has been working in out-of-school time programs for the last 13 years. She started working in the field as a front line staff member among various programs. After college she continued working in the expanded learning field as a Site Coordinator for various programs. She accepted a promotion to the Program Manager position overseeing 10 ASES funded program sites. Suzanne also co-facilitated a Local Learning Community, a program within the Los Angeles County Office of Education during the 2014-2015 program year. She is currently the Program Manager for OC STEM Initiative, continuing her work within the expanded learning field.
Suzanne received her Bachelors degree in Global Studies with a minor in Sociology from Azusa Pacific University in 2006. During her time as an undergraduate, she interned with two community based, out-of-school time programs based in Los Angeles, CA and Philadelphia, PA. She also spent three months interning with two group homes and a local elementary school in Northern Thailand. She has continued to find her passion for others by working with communities through building educational possibilities through out-of-school time programs.
When Suzanne is not a work; she enjoys photography, the beach, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. Her one-year-old son keeps her rather busy these days!
Top 5 Strengths: Developer | Realtor
| Connectedness | Positivity | Learner
Bobby Klein, Regional Marketing Director
Central Region of YMCA of San Diego County, San Diego, CA
Bobby Klein is the Regional Marketing Director for the Central Region of the YMCA of San Diego County. He specializes in new media marketing via social networks, video, web and design. Before moving to his current position he was the Operations Director for the Youth Institute, a nationally recognized youth program based in Long Beach, CA. He has also trained and authored trainings for Afterschool University, a national training organization that promotes best practices in after school programming. He currently is leading the marketing charge for a brand new 53,000 square foot YMCA in City Heights, San Diego, CA. Bobby holds a Master's Degree from Azusa Pacific University in Educational Counseling and does graphic and web design on the side. Bobby enjoys quality design, snowboarding, cycling and fishing from his kayak. He is married to his self-proclaimed high school sweetheart, Jenny. They currently reside in their hometown of Escondido, CA.
Top 5 Strengths: Woo | Ideation | Strategic | Communication | Includer
Marisol Moreno-Villegas, Education Coordinator
Options for Learning, Covina CA
Marisol Moreno is an Education Coordinator for the Options for Learning Enrichment Program, she loves working with the youth and inspiring her students and teachers. She has worked in the after school field for over 10 years now and has loved every minute of it. Her passion for this field came from her experience growing up in East L.A, where she was lucky to have both encouraging and empowering educators as well as educators on the other end of the spectrum; uninspired and indifferent, an experience she has taken to heart and learned from. She graduated from CSUN in 2009 with a degree in Chicana/o Studies, a major she chose because of her roots as well as for her passion and love for her community and the history of its people. She has been described as quirky and energetic, which are two things that come in handy when working in the after school field.
Top 5 Strengths: Restorative | Achiever | Developer | Responsibility | Input
Darlene Mosher, Program Administrator
The Learning Connection, Pomona Unified School District, Pomona, CA
Darlene Mosher has been working in the educational field for the past 15 years. She currently oversees the afterschool program for Pomona Unified School District supporting 21 school sites, approximately 150 staff members and about 2,000 students daily. Darlene began her educational career working as a classroom teacher in 2nd, 3rd and 5th grades. After running various District categorical programs for 5 years, Darlene began her work with afterschool programs in 2009.
Darlene truly cherishes the impact that expanded learning programs have on student success and well-being. She loves being an advocate for children and is excited about the future these programs hold in the educational field.
Darlene has a bachelor's degree in accounting from Cal State Fullerton, and holds a current CPA license for the state of California. She returned to school in 2000 and receive her single subject math and multiple subject teaching credentials from University of La Verne, as well as a Master's degree in Education. In 2005 she received her Administrative Credential from Cal Poly Pomona. Darlene lives in La Verne with her husband of 33 years, Mike and enjoys spending time with her two grown daughters, son-in-law and two grandsons, ages 1 and 3.
Top 5 Strengths: Analytical | Responsibility | Learner | Restorative | Focus
Michelle R. Perrenoud, Project Coordinator
Los Angeles County Office of Education, Downey, CA
Michelle R. Perrenoud has worked in the fields of youth development, organizational leadership, and after school for the past twenty years. She currently works with the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) in the Curriculum and Instructional Services (CIS) Division. She is the Region 11 Project Coordinator for the After School Technical Assistance Unit. Michelle serves as the Regional Facilitator for the 21st CCLC ASSETs Learning Community and provides technical assistance and capacity building for more than 120 21st CCLC ASSETs funded programs throughout Los Angeles County. She is a member of the California Department of Education statewide high school ASSETs Planning Group. Michelle is also the founder and principle of Mindset Solutions: A Leadership Training, Development, and Coaching Firm.
Michelle’s wide-ranging experience and her ability to bring together individuals from different communities to create common solutions together make her a powerful, effective voice. She leads by example, by inspiring a shared vision and demonstrating a commitment to civic engagement and to the goal of making a positive impact in community. Her experience in developing youth and leading after school programs began while working with the YMCA. One of her areas of specialization includes teaching youth leadership and working with older youth to become leaders in their community. Additionally, she is passionate about teaching youth development and building the leadership capacity of after school program leaders. Michelle is recognized for her ability as a leader to empower others around her to cultivate their best self and lead from their current position.
ElizaBeth Parker Phillips, Program Development Director
Child Development, Inc.Sacramento, CA
ElizaBeth Parker Phillips, or PEP to her camp friends, has found the perfect way to blend her backgrounds in Recreation and Youth Development. She has 20 years of experience in the field including past work in camping, inclusive recreation, school age care, ASES & 21stCCLC programs, and as a college instructor. She currently works for Child Development Inc, as a Program Development Director overseeing school age programming, camp development, and program quality assurance. Her favorite part of her job is seeing the evidence of empowered youth. She is passionate about many things, but most importantly all youth having the opportunity to be successful- however they define success. ElizaBeth is an involved community member in the Sacramento area and co-leads a Girl Scout troop. She enjoys spending time with her family, watching cartoons, singing loudly & off key, and attempting craft projects she finds on Pinterest. years of experience in the field including past work in camping, inclusive recreation, school age care, ASES & 21stCCLC programs, and as a college instructor. She currently works for Child Development Inc, as a Program Development Director overseeing school age programming, camp development, and program quality assurance. Her favorite part of her job is seeing the evidence of empowered youth. She is passionate about many things, but most importantly all youth having the opportunity to be successful- however they define success. ElizaBeth is an involved community member in the Sacramento area and co-leads a Girl Scout troop. She enjoys spending time with her family, watching cartoons, singing loudly & off key, and attempting craft projects she finds on Pinterest.
Sherri Pietanza, Executive Operations Manager
Financial Fitness Group, San Diego, CA
Sherri grew up in Colmbia, SC where she attended the University of South Carolina and received a bachelor's degree in Business Administration. She moved to San Diego in 1992 when she began a successful career in Human Resources at Sony Electronics. After several years at Sony, she made the difficult decision to leave the company to become a stay-at-home mom. While raising three amazing kids, she continued to be employed on a part-time basis in hospitality, customer service, and education as a pre-school teacher. She also became an active volunteer within the school district.
All of her work and life experiences over the years as a business woman, events coordinator, teacher and mom and her passion for childhood education/development have led her to BOOST. She has been the Volunteer Coordinator for the Annual BOOST Conference in Palm Springs for the last two years and now joins the BOOST Leadership Team as its newest member.
Top 5 Strengths: Developer | Positivity | Harmony | Individualization | Empathy
BOOST Collaborative, San Diego, CA
Tia fell in love with after school programs in 1992 while working in Hartford, CT as an art teacher and later the Program Director in the Asylum Hill community. Tia spent the first part of her west coast experience working at an after school program and later as a Program Director, overseeing programming at 65 before and after school programs through Harmonium Children's Services, one of the largest after school providers in California. Tia also served for 5 years as the Co-Lead for Region 9 Technical Assistance Center, After School Programs at the San Diego County Office of Education. In this capacity, she supported over 600 after school program sites in San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties, serving over 100,000 students annually. While in this role, Tia managed numerous regional and statewide committees and after school initiatives.
In the regional lead capacity, Tia and her team were the 2005 recipients of the California School Board Association's Golden Bell Award for Partnerships and Collaboratives as well as the Cities, Counties, and Schools (CCS) Partnership Award 2005. Additionally, Tia is the recipient of the 2001 Director of the Year, awarded by Mentor San Diego; the California School-Age Consortium's 2006 Award of Excellence, Program Administrator of the Year; and the 2013 STEVIE® Bronze Award for Women In Business under the category of Female Executive of the Year – Business Services.. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Center for Collaborative Solutions, Sacramento, CA and believes in the CCS mission to help others discover innovative and effective ways to achieve shared goals. Most recently, Tia is a member of Entrepreneur's Organizations' Accelerator program and is eagerly pursuing her mission to take her ideas and company to the next level.
As an Out-of-School Time Consultant, Tia presents customized workshops and staff development seminars at numerous local, state and national conferences. Tia works closely with school district administrators, CEO's, non-profit agencies, program directors, supervisors, and line staff to increase student retention, promote academic achievement, and overall student success through quality, engaging staff development opportunities.
Tia is currently the Founder and CEO of the BOOST (Best of Out-of-School Time) Collaborative, a purpose-driven organization supporting global out-of-school time professionals through state-of-the-art professional development opportunities, program and resource development, and community partnership advancement. BOOST advocates for quality out-of-school time programming, offers opportunities to share promising practices, and provides a variety of training and consulting services.
Tia is also the founder of the annual BOOST Conference in Palm Springs, California, the nation's largest conference for after school and out-of-school time educators, convening all levels of key stakeholders to initiate change and inspire successful programming. The BOOST conference includes over 150 workshops, 100 Exhibitors, Film Festival, 5-mile Tour de BOOST charity bike ride, Town Hall meetings, Master Classes, networking opportunities and special events.
Tia is passionate about creating positive change for today's youth as well as the people, communities, and partners supporting them in the out-of-school time hours. She loves driving her golf cart around San Diego and seeking new travel adventures with friends.
Top 5 Strengths: Responsibility | Relator | Achiever | Belief | Connectedness
Carola Secada, Director of Programs
Camino Nuevo Charter Academy Los Angeles, CA
Carola Secada, B.A. in Psychology and Social Behavior from University of California, Irvine, has 9 years of experience as a Youth Worker. Carola has been working for the YMCA for the past 8 years and is currently the After School Operations and Training Director. She oversees grant requirements are fulfilled for the 21st Century Community Schools and ASES After School programs, including the successful implementation of the balanced literacy program. She also is the lead for After School University, which is a comprehensive practitioner based training program for after school staff with the ultimate goal of helping youth succeed in school, at home and in life. Carola is a member of the BOOST Conference Leadership Team, enjoys traveling and loves to laugh out loud.
Top 5 Strengths: Ideation | Woo | Input | Communication | Activator
Becky Shultz, Director of After School Program
Whittier City School District, Whittier, CA
Becky Shultz holds a Masters Degree and Pupil Personnel Services Credential from California State University Long Beach. She began her counseling career at Orangewood Children's Home (then called Albert Sitton Home) in 1976 and later changed her focus to Elementary School Counseling when she graduated in 1984. This continued until 1999, when approached about writing a grant to support an after school program in Whittier City School District. She has been the Director of After School Programs for Whittier City School District for 10 years. In addition, Becky is a member of the Workplan Advisory Group (WAG), a Co-Facilitator for LLC#2, BOOST Leadership Team, a Peer Reviewer, a Mentor and a board member for Helpline Youth Counseling Inc. She is married to Terry Shultz and has two wonderful daughters, Nicole and Kristen.
Top 5 Strengths: Input | Ideation | Connectedness | Learner | Belief
Jim Stephens, Director of Child Development Services
Orange Unified School District, Orange, CA
Since 1990, Jim Stephens has been the director of the Child Development Services department with Orange Unified School District, in Orange County. The Child Development Services department includes the 23 School Age Care “SAC” programs, preschools and the child development programs located throughout the district, serving over 1700 children. Jim has been working in the afterschool field since 1978. In addition to undergraduate degrees in Child Development and Business, Jim has a Masters in Education, which has allowed him the opportunity to teach human development courses at Cal State Fullerton and the local community colleges in Orange County. He has been involved with the BOOST Conference for many years and enjoys serving on the Leadership Team. Jim has been married to Barbara since 1993 and they are the extremely proud parents of their daughter Waverly, who was born in 1996, and son Spencer, born in 1999.
Top 5 Strengths: Positivity | Maximizer | Futuristic | Developer | Strategic
Heather Williams, Strategic Initiatives Coordinator
After School Division, California Department of Education, Sacramento, CA
Heather currently serves as the Strategic Initiatives Coordinator for ASD. Since August 2012, she has managed the strategic planning process that will help reshape the division to include a strong emphasis on providing high quality expanded learning opportunities to students throughout the state. As a key component of this work, she has helped ensure strong, ongoing engagement of external stakeholders and advisors throughout this process. Prior to her work in this position, she worked at the State Treasurer's Office (STO) in several capacities. She served as a Treasury Analyst focusing on Environmental Finance at the California Alternative Energy & Advanced Transportation Financing Authority. In that role, she worked on program development and implementation for new green financial incentives within California. Before that, she served as an analyst in the Public Finance Division developing a solid foundation in the area of public bond financing. Prior to that work, Heather was selected for the Executive Fellowship Program where she was subsequently placed in the STO Executive Office (www.csus.edu/calst/executive_fellowship_program.html).
Heather received her BA in Political Science from CSU Fullerton. During that time, she was heavily involved with student advocacy work primarily with the Associated Students, Inc. including serving as President and CEO between 2006 and 2008 and as a member of the California State Student Association's Executive Committee and Board of Directors from 2006 to 2008.
Top 5 Strengths: Achiever | Self-Assurance | Ideation | Strategic | Learner
Andrea Seals Wilson, Executive Coordinator
BOOST Collaborative, San Diego, CA
Andrea Seals Wilson became a sunny San Diegan after transferring to UC San Diego where she received her B.A. in Communication. After holding jobs in sales and administration, Andrea decided she wanted to make a greater social impact. She is very involved with a local nonprofit, Women’s Empowerment International (WE), which fundraises for women to work their way out of poverty through small business microloans. She’s currently Co-Chair of WE’s Special Events Committee and sits on the Board of Directors. With a deep desire to create a positive community and global impact, Andrea is excited to join the BOOST team as Executive Coordinator to continue the shared mission of doing social good!
Although Andrea and her husband Drew take any opportunity for a road trip to their hometown of Fresno, CA to visit friends and family, they also enjoy their San Diego lifestyle and all its amenities. When they’re not relaxing at their OB home with their dog and bunny, they can be found enjoying the sunny coastline, local community events and exploring local cuisine. They are permanent tourists that take advantage of the playground that is San Diego. If you have a recommendation, send it their way.
Lissa Tsu, Community Manager
Idealist, San Diego, CA
Lissa, a native Californian has worked in the education field for nine years in Boston, Columbus and Chicago before returning to San Diego in 2011. Lissa holds a B.A. in Communications from Boston College where she volunteered with Peace Games, now Peace First, teaching young people the skills of peacemaking in the Boston Public Schools. After graduating from Boston College, Lissa took a position as an Americorps member for two years in Columbus, Ohio where she taught conflict resolution through the arts in two under-served recreation centers. Fueled by her desire to continue working in education, Lissa became a resident with the Academy for Urban School Leadership in Chicago earning her Master of Arts in Teaching from National-Louis University. Upon graduation she taught for nearly three years in the Chicago Public Schools where she realized her first love was out-of-school time. Lissa went on to manage twelve after-school programs with Rocket Learning before moving to San Diego to raise her daughter.
Currently she curates the San Diego local page for Idealist.org as well as organizes the local Boston College alumni chapter.
Top 5 Strengths: Communication | Connectedness | Activator | Belief | Harmony