We're pleased to welcome NAA's two newly elected Board of Directors members: Ebony Grace, Director of Partnerships and Quality Initiatives, New Jersey School Age Care Coalition, and Erika E. Rucker, Project Manager for BREAD (Birmingham Regional Empowerment and Development Center) and President-Elect of the Alabama Community Education Association.
They'll begin to serve their three-year terms in July 2019.
When seeking applicants, NAA looked for leaders whose work and professional expertise could further the organization's goals.
"I am absolutely humbled to have been elected to serve on the NAA Board of Directors," said Grace, adding that it's the greatest compliment on her experience and knowledge be seen as valuable to the national community of afterschool professionals. "The best part of what I do daily is my ability to provide resources, advocacy and a voice for the professionals in this field. As a member of the NAA Board of Directors, I will have the opportunity to serve afterschool professionals on a national level, advocating for their professional needs."
Grace is excited to join the Board and work to serve afterschool professionals for the next three years—a sentiment Rucker shares.
"Being elected to the Board for NAA is truly an honor because I was selected by other Afterschool Professionals," said Rucker. "I'm honored that they have entrusted me to be a voice for the afterschool profession."
Grace began her career working as a summer camp counselor in her teenage years and would have never thought back then that she would one day train professionals for a statewide afterschool network and serve on the NAA Board of Directors.
"It is important to demonstrate to our professionals-novice and veterans, potential investors, and the world that afterschool and out-of-school time is a profession that needs to be recognized with formal education and career pathways," said Grace, who cites her past experience as a therapist, afterschool professional and trainer as a gateway to understanding the importance of self-care for afterschool professionals. "While assisting in the success of youth is extremely rewarding, it can be physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. It's important to me to recognize and provide for the self-care needs of our professionals."
Rucker knows serving on NAA's Board of Directors means she gets the chance to show afterschool as a profession by creating space for professional development and innovation.
"It's important to me because I believe that all students deserve quality afterschool—and that those of us that choose it as a career be seen as professionals, instead of babysitters," said Rucker.
"While serving on the Board, I hope to help continue to make NAA the go-to source for afterschool professional development and make the NAA Annual Conference even better than before."
Courtesy of NAA.