The Leadership Team is the primary governing body of the California AfterSchool Network. The Leadership Team is responsible for providing leadership, strategic direction and support to the committees and participants in the California AfterSchool Network.
Director of Student, Family, and Community Engagement,
Lassen County Office of Education
James Hall serves as Program Manager of Prevention and Expanded Learning for the Lassen County Office of Education. In his role at the Lassen County Office of Education, he serves as an ASES Program Director; plans and implements expanded learning opportunities for students in TK to 12th grade; and serves as the county lead for Visual and Performing Arts, Tobacco Use Prevention Education, and Federal Program Monitoring. James is passionate about out-of-school time because he was involved in after school activities as a student and saw the benefits and the awesome opportunities that were available to help expand his horizons. He loves to see the same happen for students and adults today. James was motivated to join the CAN Leadership Team because he desires to help address the need for high-quality programs, share knowledge, and lend support to make this a reality, no matter the size or location of the program.
Vice President, Boys & Girls Clubs of Garden Grove
Christina Sepulveda is the Vice President of Community Impact Programs for Boys & Girls Clubs of Garden Grove. Christina has been in youth development for 15 years and on the CAN Leadership Team since 2017 and Co-Chair since 2020. She is currently responsible for overseeing Early Learning Initiatives, Community Health Services, and Family Engagement/Outreach. She is responsible for the recruitment, coordination, and maintenance of community partnerships that foster the coordination of services for families in the community. She has a proven track record leading and facilitating community projects that build healthier communities through education, advocacy, and support. Christina’s focus in youth development has been on ‘whole-child’ models and mental health. Her strong belief in collaboration and serving the ‘whole-child’ has been a guiding philosophy throughout her career in youth development.
Youth Development Director, YMCA of San Joaquin County
John Acosta is the Youth Development Director for the YMCA of San Joaquin County. At the Y, he manages, directs and coordinates the after school program and day camps, assuring high-quality programs. He has been working in the after-school setting for over ten years and is very passionate about the significant impact it makes in a student’s life. Joining the CAN Leadership Team gives John the opportunity to share his knowledge and experiences to other afterschool leaders
Senior Director of City Wide Services, Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco
Regional Director, LA’s Best
Maria holds an LA’s BEST Regional Director position with the Los Angeles Unified School District, in which she is responsible for providing support and development to a Region. Her role includes monitoring program sites to ensure that program values are implemented and that sites are in compliance with terms and conditions of grants. As well as creating and supporting continuous learning opportunities for staff in successfully integrating ideas and strategies towards quality student engagement. Maria’s passion comes from 26 years of experience in the afterschool movement. Maria has seen first hand the memorable impact afterschool programs have in the communities we serve and through the experience has assimilated the understanding needed as an afterschool practitioner into the various field positions she has held within the LA’s BEST Afterschool Enrichment program. Maria was motivated to join the CAN Leadership Team because she is committed to working to develop the growth and progress of our staff so that our children have a safe place to engage in meaningful learning experiences.
Co-Director, Temescal Associates
Co-Regional Lead, Ventura County Office of Education
SBCSS Lead, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools
Director of High School Programs, A World Fit For Kids!
Bill Fennessy is the Director of Community Partnerships and Work-Based Learning for Think Together. In his role at Think Together, he supports High School ASSETs Programs in collaborating with Career Technical Education Programs at school districts and sites to better support Workforce Readiness and Work-Based Learning activities, with a special focus on internships. Bill is passionate about out-of-school time because he believes in the great potential of Older Youth, and wants to support their dreams by providing opportunities for their greater success. Bill was motivated to join the CAN Leadership Team because he feels this is the next significant step in his over 15 years of being able to serve the Expanded Learning Field as a thought leader, pioneer, innovator, and practitioner.
Consultant, California Expanded Learning
Pablo Garcia-Hernandez is the Grants and Funding Programs Manager for Los Angeles Unified School District’s Beyond the Bell Branch. Pablo has worked in the youth development field for 25 years. His first experience was as an arts educator for Los Angeles Conservation Corp’s Clean and Green Program at Carver Middle School in South Los Angeles. He has worked in a wide variety of capacities and job titles in the field since then. He is currently responsible for overseeing grant operations for over 600 ASES, ASSETs, and 21CCLC-funded schools within LAUSD. He is also currently on the Founding Advisory Board for a new Los Angeles-Based organization, Rainbow Labs, that will pair Queer and Gender Non-Conforming Youth with mentors and leadership programming. His strong commitments to authentic youth-led programming and empowering young people to shape their own communities have made True North throughout his career, and in his choices for groups that he works and volunteers for.
Expanded Learning Program Managers, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD)
Laila Jenkins-Perez is one of three Expanded Learning Program Managers for the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). Included in their role at OUSD, is to ensure that all 76 expanded learning programs are designed to complement learning and enhance the achievement opportunities for all students; assist K-12 schools in implementing operational/programmatic systems to fulfill the goal as full-service schools by aligning after-school programs with the school day; implementation of grant-funded quality after-school programs to ensure that program goals are achieved, necessary parties are mobilized, and efforts of all personnel involved in the programs are operating at a high standard. Laila is passionate about out-of-school time because it represents actualized social justice at its core with youth at its center. Laila was motivated to join the CAN Leadership Team because she is excited to serve her community at the state level, enhance her strategic systems design experience, and amplify the expanded learning voice, visibility, and value.
Mariana Lopez Quintanilla is a native of Venezuela who started her journey in the educational field in 1998 working in early childhood education and academic support for students with ADHD. In 2007, she worked with refugee youth in Miami Dade County to ensure that families understood the educational system and that students received services that supported their academic and social development.
In 2009, Mariana joined Bay Area Community Resources, where she has worked in the afterschool field in different capacities serving thousands of students every year, and supporting a team of 60 afterschool and family services professionals. A few years later, continuing her efforts to support marginalized communities, Mariana started training volunteers in Cultural Sensitivity to equip them with tools before they started helping students in Title I schools. For the last seven years, she has been an active board member of San Rafael City Schools Foundation, HeadsUp, where she continues to be an advocate for immigrant children and families in Marin County.
In 2014, Mariana received the BACR Best Practices Award for After
School Programs and a Golden Bell Award from the Marin County
Office of Education. She completed a fellowship program in 2016
with the National Equity Project and a fellowship with the
National After School Matters Initiative in 2020. She is
passionate about equity in education, implementing strategies to
develop quality after school programs, and finding resources that
inspire students to learn.
Director of Strategic Expansion, U.S. Soccer Foundation
Bruno Marchesi is the California State Director of the U.S. Soccer Foundation with the goal to enhance, assist, and grow the sport of soccer in the United States. He believes that the Expanded Learning field in California serves the needs of a diverse and underserved community, especially in keeping young people physically and emotionally safe, and providing them with opportunities for academic enrichment and food security in a caring environment. Bruno joined the California AfterSchool Network’s Leadership Team, continuing to serve as Co-Chair of the Health and Wellness Action Team with the hope to be able to contribute to these important efforts. Bruno’s passion and drive come from his own core values of humility, integrity, and service.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), ProYouth
Dr. Marie M. Pinto is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for ProYouth, a nonprofit, Expanded Learning organization based in the Central Valley of California. In her role at ProYouth, Marie oversees the operation that serves 15,000 students, on 50 school sites, in six school districts and two counties. Marie is passionate about out-of-school time because it provides opportunities to those children who may not access to academic support, enrichment, a healthy meal, and a caring adult. Marie was motivated to join the CAN Leadership Team because it allowed her to participate in the process that can effect positive change for the field of expanded learning, and to work and interact with the change agents of the state.
Lupine is a Central Valley native who has been working in the out-of-school time (OST) field for nearly twenty years. She started as a summer camp counselor and later served in various roles at a range of youth development organizations, including LA’s BEST after-school program and the American Camp Association. Most recently, Lupine was Vice President of Client Services for Arrowhead Management Company, a fundraising consulting firm responsible for raising millions of dollars for non-profit organizations each year. She currently is the Director of Development at the California School-Age Consortium (CalSAC), for which she has served as a staff member for 6 years, and as a volunteer since 2009. Lupine has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Music from UCLA and a Master of Public Administration from USC. In her free time, you’ll find her outdoors – running, hiking, camping, and kayaking or indoors – swing dancing.
Harlyn Santos is Director of Programs and Operations for Think Together in the Santa Fe Springs Region. Harlyn has been in the Expanded Learning field for over 20 years. In her role, she leads strategically, acts intentionally, and works collaboratively across several platforms in order to ensure that students benefit from participating in OST programs. Her primary responsibility is to ensure the quality and fidelity of all programs by supporting daily operations, and oversight of the region. She collaborates with district partners and community partners to ensure that policies, procedures, and protocols are followed to benefit the students served. Harlyn was motivated to join the CAN Leadership Team because she is passionate about closing the achievement gap and giving all students an opportunity to develop as a whole. She wants to be part of the catalyst for change that is needed across our state for benefit of those in the field and for the field.
Erin Sipes currently serves as a district administrator and grant manager in Elk Grove Unified School District’s Office of Expanded Learning, overseeing district summer learning programs and ASES, 21st CCLC, and ASSETs programs that serve over 4,200 youth daily. During her 20+ years as an educator, she has worked as a site administrator, a curriculum specialist, a classroom teacher, and an inclusive education specialist and first became involved with after school programs in 2006. Ms. Sipes wholeheartedly believes that it is our responsibility to enable all students to realize their greatest potential by building capacity within and empowering those who directly serve them to provide every student with purposeful opportunities to learn and grow. In addition to her work with EGUSD, her passion for leadership development has led her to work with the Sacramento County Office of Education as a facilitator of professional learning and coach for new administrators. Erin currently serves as a member of the California Department of Education Expanded Learning Division’s Sustainability Committee and as a member of the California Afterschool Network’s Whole Child Health and Wellness Collaborative.
Mara Welsh Mahmood is the Interim Executive Director for University-Community Links (UC Links), a network of university and community partners working together to develop expanded learning programs that connect K-12 young people with university faculty and students in engaging, informal learning activities. Mara has been involved with UC Links since 1996, when she was a graduate student at UC Riverside, teaching the UC Links undergraduate practicum course and serving as the site coordinator for the UC Links program at a local elementary school. Mara went on to join the UC Links statewide office in the Graduate School of Education at UC Berkeley as the Director of Site Development and Evaluation and later as Associate Director. Mara has explored, studied, and written about learning within and across multiple contexts including K-12, higher education, and after-school across California and the US, as well as out-of-school (OST) learning in São Paulo, Brazil, and other countries. Mara was motivated to join the CAN Leadership Team to leverage this unique “pandemic as portal” moment and work collaboratively to re-imagine expanded learning opportunities and rebuild the systems and structures to support California’s children, youth, families, and the OST field.
Director, California Department of Education – Expanded Learning Division
Michael Funk, Director of the Expanded Learning Division for the California Department of Education, led the development of “A Vision for Expanded Learning in California, Strategic Plan 1.0: 2014–2016” which resulted in numerous successes in embedding quality, systems, and technical assistance to support programs and elevate expanded learning as a key partner in the K–12 education system. The plan created a California statewide system of support. Michael led the second iteration, “A Vision for Expanded Learning in California, Strategic Plan 2.0: 2019–2023”, to sustain California’s momentum and innovative path to support quality expanded learning programs across the State. Through the Compassionate Systems Framework, the System of Support for Expanded Learning works with the Center for Systems Awareness to support staff and students. One of the many passionate reasons Michael joined the CAN Leadership Team is to see that California’s Expanded Learning Programs be an integral part of young people’s education, engaging them in year-round learning opportunities that prepare them for college, career, and life.