Launching NAFSCE

An idea that has become a reality. As a former PIRC director and long time advocate for family engagement, I believed strongly that we needed a professional organization to advance the field. Who better to partner with than Anne Henderson, a pioneer in the field of family engagement? As soon as I brought the idea to Anne we ran with it to the NCPIE network. Everybody agreed. We needed our own organization. We enlisted Deborah Stark, an expert in early childhood education, to help us.

Working with Anne and Deborah to start NAFSCE has been a professional and personal privilege. Bringing together experienced thought leaders to be part of the initial board of directors enabled us to chart the course for NAFSCE. The Heising-Simons Foundation, with its progressive thinking and commitment to families, made our dream a reality. Next step was to hire an executive director who could lead and implement the mission of NAFSCE. We had terrific candidates and settled on one of our own, Vito Borrello, former president of EPIC.  Vito has the commitment, experience, and vision to successfully build and strengthen the organization.

The first year of Vito’s leadership brought more funding. He put structures into place, developed a new website, and launched the organization at the IEL Family Engagement Conference in June. In addition, we received our 501c 3 status from the IRS which has enabled us to spin off NAFSCE as an independent organization. This is where we find ourselves now.

The Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium, Inc. has been honored to have incubated NAFSCE for the last three years. My staff has worked tirelessly to sustain and prepare NAFSCE to be in a position to become the primary gateway for family, school, and community engagement. I want to give a big shout out to Phoebe Schlanger, Nora Morales, Kate Farbry, and Noelle Haille for their hard work and commitment to supporting children and families. We will continue to support NAFSCE as the organization moves forward.

This coming year we will further enhance the organization’s website, host a great webinar series, and begin compiling a clearinghouse, a community of practice networking platform, and a talent bank. Of course we will continue to develop policy and advocate for FSCE.

We have a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to in the coming years. In my role as Chair of the Board of Directors and co-founder, my goal is for NAFSCE to become the kind of organization where all those interested in family engagement will have a home and the ability to make a positive difference in the lives of children and families. This must be a coordinated effort with other partners who have a similar goal and mission. This is our time and I am privileged to be part of this effort.

Susan Shaffer –
President, Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium, Inc. and Executive Director, The Mid-Atlantic Equity Center;
Chair of the Board of Directors, NAFSCE