The National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE), founded in September 2014, is the first membership association focused solely on advancing family, school, and community engagement (FSCE). NAFSCE was established to provide the long-needed platform for advancing high impact practices, promoting evidence–based policies, building capacity and leadership in the field, and upholding FSCE as a core strategy for improving child development and student achievement.
Advancing high-impact policies and practices for family, school, and community engagement to promote child development and improve student achievement.
A world where family engagement is universally practiced as an essential strategy for improving children’s learning and advancing equity.
The idea of creating a professional association to advance high-impact family, school and community engagement grew out of the work of two national coalitions, NCPIE and the National Family, School and Community Engagement Working Group.
For over thirty years, the National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education (NCPIE) provided professionals in the field an opportunity to share ideas through monthly meetings and conference calls. Today, NAFSCE rests on NCPIE’s extensive listserve and network of relationships as it becomes a full-blown professional association. We are greatly indebted to the vision and dedication of Sue Ferguson, who served for sixteen years as chair of NCPIE.
In 2009, a group of researchers, practitioners, and policymakers convened the National Family, School, and Community Engagement Working Group to share information and shape policy with the White House, the Department of Education, and leaders on Capitol Hill. The Working Group has now become the NAFSCE Policy Council, and many of its members comprise NAFSCE’s Founding Board.
National Working Group members, Susan Shaffer, Anne Henderson, and Deborah Roderick Stark, with the participation of key thought leaders in the field, developed the concept for a new association. Holly Kreider at the Heising-Simons Foundation saw the potential for NAFSCE and the Foundation generously funded a planning grant that has allowed NAFSCE to begin its work.
The Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium, Inc. (MAEC), led by Susan Shaffer, has served as NAFSCE’s host organization, providing organizational support, office space, and staff to support NAFSCE in its infancy. MAEC has a long history of promoting equity and providing strong programming in FSCE.
NAFSCE is forever grateful for the hard work and vision of these organizations and their exceptional members.
NAFSCE endorses the family engagement definition developed in 2010 by the National Family, School and Community Engagement Working Group (now the NAFSCE Policy Council).
High-impact family and community engagement is collaborative, culturally competent, and focused on improving children’s learning.
Practices like these are even more effective when combined. Contrast these with traditional events and activities for families, which research finds have small effects on student achievement.
Vito Borrello is the first Executive Director for the National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE), effective September 2014. Prior to his new position, Mr. Borrello served as the nineteen year president of EPIC – Every Person Influences Children, a national organization providing parenting education, family engagement in education, and character education programs to help families, schools and communities raise children to become responsible and capable adults. EPIC’s programs have been implemented in 16 states and Singapore.
Current National Advisory Board Member roles include the National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement, the National Center for After-school and Summer Enrichment (NCASE), the Center for Education Equity, and ClassTag.
Keami Harris is Director of Capacity Building Programs for the National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE). Prior to joining NAFSCE, Keami was Director of Programs and Affiliate Relations for the National Black Child Development Institute. There she was responsible for developing and managing programs focused on family engagement, literacy and early childhood development. Additionally, Keami provided support and oversight of a National Affiliate network
Lisa Aramony is NAFSCE’s Director of Communications. Prior to joining NAFSCE, Lisa served as communications consultant for several nonprofit organizations, including Joint Council on International Children’s Services and Aid for Africa. Previously, Lisa was Senior Consultant to the Chairman at Changing Our World, Inc. a philanthropy and fundraising consulting firm to leading nonprofit organizations, corporations, private foundations, and philanthropists. Prior to that Lisa served as Vice President of AOL Time Warner Corporate Relations and the AOL Time Warner Foundation
President and CEO, Families in Schools
Oscar E. Cruz serves as President & CEO of Families In Schools. Previous to this position, he served as Vice President and first came to Families In Schools as Director of Community Engagement and Advocacy. Mr. Cruz has held various management positions including, Program Director for Community Partners, where he directed projects in the areas of community technology and civic engagement, and as Senior Program Manager at Center for Civic
Senior Fellow, Community Involvement Program, Annenberg Institute for School Reform
Anne’s specialty is the relationship between families and schools, and its impact on students’ success in school and through life. Since 1977, Anne has worked with organizations that represent or serve parents and community members. Her clients include the Tellin’ Stories
Director, Center for Parent Information and Resources at SPAN
Debra leads SPAN’s national efforts promoting the capacities of the approximately 100 Parent Training & Information Centers and Community Parent Resource Centers assisting families with children with disabilities in each state, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam and Palau. These projects
Associate Director, Harvard Family Research Project
M. Elena Lopez strives to increase the use of research in policy, practice and teacher education. With colleagues from HFRP, she has team-taught courses on family, school, and community at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her other professional experiences include evaluating
Senior Lecturer and Faculty Director, Education Policy and Management Master’s Program, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Karen L. Mapp, EdD, is a Senior Lecturer on Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and the Faculty Director of the Education Policy and Management Master’s Program. She is a founding
President and CEO, National Office, Raising A Reader
Dr. Gabrielle Miller joined Raising A Reader (RAR) as National Executive Director in December 2008. Prior to joining RAR, she was vice president for programs at Reading is Fundamental (RIF), the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit literacy organization. In that role, she was responsible for all literacy
Before joining RIF, Dr. Miller served as assistant vice president of educational programs at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, MD, where she held a number of positions before ultimately assuming a leadership role in the special education department. During her time at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, Dr. Miller was responsible for educational program development and research. Her research efforts focused on evaluating interventions for at-risk learners of all ages. Concurrently, she served as an assistant professor in The Johns Hopkins University’s Graduate School of Education’s Department of Special Education.
Dr. Miller began her career as a teacher in the Queen Anne’s County, Maryland public school system. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education from the University of Delaware and completed her graduate studies in special education and administration at Johns Hopkins University.
Director, Leadership Program, Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL)
A member of IEL’s Senior Leadership Team, Kwesi Rollins guides IEL’s portfolio of programs designed to develop and support leaders with a particular emphasis on Family and Community Engagement, Early Childhood Education, Principal Leadership Development and Support, and Community-based
Working with young people is also a personal passion – Kwesi has special expertise in resiliency and youth development, has been recognized as the Big Brother of the Year, and served as VP for Program Services on the Board of Directors of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the National Capitol Area. He holds an MSW from the University of Maryland School of Social Work where he was a Maternal and Child Health Leadership Training Fellow.
Family Involvement Coordinator, Maryland State Department of Education
Barbara Scherr is a Family Involvement Coordinator at the Maryland State Department of Education. In her 25 years of public service, Barbara has worked in the areas of childcare, safe and drug-free schools, homeless education, family literacy, and family engagement. Her primary responsibility is building capacity
President, Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium, Inc., and Executive Director, The Mid-Atlantic Equity Center
Susan Morris Shaffer is the president of the Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium, Inc., an educational non-profit and director of the Mid-Atlantic Equity Center. For more than four decades, Shaffer is a nationally
Principal, Deborah Roderick Stark and Associates
Deborah Roderick Stark is a consultant for child and family programs, research, and policy. She has more than 20 years experience working with foundations, public agencies, non-profits, and the federal government.
Deborah is the author or co-author of publications including but not limited to: Supporting Every Young Learner (2014), Maryland’s early childhood pedagogy guide; Nurturing Change (2013), policy strategies for improving infant and early childhood mental health; Breaking New Ground (2011), examples for using data as a lever for bolstering family engagement in student learning; Engaged Families, Effective Pre-K (2010), policies to support family engagement in state-funded pre-k; A Quiet Crisis (2009) an early childhood agenda for the Council of Chief State School Officers; Advocates in Action (2002 and 2005) rationale for why and how parents and child care providers can effectively speak out to advance policy; and the education and child welfare chapters in Beyond Rhetoric: A New American Agenda for Children and Families (1991) by the National Commission on Children.
Deborah worked in the Clinton Administration and organized the design and implementation of the family preservation and support initiative passed by Congress in 1993, and the Early Head Start program passed as part of the 1994 Head Start reauthorization.
Senior Program Associate, Manhattan Strategy Group
Dr. Sally M. Wade serves as a member of the Manhattan Strategy Group Education Team, specializing in leadership, technical assistance, professional development, grants management, program evaluation, publications development, research to practice, public presentations and group facilitation.
Prior to joining Manhattan Strategy, Dr. Wade was a Program Associate with the Southeast Comprehensive Center and Southeast Regional Educational Laboratory at SEDL headquartered in Austin Texas. She was founder and director of the Florida Partnership for Family Involvement in Education at the University of South Florida where she worked as a faculty member for over ten years.
Founder and Director, Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) and Senior Research Associate and Lecturer, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Dr. Heather Weiss is the Founder and Director of the Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) and is a Senior Research Associate and Lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Weiss and her colleagues are well known
Dr. Weiss writes, speaks and advises on programs and policies for children and families and serves on the advisory boards of many public and private organizations. Her recent publications focus on reframing research and evaluation to support continuous improvement and democratic decision making, examining the case for complementary learning from a research and policy perspective, and assessing new ways of providing and evaluating professional development. She is a consultant and advisor to numerous foundations on strategic grantmaking and evaluation. She received her doctorate in Education and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Yale Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy.
Senior Director of Consultative Services, Scholastic
Sherri Wilson is the Senior Director of Consultative Services at Scholastic and a founding partner of the Center for Active Family Engagement. Formerly, she served at the Senior Manager of Family Engagement at the National PTA and was the Co-founder of the Alabama Parent Education Center and served as Alabama PIRC Director for over fourteen years.
Principal TA Consultant, American Institutes for Research
Lacy Wood is a principal TA consultant for American Institutes for Research (AIR). Wood has over 18 years of experience with information and support systems for school improvement and over 16 years of experience in family and community engagement. In her current role, Wood directs the $3 million statewide Illinois Quality Afterschool Program, providing oversight for training, professional development, and technical assistance to all 21st CCLC grantees in Illinois and building the capacity of SEA staff.
Previously she was the director of development and the program manager for the Afterschool, Family, and Community unit at SEDL. Prior to the SEDL-AIR merger, Wood was responsible for SEDL’s funding development efforts, and oversaw the work in SEDL’s Afterschool, Family, and Community unit. She led SEDL’s work related to identification and assessment of funding opportunities including proposal planning and conceptualization, creating and coordinating proposal development teams, project planning and development, along with drafting, reviewing, and critiquing proposals. She was also responsible for leading the design and implementation of SEDL’s programmatic work addressing afterschool, other extended learning programs, and family and community engagement with schools.
Her expertise also includes expanded learning opportunities; education reform and school improvement tools; dissemination and knowledge utilization; research-based instructional resources; program development; proposal planning, development, and coordination; and business development. Wood also has extensive experience working with federal grantee programs and supporting State Education Agency (SEA) staff to implement federal initiatives including 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLCs), Reading First, Smaller Learning Communities, and the Comprehensive School Reform programs.
Since 2000, Wood has worked with SEDL’s National Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools. In this role, she conducts training sessions and workshops on family and community involvement; gathers and disseminates family involvement research and resources; and develops and manages information management tools and services. She currently serves as a member of the National Family, School, and Community Engagement Working Group and is a founding board member for the National Association of Family, School and Community Engagement. Previously, she managed SEDL’s work with the National Coordination Center for Parental Information and Resource Centers (PIRCs), which provided technical assistance, professional development, information resources, and performance reporting support for 62 PIRC programs in every U.S. state and territory. Wood coordinated the production of SEDL’s five research syntheses that examine key issues in the field of family and community engagement. Wood holds a Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Texas at Austin.
The NAFSCE Policy Council, chaired by Anne Henderson, promotes policy change in support of high-impact family engagement. As a standing committee of NAFSCE, the Policy Council has continued the work of the National Family, School and Community Engagement Working Group (NWG), founded in 2009 and comprised of the leading researchers, advocates, and practitioners dedicated to advancing this work. Since its founding, the NWG has advised Congress, the White House, and the US Department of Education on family engagement policy and practice.
Anne Henderson, Chair
Deborah Roderick Stark, Vice Chair
Vito Borrello, NAFSCE Executive Director
Jacki Ball, Director of Government Affairs, National Parent teachers Association (NPTA)
Soncia Coleman, Director, Public Policy & Advocacy, United Way International
Mishaela Duran, Chief of Staff, Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)
Elena Lopez, Associate Director, Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP)
Karen Mapp, Director of the Education Policy and Management Program, the Harvard Graduate School of Education
Susan Shaffer, President, Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium
Steven Sheldon, Director of Research, National Network of Partnership Schools (NNPS)
Heather Weiss, Founder and Director, Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP)
Helen Westmoreland, Deputy Director, Flamboyan Foundation
Sherri Wilson, National Parent Teachers Association (NPTA)
Laura Wilson Phelan, Chief Operating Officer, Flamboyan Foundation
Lacy Wood, Director of Development, SEDL
NAFSCE is committed to working in synergy with diverse stakeholders who influence and/or impact family engagement in education as an essential strategy to improve children’s learning.
The Heising-Simons Foundation – NAFSCE recognizes its first and founding funder, the Heising-Simons Foundation, who provided a one year planning grant, followed by a one year implementation grant. Their funding enabled the establishment of NAFSCE. The Heising-Simons Foundation is dedicated to advancing sustainable solutions in the environment, supporting groundbreaking research in science, and enhancing the education of our youngest learners. For more information, please go to www.heisingsimons.org.
NAFSCE proudly recognizes these Founding Partners.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation –The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.
The Nellie Mae Education Foundation –The Nellie Mae Education Foundation is the largest philanthropic organization in New England that focuses exclusively on education. The Foundation supports the promotion and integration of student-centered approaches to learning at the high school level across New England—where learning is personalized; learning is competency-based; learning takes place anytime, anywhere; and students exert ownership over their own learning. To elevate student-centered approaches, the Foundation utilizes a four-part strategy that focuses on: building educator ownership, understanding and capacity; advancing quality and rigor of SCL practices; developing effective systems designs; and building public understanding and demand. For more information about the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, visitwww.nmefoundation.org.
And for those who are not yet partners with NAFSCE we encourage your consideration. NAFSCE is committed to working in synergy with all of its stakeholders to enable a world where family engagement is universally practiced as an essential strategy for improving children’s learning, and advancing equity and opportunity. More information about becoming a partner here.
If you are passionate about advancing Family, School and Community Engagement, and are seeking an opportunity to make an impact on a national level, NAFSCE is looking for you. NAFSCE offers candidates an opportunity to work with influential leaders and practitioners in the field, recognized for their significant contribution to advancing policies and practices that promote equitable access to high-quality education for all students. We are now hiring for the following positions.
If you have any questions or comments please fill out the form below and our staff will work on providing you with an answer. We look forward to hearing from you.