Awards & Recognition

NAA and our partners are doing some great things to elevate the field of afterschool!

Five Afterschool Superheroes Worthy of Recognition

In honor of Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week, we reached out to the afterschool community to nominate those who have gone above and beyond their role in the afterschool field. These superheroes truly represent the Heart of Afterschool!

Staff Members | Country Dale Afterschool Program, Franklin, Wisconsin
My son attends Country Dale here in Franklin, and the ENTIRE staff in the before-and-after-school program, lead by Shana Gagliardo, is phenomenal. No words can describe how they have gone above and beyond for my son and me following an accident when my 7-year-old son broke his leg. The environment even before his accident was welcoming and family-like. I could not ask for a better program!

These professionals working in this program are the type of people who will truly bring the change we need in our schools and pass on this change for generations to come.

Nominated by: Sicily Marquardt, Parent

David Constancio | ASES Program Manager at William Land Elementary School, Sacramento, California
With over 10 years of experience in the Expanded Learning field, David became well-known in the Sacramento region as a prominent afterschool professional. David is very personable, knowledgeable and is a great resource. He is highly respected by his peers and loved by his staff.

Personally, I have tremendous respect for such a vibrant and strong educational leader. It is through individuals like David that a strong and positive future will be created for our children. He is always there for you. His compassion and caring attitude speaks volumes about his character. He is passionate about what he does and brings out the best in everyone he meets. I can personally vouch for his contributions to the William Land community and in my own development as an educational afterschool professional.

Nominated by: Brandon Alvarez, After School (ASSETs) Program Manager at Rosemont High School in Sacramento, California and employee of the Sacramento Chinese Community Service Center, a non-profit agency that specializes in Expanded Learning programs.

Danielle Harris | Site Leader, Metro Kids, Des Moines, Iowa
Danielle Harris is a site leader at one of Des Moines' most high-needs schools. While in past years this site had been slated to close because of low numbers, Dani helped increase the enrollment to 51 students. Dani is compassionate and works endlessly to ensure that her afterschool students are safe and successful, and that their emotional needs are met. She has a deaf student and has taken it upon herself to learn sign language to communicate with her. She has used her personal money and time to buy boots, hats, food and other items for her students. She attends her students' activities outside of program time and has driven families, on her own time, to appointments to ensure their children have health care—all while being a wife and full-time mother of three.

Dani and her husband are currently adopting a 15-year-old child, who otherwise would have ended up in foster care. Dani's own childhood was full of trauma and she wants to ensure no child has to endure what she did. Her staff never wants to leave her once they have worked with her. She builds positive relationships with families, colleagues and school staff.

When I think of a superhero, I see Dani's face and truly feel her energy to go above and beyond for goodness of kids and families.

Nominated by: Jane Bishop, Metro Kids Administrator, Des Moines, Iowa

Ryan Beuschel | 5th Grade Teacher, Cannonsburg Elementary, Rockford, Michigan
Meet "Mr. B.," a fifth grade teacher who has taken his love for kids and music and created an afterschool program that many kids wouldn't otherwise get to experience. For the past several years, Mr. B. has offered a Guitar Club for any fourth- and fifth-grade student who wants to participate. This year he added "Cub Rock Theater," an acting club. Both clubs are offered five days per week and free of charge. In addition to offering these programs, he also hosts a morning math club before school for those wanting extra help. Thank you, Mr. B., for being such an awesome example of the #heartofafterschool!

Nominated by: Jill Carroll, Parent

Mandi Harris | Site Director, Flynn Elementary School, BurlingtonKids, Burlington, Vermont
Being a superhero in the field of afterschool means that you have to be strong with a variety of groups of people, not just the kids. When we read the submission about Mandi Harris, it was obvious that management, coworkers, and parents are big fans as well! Here's just a bit of what they had to say.

"The afterschool Site Director role is challenging and Mandi does it with commitment, grace and enthusiasm. It requires a great deal of balance between the relationship building and administrative management, which Mandi clearly recognizes. I have been tremendously impressed by Mandi's professionalism and skills that she displays with everyone she interacts with whether it is a challenging student, a family member, school staff, or one of her own staff members."—Christy Gallese, Director of Expanded Learning Opportunities

"Mandi is a great leader for the Flynn afterschool team. She has set expectations high for staff and supports them to meet and exceed those expectations. She holds herself to those same expectations and leads by example."—A staff member

"Mandi is awesome. She is always positive and shows caring and concern where it applies. I can't say enough how much my daughter cares for her!" —A parent

Nominated by: Christy Gallese, Director of Expanded Learning Opportunities for the Burlington School District