Carol Wilson Spigner, Chair
Carol Wilson Spigner is a child welfare policy and services consultant who recently retired from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice where she directed the social policy program and taught policy and macro practice. Prior to joining the University of Pennsylvania in 1999, she served as Associate Commissioner for the Children's Bureau in the Department of Health and Human Services. As the federal policy leader, Spigner directed the implementation of Family Support and Family Preservation Act, the Adoption and Safe Families Act and redesigned the federal monitoring process. Spigner has published articles on permanency planning, adoption and disparities in child welfare. Her work has been recognized through awards from American Public Human Services Association, North American Council on Adoptable Children, National Association of Social Workers, Association of Black Social Workers, Black Administrators in Child Welfare, The Association of Child Welfare Mangers and Child Welfare League of America. Spigner holds a doctorate in social work from the University of Southern California. Her current work focuses on disparities in child welfare and reform of complex child welfare systems.
Uma S. Ahluwalia
Uma S. Ahluwalia is currently the Director of the Montgomery County (Maryland) Department of Health and Human Services. With nearly 1600 employees, the department is one of the largest agencies in Montgomery County and includes Aging and Disability Services; Behavioral Health and Crisis Services; Children, Youth and Family Services; Public Health Services and Special Needs Housing. The Fiscal Year 2016 budget for the department is more than $284 million. The Department has been responding to many interesting challenges related to the impact of the recession on suburban poverty, increase in demand for services, decreasing budgets, moving towards a more integrated and interoperable health and human services enterprise and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Ahluwalia holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Delhi in India and a Specialist Post-Masters in Health Services Administration from George Washington University. Over an 26-year career in human services, she has progressively moved from case-carrying social work to executive leadership at the state and local levels.
Thomas Bates serves as Special Counsel and Director of Government Affairs at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. Thomas is a formal federal prosecutor, having served as the Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington. In his role, he also oversaw outreach, communications and policy-related efforts. He previously was Vice President for Civic Engagement at Rock the Vote, where he led voter registration and education, issues advocacy, and research efforts for the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter registration organization. Prior to joining Rock the Vote, Thomas was co-founder and Executive Director of Democrats Work, a national organization that connected grassroots Democrats with community service projects and built a service-based approach to politics. He has worked on Capitol Hill as a top aide to a U.S. Representative David Price (NC), practiced law as a litigator at Cooley LLP, and served as a senior advisor on the reelection campaign of Governor Chris Gregoire in Washington. He is a graduate of Duke University and the New York University School of Law and currently serves as Commissioner on the Washington State Commission on National and Community Service (now called Serve Washington) and on the Board of Directors of Solid Ground.
Anthony S. Bryk, Ed.D.
Dr. Anthony Bryk is the ninth president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, where he is leading work on transforming educational research and development, more closely joining researchers and practitioners to improve teaching and learning. Formerly, he held the Spencer Chair in Organizational Studies in the School of Education and the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University from 2004 until assuming Carnegie's presidency in September 2008. Previously, he was the Marshall Field IV Professor of Urban Education in the sociology department of the University of Chicago, where he helped found the Center for Urban School Improvement and the Consortium on Chicago School Research. He is a member of the National Academy of Education and was appointed by President Obama to the National Board for Education Sciences in 2010. In 2011, he was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Bryk’s latest book is Learning to Improve: How America’s Schools Can Get Better at Getting Better, which uses improvement science to show how a process of disciplined inquiry can be combined with the use of networks to adapt and scale promising interventions in education. He is also a founding member of the Friends of Evidence, a group convened by CSSP, and he holds a B.S. from Boston College and an Ed.D. from Harvard University.
Yolie Flores was previously a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District and CEO of the Los Angeles County Children’s Planning Council (CPC), the largest children’s partnership network in the United States. A first generation Mexican American, Flores has championed several reforms targeting the needs of low-income children and families. As a school board member she authored the Public School Choice resolution, as well as the Teacher Effectiveness resolution, illustrating a keen understanding of the challenges that confront students. Flores received her B.A. from the University of Redlands and her Master of Social Welfare from UCLA. She was a Coro City Focus Fellow, and a member of the inaugural class of the national Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Children and Family Fellowship. She has received the YWCA “Incredible Woman Making History” award, the Los Angeles County “Woman of the Year” award and the National Association of Social Workers “Social Worker of the Year award.
Kate Kendell leads the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy and public education. NCLR’s legal, policy, and legislative victories set important precedents that improve the lives of all LGBT people and their families across the country. Kate acts as NCLR’s primary spokesperson and has appeared in hundreds of media outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC, NPR, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, and dozens of on-line blogs. Kate is also a visible and vibrant social media voice. Under Kendell's leadership, NCLR has focused on numerous projects and legal issue areas, including immigration, employment, family and relationships, health care, housing, poverty and youth. Before joining NCLR, Kendell worked as a corporate attorney and was then named the first staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah. In this capacity, she oversaw the legal department of ACLU of Utah and directly litigated many high-profile cases focusing on all aspects of civil liberties, including reproductive rights, prisoners’ rights, church/state conflicts, free speech and the rights of LGBT people. She holds a J.D. from the University of Utah College of Law.
Sondra Samuels is the President & CEO of the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ). Along with parents, students, partners and staff, Sondra is leading a revolutionary culture shift in North Minneapolis that is focused on ending multigenerational poverty through education and family stability. The NAZ Collaborative, made up of 43 partner nonprofits and schools, is working toward a single goal—to prepare low-income North Minneapolis children to graduate from high school ready for college. NAZ has scaled up in support of more than 1,000 parents and 2,300 students as they turn the social service model on its head and lead the creation of a college-bound culture throughout the community. Samuels is a 19-year resident of North Minneapolis and a national leader committed to results-based accountability. She and her team work tirelessly to ensure the integration of effective cradle-to-career solutions across the NAZ collaborative; to scale and sustain results across the community, and to achieve the systems and policy changes needed for families and children of color to truly share in the prosperity of the Twin Cities Region. Under her leadership, NAZ was named a federal Promise Neighborhood and has become a nationally recognized model for comprehensive community development and systems change. She also serves on the leadership team of Generation Next, the Minnesota Private College Council board of directors and the 2018 Super Bowl Host Committee Advisory Board. She was also appointed to serve on the Hennepin County Forth Judicial Selection Commission.
Larkin W. Tackett
As Executive Director of IDEA Public Schools in Austin, Larkin leads the organization’s schools and growth in the region. This includes managing and coaching principals at IDEA Allan, as well as engaging community leaders, families and key stakeholders in the region. He is focused on ensuring ambitious college-ready results for all IDEA students in Austin. The first class of IDEA Allan’s sixth graders will graduate from college in 2023. By 2017, IDEA Austin will triple in size from two to six schools across Austin. When full enrolled, the schools will serve more than 4,000 students.
Prior to joining IDEA, Larkin served as the director of Place-Based Initiatives in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement as part of the Broad Residency. There, he managed the Promise Neighborhoods program and led the Department's place-based strategy to leverage public and private resources to support comprehensive education reform in high-poverty neighborhoods. Larkin also worked at the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs and served as legislative director for Texas State Senator Judith Zaffirini and committee director for California State Senator Dean Florez. He began his career as an eighth-grade social studies and journalism teacher with Teach For America at Eliza Miller Jr. High School in West Helena, Arkansas, a small town in the Mississippi Delta.
Judge William A. Thorne, Jr.
Judge William A. Thorne, Jr. is currently a judge on the State of Utah Court of Appeals and was formerly a judge in the Third District Court. He has served as a tribal court judge in 10 states and is the former president of the National Indian Justice Center, a nonprofit that trains tribal court personnel around the country. Nationally known as a leading expert on policies and programs to support children, particularly Native American children and their families, Thorne is currently chair of the Board of Directors for Child Trends, Inc., a premiere nonprofit child-centered research group. He is also a board member of WestEd, Inc., a nonprofit focused on excellence and equity in education and a member of the Board of Trustees for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. A former member of the board of directors for National CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), a nonprofit group that provides representation for abused and neglected children in court and the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a nonprofit seeking to improve the level of research and practice related to adoptions and the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC), Thorne has also served as a member of the American Bar Association’s Steering Committee on the Unmet Legal Needs of Children and was a member of the PEW Commission of Children in Foster Care. Thorne is a graduate of the University of Santa Clara and Stanford Law School. He was formerly chair of the Utah Juvenile Justice Task Force of the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, vice-chair of the Utah Board of Youth Corrections, member of the Salt Lake County Domestic Violence Advisory Committee and a member of the steering committee for the Judicial Council’s Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Fairness.