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Introducing National Afterschool Association’s Emerging Leaders of Color Professional Learning Community 2020 Cohort

Research findings from The Afterschool Leadership Landscape: Supporting and Strengthening Racial Equity report, along with research from the nonprofit sector, shows people of color are not being hired or promoted at the same rate as their white colleagues.

One way to address this systemic inequity is to provide opportunities for leaders of color, such as NAA's Professional Learning Community for Emerging Leaders of Color.

The Professional Learning Community for Emerging Leaders of Color seeks to foster a network of equity-driven leaders of color, support them in deepening their equity analysis and leadership skills to be agents of change in the afterschool field and help them create a roadmap that advances their careers in the afterschool field.

Participants will convene between March and July 2020. Through interactive, engaging, and thoughtfully facilitated sessions that will foster community and elicit dialogue and self-reflection, participants will:

  • Network and build community with other leaders of color across the country.
  • Explore how power, privilege, and oppression impact leaders of color as they navigate systems and in their efforts to best serve young people.
  • Engage in personal reflection and examine the intersection between their personal development and their leadership practices.
  • Deepen their equity analysis and gain strategies to influence and inform policy and practices within their organizations.


AdiamTilahun-HeadshotAdiam Tilahun
Senior Partnerships Manager
New York City Department of Education, Office of Community Schools

Adiam Tilahun is a Senior Partnerships Manager with the New York City Department of Education's Office of Community Schools. She supports partnerships with the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) and other constituents that provide students with learning and enrichment opportunities. She has an M.A. in Educational Psychology and previously worked in child development research and international education program management.


CarminiaLissette-HeadshotCarminia Lissette Castillo Agyeman
Director, Amigos Cambridgeport Community School
City of Cambridge Dept. of Human Services

Lissette Agyeman Castillo has worked as Director of Amigos Community School for 2 years. Previously, she was a high school teacher at Fenway High School in Boston since 2005. She has over 14 years of experience working with youth of color and developing curriculum and teaching the Spanish for Native Speakers courses. She has also worked for 4 years at Sociedad Latina as a curriculum developer & consultant. She has a Master of Art in Teaching MAT (2004) and a master's degree in Public Policy M.P.P (2015) from Tufts University. She is committed to challenging and fighting racial inequalities in education through developing curriculum and enrichment activities that are relevant and family / youth-driven. She is the recipient of multiple awards and honors such as the "Pass It On" award from the faculty at Fenway High School 2012, Technology Goes Home "Teacher of the Year" in 2009, the recipient of Fund For Teachers Grant in 2013 and the recipient of Quest Adventures Service Learning Grant in 2012, 2013 and 2014.


KathrynNakhornsak-HeadshotCathryn Nakhornsak
Program Coordinator
Girls on the Run Twin Cities

Cathryn Nakhornsak is a Laos American woman.

"I grew up in a rural town in Southwest, Minnesota, a small town that became home to many immigrants looking to rebuild their lives. Our community was filled with abundant, diverse peoples, languages, arts and traditions, a town with so many beautiful things often felt isolating. As an adolescent, I invested a major part of my time in after school activities. I learned how to build friendships, engage with the greater community, most significantly, I began to learn and understand myself, and the systems around me. Fast forward to the present day, I work at Girls on the Run, a nonprofit whose mission is to empower our young girls to activate their limitless potential. My work stems from the deeply rooted experiences as an adolescent needing a little extra confidence, love and attention in their life."


GuillermoGrau-HeadshotGuillermo Grau
Director of Community Initiatives
United Activities Unlimited

Originally from Honduras in Central America, Guillermo Grau has called New York City home since 2006. Guillermo began his work in youth and family development and advocacy in 2003 as a mentor in Big Brothers Big Sisters while pursuing his undergraduate degree. After obtaining a BA in Psychology from Pennsylvania State University, Guillermo went on to complete a MSW from Columbia University with subsequent participation in the Emerging Leaders in Nonprofit Management program from the Partnership for After School Education (PASE) and Baruch College and in the High Performing Manager Initiative program from the nonprofit consultant organization Community Resource Exchange.

With a passion for empowering minority and marginalized youth and families as well as supporting those with mental health issues, Guillermo has dedicated the last twenty years to direct service work, program development and management, capacity building, and advocacy. Guillermo currently works for United Activities Unlimited (UAU), a community-based, non-profit social service agency that serves children, youth, and families with preventive services, educational supports, enrichment activities, counseling, and workforce development. As Director of Community Initiatives with UAU, Guillermo oversees two multi-faceted, school-based community centers, four multi-faceted, city housing-based community centers, and a fatherhood program that focuses on supporting and empowering non- custodial fathers.

Guillermo resides in the New York City borough of Staten Island where is he is active both professionally and personally. Outside of his work with UAU, Guillermo volunteers his time with both local and city-based agencies in areas of health and wellness, community revitalization, and the environment. Guillermo also sits on the board of directors for a Staten Island-based nonprofit that fosters relationships among middle school-aged youth from diverse cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.


HeidiQin-HeadshotHeidi Qin
Center Coordinator
Promise South Salt Lake City

Heidi Qin is a Center Coordinator at Woodrow Wilson Elementary with Promise South Salt Lake. They live and breathe South Salt Lake City and have lived in Utah for 10 years. Heidi is originally from Maui, Hawai'i, by way of Hong Kong. Heidi is a proud daughter of immigrants and was raised by a single mom and a village of aunties, grandmas, educators, and activists. Heidi was an afterschool kid their whole life and is the person they are today because of quality programming (and snacks). They graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Ethnic Studies and Asian Studies and continued in nonprofit and afterschool fields.

While Heidi has worked as a community organizer, a teacher, and a researcher, they find Afterschool to be their home. Heidi is passionate about multicultural education, critical pedagogies, and social justice. They believe that education is our liberation, and that out of school time is crucial to the development of young people.

In their free time, Heidi is firmly committed to drinking as much boba as physically possible and eating Filipino food. They also enjoy Farmers Markets, local art shows and K-Dramas. They love to sing karaoke, eat snacks and talk about feelings. Heidi is drawn to the Hobbit life and loves to create warmth and comfort with chosen family.


HueSchlieu-HeadshotHue Schlieu
Training Specialist
Saint Paul Public Schools

Hue is currently working as a Training Specialist in Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS). Her role is to build capacity of Site Coordinators and Direct Service Staff through professional development, resource development, and coaching. Prior to this role, she was a Racial and Gender Equity Coordinator. Her professional goal is to center race and gender in youth development work; thus, she is beyond excited to be a part of NAA's Emerging Leaders of Color cohort! In her personal time, Hue spends time with her wife and two kids on their hobby farm.

Everyone is always interested to hear that she has horses, a goat, a sheep, a steer, ducks, chickens, cats and a dog at her place. Hue also loves to rock climb, play board games and do woodworking. Additionally, Hue serves as the Treasurer on two nonprofit boards: Indigenous Roots and MN Evaluation Association.


JasmineCastleberry-HeadshotJasmine Castleberry
Project Director
Harris County Department of Education

Currently a Project Director for the CASE for Kids division with the Harris County Department of Education in Houston, Texas, Jasmine Castleberry has spent over 17 years in youth development and out-of-school time programming. From front-line program work with the YMCA, to program accountability and design at the revered Harlem Children's Zone in New York City Jasmine has acquired broad-based knowledge of how to make OST programs work.

Through her work leading multiple continuous quality improvement efforts, she has developed performance-based, goal-oriented solutions through effective staff management and solid relationships with new and existing partners, resulting in enhanced business practices and increased productivity. Her ability to connect with any audience and specialty in workshop design and facilitation allowed her to serve as a presenter at statewide and national afterschool conferences.

Ultimately, Jasmine's performance-driven passion for out-of-school time comes from the thousands of students she has seen this work serve–and the many more who could be impacted by the highest quality programming.


JesseTaylor-HeadshotJesse Taylor
Youth Development Teacher, Day Camp Supervisor
Hidden Villa

"My name is Jesse and I'm from the San Francisco Bay Area. I'm the Youth Development Manager and Teen Camps Coordinator at Hidden Villa, which is an organic farm and wilderness preserve in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I'm also an EMT and a member of my local Search and Rescue Team and have dreams about someday becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.

"When I'm not at work or in school I also love to cook, hike, and garden!"


JoannaDominguez-HeadshotJoanna Dominguez
Regional Education Coordinator
People's Self Help Housing

Joanna Dominguez was born in Yuma, Arizona, to Mexican immigrant parents. She is the oldest of six siblings and spent her early years traveling back and forth between Yuma, Arizona, and Santa Maria, California. Joanna's parents decided to settle in the small agricultural town of Guadalupe, California once it was time for her to start school. They came to this country to provide their unborn children a better life and they knew education was the key to making this a reality. Joanna grew up in a very humble home. It was not until her teenage years that she realized the harsh financial reality her parents faced trying to provide for a family of eight on seasonal agricultural employment wages.

She learned her strong work ethic from her parents and continued after high school to pursue higher education at California State University, Fresno. During her sophomore year in college at the young age of 19, she got married and had her first daughter. She continued with college while raising a family and managed to graduate summa cum laude with a Bachelor's of Art in Psychology. After graduation, she worked with families teaching them early childhood development skills while attending graduate school at night. It was through this experience she recognized the importance of parent's impact on their children's development and educational success.

After graduating with a Master's of Arts in Psychology, she moved back to California's Central Coast to be closer to her family. Recognizing the difference education makes in breaking the cycle of poverty, she began working as an academic counselor at the local community college. Years later after giving birth to her second daughter, she started a business venture and left the college to work from home. She ran her business successfully for 11 years and recently re-entered the world of education as the regional coordinator for the education department of a low-income housing provider where after school programs are available to the residents. She also teaches self- esteem building courses. Joanna is passionate about helping others reach their full potential and strongly believes education is the way to success.


JosieFootmonSmith-HeadshotJossette Footmon-Smith, LMSW
Program Director

Jossette Footmon-Smith, LMSW, is the Program Director at VOX ATL, an out-of-school time organization championing a more equitable community through leadership and uncensored self-expression. She began working at VOX in 2013 as an intern, after graduating from Queens University of Charlotte with a bachelor's degree in human services, and has been passionate about youth voice and mental health ever since. While at VOX, Jossette received her master's degree in social work from Kennesaw State University and has worked diligently to create dedicated social-emotional learning programming opportunities, while expanding current practices for trauma-informed crisis management and peer to peer support.

She has presented at various conferences advocating for the incorporation of youth voice and SEL into afterschool programs, including the Georgia Afterschool and Youth Development Conference and the Beyond School Hours National Conference. Jossette has also served as a member of Atlanta's Coalition for LGBTQ Youth's (ACFLY) training and development committee and is currently a member of the Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network's second cohort of Afterschool Champions, an advocacy program for quality out-of-school time initiatives across the state.

In her free time, Jossette enjoys spending time with family, practicing yoga, reading and playing video games with her husband.


MatrexKilgore-HeadshotMatrex Kilgore
Director of Out of School Time Programs
Creative Action

Matrex is an international arts administrator, performer, director, and teaching artist based in Austin, Texas. He attended The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Theatre and Dance, and has taught theatre for social change to elementary to college-aged students. He worked internationally performing and creating bilingual performances based on classical pieces of theatre, and he developed several plays for the nation's largest theatre for youth, Seattle Children's Theatre.

Matrex is the Program Director of Out of School Time at Creative Action and he is one of the recipients of The National Afterschool Association 2018 Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders under 30 for his work with The Housing Authority of the City of Austin and Greater Austin Community.


RahkiahBrown-HeadshotRahkiah Brown
Manager of Educational Partnerships
United Way of North Central Florida

"I volunteered with the Alachua County NAACP as the ACT-SO Chairperson as a college student at the University of Florida in 2008 and discovered my passion for youth. From that point on, I've always just taken the next best step to continue to make an impact on youth in my community. So, I quit my quiet job at a food microbiology lab to work in the very loud yet exciting afterschool Extended Day Enrichment Program at Lake Forest Elementary. It was through that experience that I decided that I would always be working with or for youth in some capacity for the rest of my life.

"Over 10 years later, I've only become more passionate and dedicated to serving, equipping and advocating for the success of youth in school and in life. In my position as the Manager of Educational Partnerships at United Way of North Central Florida, I oversee our ReadingPals program which matches over 200 volunteer literacy mentors with 1st-3rd grade students who are struggling in reading, as well as lead the Alachua County region of the Florida Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. In the past year, my work has included The BOOST (Better-Out-Of-School-Time) Alliance, a grassroots advocacy and collaboration effort led by afterschool professionals benefiting afterschool and out-of-school time workers and the greater Alachua County community. Working alongside afterschool and out-of-school time Executive Directors in our community to help coordinate this movement has created a deeper voice and urgency to see improvements in equity and inclusion within systems impacting youth and their families.

"In my spare time, I enjoy being a violinist in our community orchestra, binging Netflix and Hulu shows, eating Tacos on Tuesdays with my co-workers, reading, traveling, and riding roller coasters. I absolutely love parks and I hope to visit many of our nation's national parks over my lifetime."