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.
Kristie Dalesandro, Event Coordinator
BOOST Collaborative, San Diego, CA
Kristie Dalesandro is a Southern California native, growing up in sunny Orange County, CA. She graduated in 2012 with degree in communications from UC San Diego. Kristie is eager to join the BOOST Collaborative team and explore her passion for creating strong educational opportunities for underserved communities while also serving professionals in the space. After college, Kristie moved to Washington, DC to work for the NAACP Economic Department. While there, Kristie communicated with units across the country to address their needs and facilitated financial education workshops. She also managed economic resources such as toolkits, reports, and strategies to provide comprehensive financial education measures to leaders, units, and individuals. Although Kristie enjoyed her time in Washington, DC and bragged about being neighbors with President Obama, she returned to San Diego to work in her lifelong passion for education. Kristie also has experience in marketing, film, working with minority communities, graphic design, and working with children. Kristie loves to travel, having been all over Europe and Mexico, hence her intense love for Mexican food. She also likes to attend alternative rock concerts and occasionally can be found watching her favorite shows on Netflix.
Edward Gardiner, Associate Program Director
YMCA of Greater Long Beach
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 this past August. In his free time Eddie enjoys hiking, cycling, cooking and spending time with his family and friends.
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.=
Christina Hale-Nardi, Director of Afterschool Programs
San Bernardino City Unified School District, San Bernardino, CA
Christina Hale-Nardi is currently the Director of afterschool programs for youth in San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD); the seventh largest school district and ASES grantee in the State. CAPS (Creative Before- and Afterschool Programs for Success) serves over 11,000 youth daily at 58 schools, K-12. CAPS’ afterschool programs include ASES and 21st Century Community Learning Center funded programs as well as California Cadet Corps (CACC) and Middle School Intercollegiate Sports.
Christina has over six years experience in youth development and afterschool programs. She was the Project Director of Cal Poly Pomona’s partnership with Hacienda-La Puente USD on a GEAR-UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) grant, which aimed to increase college-going rates among low-income and underrepresented populations. Her experience includes heading Pasadena LEARNs, a former Regional Learning Center. Christina also has over ten years experience as an adjunct professor and student-teacher supervisor with Cal Poly Pomona and UC Riverside. Her training and academic experience has had a significant impact on building a career pathway through competency development in the CAPS afterschool environment.
As a single parent of two, Christina earned a Masters degree in International Education and Policy Analysis from Stanford University. She is also a proud “Banana Slug”, having fought the good fight over the mascot in the early 80s, and graduating with a BA and Teaching Credential from UC Santa Cruz.
Christina has a life-long track record of community organizing in both the local electoral and international solidarity arenas. As a fully bilingual person, she is an experienced translator and interpreter in Spanish and English. Her 12+ years as a classroom teacher spanned grades 2-7, bilingual and dual-immersion classes, and immigrant and private educational populations. Christina lived in Central America for 10 years and has worked in journalism, business development, marketing, office management, and contracting in the private sector.
Bobby Klein, Director of Public Relations and Marketing
Mission Valley YMCA, San Diego, CA
Bobby Klein is the Director of Public Relations and Marketing for the Mission Valley YMCA in San Diego, CA. 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. During his time with the Youth Institute, the program expanded from 3 to 13 sites and the first ever National Youth Institute Conference took place. He has also trained and authored trainings for Afterschool University, a national training organization that promotes best practices in after school programming. Bobby holds a Master's Degree from Azusa Pacific University in Educational Counseling and has recently started a creative design company. Bobby enjoys quality design, snowboarding, cycling and camping. He is married to his self-proclaimed high school sweetheart, Jenny. They currently reside in their hometown of Escondido, CA.
Rochelle Lether, After School Program Director
Barack Obama Charter School,Los Angeles, CA
Rochelle Lether is a graduate of Pitzer College, of the Claremont Five Universities. She obtained her degree in International Studies, with an emphasis on Developing Countries as well as a minor in Visual Arts. Mrs. Lether began working in After School Programs as a volunteer at HUG house (an After School Program for children of the homeless) in 2002. She has also worked abroad, in both Brazil (helping to to build education among sustainable indigenous communities) and in Indonesia (as a teacher and journalist). Since her return to The States, she has worked as an International Exchange Program Director, Teacher and After School Program Director. In 2011, she founded Big Up Kidz, a non-profit After School Program, which currently operates in partnership with Ingenium Schools. She has always had a passion for After School Programs, because they provide the additional support and reinforcement that is needed for schools in underserved communities, as well as keeping children off the streets and out of trouble during peak unsupervised times.
Marisol Moreno-Villegas, Education Coordinator
Options, Covina CA
Marisol Moreno, has been working in the after school field for the last nine years. Originally starting out as a front line staff as a tutor, she has worked her way up to her current position as Education Coordinator for Options in Covina, CA. 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 world. During her spare time she loves to be with the love of her life, her fiancé Rodrigo Corona and her two dogs Diego and Davito, she loves the great outdoors and reading.
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.
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 her driving her golf cart around San Diego and seeking new travel adventures with friends.
Rachel Ruiz, Program Manager
BOOST Collaborative, San Diego, CA
Rachel Ruiz grew up in Gilroy, California – home of the world renowned Garlic Festival. She graduated from UC San Diego in 2011 with a degree in Sociology and minor in Literature. Rachel interned at BOOST in Fall 2011 and witnessed the BOOST magic at the 2012 BOOST Conference coordinating presenters and assisting with the first ever BOOST Film Festival. She is attending San Diego State University part-time to earn her Masters in Social Work with a specialization in Administration. Rachel is excited to explore macro-level social work practices in her program and at BOOST by providing training and technical assistance to OST programs.
Rachel married her college sweetheart Andrew Ruiz June 29th, 2013, a photographer and all around Renaissance man. Together they photograph the wonders of life and aspire to be world travelling, change agent extraordinaires. When she's not at BOOST or in school, you can find her at the many delicious restaurants in San Diego or at a local coffee shop enjoying a soy chai latte.
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.
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.
BOOST CONFERENCE IMPLEMENTATION TEAM
Krista Berry Ortega, Director of Strategic Partnerships
KIT, San Diego, CA
Krista Berry Ortega, MS is honored to be KIT's Director of Strategic Partnerships and has a passion for ensuring that all kids are included in their communities. She brings over 11 years of diverse, non-profit management and programming experience from organizations in NYC and San Diego including: LaGuardia Community College of the City University of New York, the Ms. Foundation for Women, and the American Institute of Architects - San Diego Chapter. She earned her BA in Theatre with a minor in Education from Marymount Manhattan College in 2001 and her MS in Urban Affairs with a concentration in Non-Profit Management from Hunter College in 2006.
Krista is on the Board of Directors at the Copley Family YMCA and is an active volunteer and advocate in her community of City Heights. In her free time, she enjoys playing roller derby and assisting her husband Javier with his catering business - Spanglish Eats.
Mark Blackshear, Youth Speaker
Youth Development Specialist, San Diego, CA
Mark Blackshear is an extraordinary young man and an inspiring trainer. Recognized as a 2011 Up & Coming Leader in Behavioral Health by the National Council of Community Behavioral Healthcare (Washington, D.C.). Mark has been in the youth development field for ten years, coaching and counseling youth in a variety of settings including high schools, youth camps, faith-based organizations, and non-profit organizations. He has also counseled and mentored severely emotionally disturbed, system involved and at- risk youth. Mark is a 2002 Graduate of the Oracle Program at Garfield High School in San Diego, CA. As a former “system involved youth” Mark became a founding member of the Take Wing Youth Advisory Board at San Diego Youth Services.
Dr. Michelle Morse, Director of Child Development Programs
Saugus Union School District, Santa Clarita, CA
Dr. Michelle Morse currently serves as the Director of the Child Development Programs for Saugus Union School District (SUSD) in Santa Clarita, CA. The Child Development Department serves 2000 students in the preschool and before and after-school programs.
In this position, Dr. Morse is responsible for the management of a 5.4 million dollar budget serving 2000 families and 150 staff members across 15 elementary school campuses. Dr. Morse has secured grant funding for both the preschool and the school age programs totaling approximately $1 million dollars.
Prior to assuming the Director of the Child Development Programs, Dr. Morse worked as an administrator with special education programs. Employment included: Coordinator, Special Education programs for SUSD; Coordinator, Special Education Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District; and Administrator for Teaching and Learning, Birth-Five Special Education Long Beach Unified School District. In each position, Dr. Morse led initiatives to create and develop new programs and services for students and their families. Dr. Morse successfully and repeatedly brought services that were provided to students by non-public agencies back to the district returning crucial district funding, and enabling more students access to critical programs and services. Dr. Morse has a proven record of school and district leadership.
Dr. Morse began her career as a speech-language pathologist and special education classroom teacher. Dr. Morse's passion and areas of expertise are early childhood education, professional development, and leadership development.
The Association of California School Administrators has honored Dr. Morse as an exemplary central office leader through recognition in both 2007 and 2011.
Dr. Morse has served on numerous community boards and educational associations. She has served for four years on the Los Angeles Child Care Planning Commission and serves as a trainer of trainers for the California School-Age Consortium. Dr. Morse serves on the Women's Leadership team at her church.
Dr. Morse assisted in the development of the Speech-Language Pathology Assistants' A.A. and Certification program for College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, CA. She was responsible for designing and determining the sequence of courses, developed the curriculum for the core courses, and served as an adjunct professor for the program.
Dr. Morse was recently hired by the University of Southern California as an adjunct professor for the Doctor of Education program. She will teach a course entitled "Accountability" which provides students with a deep understanding of the multilayered and complex accountability issues facing public educational systems across the nation.
Dr. Morse is married and lives with her husband and seven year old daughter. Her eldest daughter recently graduated from the University of California, Berkley where she majored in Integrated Biology and Public Policy.
Wissam Sabbagha, Event Planner
San Diego, CA
Wissam or better known as “Sam” was born and raised in Lebanon, a small country in the Middle East. After finishing his BS in Business Management, he decided to move to San Diego and enrolled at the University of San Diego to pursue his dream of becoming an event planner specializing in festival event. Almost done with his Event Management Certificate program from USD, Wissam has 3 years of event planning and coordinating experience under his belt working with wedding, corporate and nonprofit companies. Sam is currently part time working as a consultant for corporate and non-profit companies and is looking for a full time job in a production planning company. In his spare time, he enjoys swimming, hiking and networking.