Trainings & Events
To achieve its goal of expanding access to high-quality afterschool programs, the Iowa Afterschool Alliance provides professional development and training to help improve and maintain the quality of programming available to children and families.
2020 Speaker Biographies
Michelle Cummings, Training Wheels, Inc.
Michelle Cummings M.S. is the Big Wheel and founder of Training Wheels, a known leader in the Team Development industry. She is an accomplished author and sought-after speaker and consultant on leadership, teambuilding, and experiential learning. Michelle has created a wide variety of facilitation, debriefing and teambuilding activities that have collectively changed the way trainers and educators work. Michelle is also the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer for Personify Leadership, a leadership development company.
Michelle has delivered innovative leadership programs for hundreds of camps and non-profit organizations. Michelle works with professional associations, corporations, universities, and non-profit organizations throughout the world. Her online teambuilding gear site has over 350 different books, activities and kits dedicated to the teambuilding field.
Michelle speaks at more than 15 local, national, and international conferences each year and authors a monthly teambuilding newsletter called The Spokesperson that has over 18,000 subscribers in 65 countries. Michelle Cummings has authored six books: A Teachable Moment, Bouldering Games for Kids, Playing With a Full Deck, Setting the Conflict Compass, Facilitated Growth, and Tag, You're It. She also designed a unique course for teaching new facilitators called "Experiential Facilitation 101". Michelle also wrote a novel called The Reel Sisters, a story about a group of women fly fishers that was released November 4, 2017.
Michelle received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Kansas State University and her Master’s degree in Experiential Education from Minnesota State University at Mankato. Michelle currently lives in Littleton, CO with her husband, Paul, and two sons.
21CCLC Family Engagement Committee
This committee focuses on strategies for family engagement, including identifying and sharing best practices.
21CCLC Evaluation Committee
This committee provides insight on state evaluation and resources around evaluation for programs and resources for sustainability. The committee reviews out-of-school time data, such as the annual Statewide Afterschool Report and provides input on the statewide survey for local 21CCLC programs.
STEM Active Learning Community Partnership
STEM Active Learning Community is a partnership of STEM professionals working in Iowa's informal education community. Presenters include Anne Shimerdla from Blank Park Zoo, Renee Harmon from Science Center of Iowa, and Deb Dunkhase from The Iowa Children's Museum (retired). All three presenters are trained STEM "Dimensions of Success" observers and certified by the PEAR Institute at Harvard University.
Almardi Abdalla, Oakridge Adult and Family Programs
Almardi Abdalla is the Director of Adult and Family Programs at Oakridge Neighborhood Services. Almardi has been with Oakridge for over 10 years. At Oakridge, he started as a Case Manager then became HOPE program manager then Citizenship Instructor and Driver’s Ed program Coordinator. Almardi has BA in Public Administration and Masters of Art. In Addition to working for Oakridge Neighborhood, Almardi worked Neighborhood Health Initiative NHI, City of Des Moines Housing Services and for Des Moines Public Schools. Almardi is married and has two boys.
Katie Boatright, Fairfield Community School District
Katie is in her second year as director of the Character & Community Program that is affiliated with the Fairfield Community School District. She also wears the site supervisor hat most days to ensure that the program runs smoothly. The Character & Community Program provides out-of-school time activities for 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade students in Jefferson County.
Megan Bogdan, YouthPort
Megan has been with YouthPort, which is made up of three organizations (Boys & Girls Club of the Corridor, Tanager Place, and YPN) for the last 2.5 years. Megan is currently the Program Director and plans all of educational activities for both the 21CCLC sites including enrichment opportunities.
Lesley Christensen, Des Moines Public Schools
Lesley Christensen is the Community School Coordinator at Monroe Elementary where she focuses her work in the areas of Integrated Student Supports and Active Family and Community Engagement.
Sharlene Claytor, Des Moines Public Schools
Sharlene Claytor is the Community School Coordinator at Goodrell Middle School. Her role is to foster the development of community and school relationships which leads to high student achievement, stronger families and healthier communities.
Bryan Coffey, Special Olympics
Bryan has been the Director of Unified Programs for 3 years. He has developed opportunities for individuals of ALL ABILITIES to play, train, compete and interact with each other. Prior to Special Olympics Iowa, Bryan was an event coordinator for another Des Moines area nonprofit for 4 years.
Dawn Cogan, St. Mark’s Youth Enrichment Program
Dawn Cogan serves as Executive Director of St. Mark. She is passionate about creating environments that foster authenticity, trust, creativity, excellence, and accountability in a manner that emanates from within who we are as individuals and an organization.
Beth Downing, Coralville Parks and Recreation Department
Downing graduated from The University of Iowa in 2008 with a degree in Therapeutic Recreation. She started working for the Coralville Parks & Recreation Department the summer of 2006 and just never left because “she loves it so much.” While not a #parksandreckid growing up, Downing loves creating a safe & fun environment in which kids can enjoy their out of school time. When not playing with her work kids, she is always into something with her own two kids (ages 4 & 18 months) and her husband.
Cara Edmundson, Des Moines Public Schools
Cara has been the Community School Coordinator at DM Lincoln High School for five years. In her role, she works closely with partners to strengthen and expand programming for students and families. She is passionate about finding ways that high school students and programs can work in the elementary and middle feeder schools to build relationships and offer OST access prior to 9th grade. She received her BA in Communications from Truman State University and her MS in Adult Learning and Organizational Performance from Drake University.
Cassie Gerst, Burlington Community School District
Cassie Gerst is the Outreach Coordinator for the Burlington Community School District and brings a wealth of knowledge with her in her role overseeing the P.I.E.C.E.S. afterschool program. She has her Master’s in Positive Youth Development and has worked in the field of OST programming for over a decade. Her energetic style shines when training staff in experiential activities, working with students, and conducting professional development.
Crystal Hall, Iowa Afterschool Alliance
Crystal Hall joined the IAA in August of 2019 and has over 20 years’ experience working with youth, families, and community partners in both the education and non-profit/human service world. Crystal participated in the Youth AstroNet program in the fall of 2019 and believes it to be a very valuable experience for youth.
Nicole Hanson, ISU Extension and Outreach
Nicole Hanson is the Iowa 4-H Clover Kids (K-3) Specialist. In this position, Nicole provides leadership in the statewide Clover Kids program including partnership development, educational product development, and professional development for staff and volunteers implementing K-3 curricula. Nicole joined the Iowa 4-H team with over 10 years of experience coordinating out-of-school time programs.
Melissa Hostetler, Iowa City Community School District
Melissa Hostetler has been providing after-school programming since 2010 in the Iowa City area. Starting with 4-H on Wheels, she has been dedicated to providing hands on learning opportunities in all of her programs. Currently, she is the 21st CCLC site coordinator for Alexander Elementary in Iowa City.
Lyn Jenkins, 5-2-1-0
Lyn Jenkins works in dual roles supporting wellness through education and systems change. As the Community Health 5-2-1-0 Coordinator in central Iowa, Lyn delivers training and technical assistance to early care, school, and out-of-school sites using the 5-2-1-0 message and approach to help Iowa kids get--and stay--healthy. Lyn has a Master of Public Health from Des Moines University and has worked in and with child serving settings for over fifteen years.
Michael Johnson, Camp Fire
Michael Johnson has been the Director of Camp Hantesa in Boone since 2012. He has 20 years of summer camp administrative experience all across the country. He currently serves as the Chair for the American Camp Association Great Rivers Region.
Timothy Johnson, Des Moines Public Schools
Tim Johnson is the Community School Coordinator at Des Moines North High School. Tim focuses his work in active student/family community engagement as well as expanded and enriched learning time and opportunities for students.
Hannah Morz, Out-of-School Time Initiative
Hannah Morz is an Enrichment Coach through the Out-of-School Time Initiative working with after school and summer programs in the Des Moines Metro area. Hannah loves pushing people and organizations to challenge their comfort zone to transform the services they provide to youth. Hannah's background is in special education. She has worked both internationally and in Iowa as a special education teacher and has an M.S. in Teacher Leadership.
Taylor Noel, St. Mark’s Youth Enrichment Program
Taylor Noel serves as Director of Dubuque Programs at St. Mark. She is passionate about working hands on with children and their families, as well as staff, to teach social emotional skills throughout every aspect of the organization. She loves to foster the growth of everyone she has the pleasure of working with.
Wendy Olinger, Special Olympics
Wendy has served as the Director of Athlete Initiatives with Special Olympics Iowa for 2 1/2 years. She provides programming for the Young Athlete Play Day, Challenge Day and Athlete Leadership programs. Prior to Special Olympics Iowa, Wendy was a Special Education Teacher for 15 years.
Ron Paar, St. Mark’s Youth Enrichment Program
Ron Paar serves as a Program Coordinator. He is passionate about interweaving play, academics, and social-emotional learning together at every level of programming and during every interaction. In his role, he enjoys coaching and training site staff and working with children and parents alike.
Michelle Raymer, Volunteer Iowa
Michelle Raymer is the Senior Program Officer for Engagement and Infrastructure at Volunteer Iowa (Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service), where she supports communities in utilizing volunteerism to meet local needs. She also serves as a trainer and coach for the national Points of Light Institute’s Service Enterprise Initiative. With over 10 years of national service, nonprofit program development, and volunteer management experience, she provides training and technical assistance to Iowa nonprofits and government agencies on volunteer management best practices. She is a graduate of Central College, and holds her Master of Public Administration from Drake University.
Mallory Riesberg, Out-of-School Time Initiative
Mallory Riesberg is an Enrichment Coach through the Out-of-School Time Initiative working with after school and summer youth serving organizations in the Greater Des Moines area. She is passionate about STEM and literacy, as well as enriching the lives of youth and setting them up for success in the future. Mallory has a background in science, research, and education and an MPA focused in non-profit management. She has several years’ experience working with youth and staff in the OST setting.
Britney Samuelson, Iowa Afterschool Alliance
Britney is the Network Lead for the Iowa Afterschool Alliance. She is passionate about connecting afterschool advocates with lawmakers to help them understand the importance of out-of-school time in communities across the state. Britney graduated from Simpson College in 2017 with her bachelor’s in Social Justice, Applied Philosophy, and Spanish.
Stephanie Shavers, Operation Threshold in Waterloo
Stephanie Shavers is the Program and Coalition Coordinator for Cedar Valley Readers (5 years) and Co-Director of We Believe Summer Academy (3 years).
Bobbie Jo Sheridan, Des Moines Public Schools
Bobbie Jo Sheridan is an After School Coordinator for Des Moines Public Schools. In her role she supports quality initiatives around hiring, training & program support for the OST programs. Ms. Sheridan is passionate about Social Emotional Learning and how to provide students with tools to be successful at all stages of their lives. She holds her Social Work License in Iowa and her National Administrator Credential from NECPA. Ms. Sheridan received her undergrad in Social Work from the University of Northern Iowa and her Masters in Health Education & Promotion from Walden University.
Dom Shirley, Des Moines Public Schools
Dom Shirley is the After School Supervisor at Jackson Elementary and is in her second year with this position but first at the school. She is also a basketball coach for Lincoln High School and serves as the youth development coordinator of the youth basketball programs. Dom has been working with DMPS for seven years at different schools and with different roles.
Theresa Slaughter, Out-of-School Time Initiative
Theresa Slaughter is an OST Enrichment Coach serving after school and summer programs in the Dallas, Polk, and Warren areas. She is passionate about working and supporting youth to be their best. Theresa has a Master's in Business Leadership/Management along with a Teacher's Certification in Secondary Education. In the short version of her journey to becoming an OST Enrichment coach she has over 20 years working in various learning environments ranging from the juvenile justice system to classroom teacher and everything in between.
Kate Stocksell, Hamburg Community School District
Kate Stockstell was born, raised, and currently lives in Hamburg, Iowa. She studied and received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Peru State College. She has been involved in the Hamburg After School Club as a leader since its first year and took over running the program in 2018.
Jessie Stoffel, Council Bluffs Community School District
Jessie Stoffel is the current program director of 21st CCLC programs in Council Bluffs Schools and has managed before and after school programs at 11 schools with 21st CCLC funding. Jessie completed her undergraduate studies in interdisciplinary social sciences and graduate studies with a Master of Arts in Teaching with a focus on mathematics.
Lemi Tilahun, Cedar Rapids Community School District
Lemi Tilahun, is a community organizer, who is really passionate about problem solving. Lemi works in Cedar Rapids trailblazing the Community Based School Model at Hoover Elementary School. The mission at Hoover as a community school is to expand learning opportunities beyond the school and school hours for our students, teachers, families, and community members.
Leah Waughtal-Magiera, Des Moines Public Schools
Leah Waughtal-Magiera is an Alumni of North High School and the University of Iowa. She is currently employed as a teaching artist for RunDSM providing free after school writing workshops to elementary, middle and high school students within Des Moines Public Schools. She believes in creating safe and brave spaces where young people are given the tools of art, activism, and radical love as pathways to healing and catharsis.
Mike Wells, Hamburg Community School District
Mike is the Superintendent of Essex and Hamburg Community School District in Southwest Iowa. He holds a BA-History; MA-Admin; and an EdD-Leadership and has been a school administrator for the last 20 years.
David Welter recently retired from the Cedar Falls Community School District after serving a 40-year career in education. During that time, he taught social studies and was involved with baseball at the high school, college and professional levels while also serving as a Jr. High principal for 16 yrs.
Coaching and educating young people have formed the core of Welter’s life over the years. He established an after school program in 2000 with the help of a 21st Century Grant and that program has been self-sustaining for the past 18 years. He has been a passionate advocate for afterschool and out-of-school Time programming having witnessed the positive impact it has had on student achievement and engagement over those years.
Since retiring, Welter continues to scout for the Atlanta Braves, works as an education consultant, is involved in a number of community organizations, farms and enjoys precious time with his granddaughters. Welter has been inducted into the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame as well as being named Iowa’s Middle Level Principal of the Year.
Rachel West, Des Moines Public Schools
Rachel is in her first year as the Park Avenue Elementary 21CCLC Coordinator and After School Supervisor. In her role, she provides high-quality, hands-on, engaging, and age-appropriate academic, enrichment and recreational programs and clubs. She received her BA in Exercise Science from Iowa Wesleyan College and has past work experience in social work and corrections.
Erika Wright, Harvard University
Erika Wright is a Learning Community Coordinator at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian. She contributes to a number of national science education and outreach projects, including the development of curricula and programming centered around astronomy. With a Masters in teaching from The George Washington University, and nearly ten years of experience in museums and informal science learning institutions, her work focuses on broadening access to the STEM community through informal learning opportunities. She specializes in supporting the participation of girls, youth from groups underrepresented in STEM, and scientists together in science learning experiences beyond the classroom.