Leadership Team


Leadership Team

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.

Photo of the CAN Leadership and CAN Teams

CAN’s Leadership Committees include the Finance Committee, Strategy Committee, and Leadership Development Committee. They are comprised of CAN Leaders and as committees of the CAN Leadership Team, they are responsible to the CAN Leadership Team. Using the drop-down list below, learn of our committees. 

Finance Committee

The purpose of the Finance Committee is to monitor CAN’s Budget and Finances, support fund development strategies in conjunction with the Executive Director, create recommendations to the Leadership Team on how CAN Leaders can support fund development efforts, and make decisions on whether or not CAN engages in new efforts through the Opportunity Consideration and Adoption Process.

Strategy Committee

The purpose of the Strategy Committee is to lead the strategic planning efforts in conjunction with the Executive Director, develop and monitor the process to review progress toward strategic directions, and evaluate new opportunities for CAN using the Opportunity Consideration and Adoption Process.

Leadership Development Committee

This committee ensures diverse leaders based on CAN’s strategic direction. It recruits and orients new CAN leaders, assesses LT member experience, and makes recommendations to improve Leadership Team culture and capacity.


Natalie A. Walrond
Committed to June 2026, Strategy Committee

Headshot of Natalie Walrond

Area Director, Resilient and Healthy Schools and Communities, WestEd

Natalie Walrond serves as the director for the Resilient and Healthy Schools and Communities content area at WestEd. In this role, she oversees the growth and dissemination of the agency’s body of work related to creating safe, supportive, responsive, and equitable conditions in which every child, youth, and adult can learn, grow, and thrive. Walrond brings to her work over twenty-five years of experience in K-12 education, finance, and strategy, for both for-profit and nonprofit organizations.


Laura Wasson
Committed to June 2026, Strategy Committee

Director of Talent and Quality Initiatives, Extended Child Care

Born and raised in Sonoma County. I started my journey in Expanded Learning during my school-age years as I attended Extended Child Care kinder-6th grade. After graduating high school, I became an Instructional Aide for Extended Child Care. My education revolves around human behavior. Through experience and education, I rose up the ECC ladder, directed a site, and now am the Director of Talent and Quality Initiatives/Program Director. I have two AA degrees from Santa Rosa Junior College in Child Development and Behavioral and Social Sciences,  my BA from Sonoma State University in Human Development, and MA from the University of Arizona in Psychology.


Mara Welsh Mahmood
Committed to June 2024, Strategy Committee

Photo of Mara Mahmood  Interim Executive Director, University-Community Links (UC Links)

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.