My journey to becoming the founder and CEO of Consult 4 Kids has its beginning approximately 40 years ago when I would go to my mother’s classroom before school began and helped to set up the space for learning. Each detail—sharpened pencils, personal number lines, bulletin boards, and classroom set up, was important and I was told many times that paying attention to the details helps kids understand how important learning is. From those early experiences I knew that I wanted to make a difference in the lives of kids, so I studied and became a teacher—first at middle school in a Special Education Class, and then as a physical education teacher at the same site. In the late 1990s my school was funded for an afterschool program, and the original model called for a credentialed teacher to be a site coordinator. I applied, was selected and can honestly say for the first 6-9 months, 16 hours a day seven days a week was the norm. Working with “green” staff taught me the importance of spending time on the basics and how to move adults from nodding acknowledgment to absolute buy-in. I learned that people desire to be exemplary performers and as a coach, supervisor and mentor, it is important to give them the mind set, skill set and tools they need to make that happen. I worked closely with my staff to develop strategies and best practices around assisting with homework and developing curricula for clubs that gave students opportunities to apply the academic skills they learned during the instructional day.
In 2000, I became the Project Manager for a school district-based AmeriCorps Programs and strengthened my understanding of what it takes to develop “new” staff into competent professionals who can deliver effective programming for students. Those lessons-learned, manifest in every training, every coaching, every leadership development opportunity I have with afterschool frontline staff across California.
Consult 4 Kids formalizes the work that I am already doing into a system of support for the field of afterschool. Whether staff development is live or online, in theory or in the field, for rural or urban programs, equipping others to make a difference in the lives of young people has become my new “classroom”.