Newsmakers for July 2005

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Nine months after the passing of Rich Scofield, founder and president of the Nashville-based School-Age Notes (SAN), a veteran youth work advocate from Ohio is literally taking ownership of the effort to keep his project alive.

Tracey Ballas, a consultant for SAN who was appointed chief operating officer in September, announced that she would purchase the publication for an undisclosed amount and relocate it to New Albany, Ohio. Ballas will serve as the organization’s president.

SAN Managing Editor Joyce Jackson has agreed to stay on, moving to the company’s new location. Begun by Scofield in 1980, SAN is the country’s foremost resource center for people involved in after- and before-school programming.

It would be hard to find a person more qualified to lead it than Ballas, whose after-school résumé reads like a perfect report card. She has served as the statewide coordinator for the Ohio Project on Out-of-School Time and as director of the Ohio Child Care Resource and Referral Association. She also helped found the National School-Age Care Alliance (now the National AfterSchool Association, or NAA), the group leading the charge for accreditation of after-school programs.

Ballas’ move received quick endorsement from national after-school advocates, including NAA Board President Judy Nee, National Institute on Out-of-School Time Executive Director Ellen Gannett, and California School-Age Consortium Executive Director Darci Smith.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to continue the vision that Rich Scofield had for School-Age Notes and the after-school field,” Ballas said in a prepared statement. “I am also very excited about the prospect of taking this company to a whole new level of services and products.”

Jackson says the new endeavors will include launching a tour by authors who have written books that are distributed through SAN (the first will take four writers to a one-day seminar in Chicago). There will also be offerings of packaged book sets. “If you’re a starting school-age program, these are the best 10 books on that,” Jackson says, as an example. “And if you’re experienced, here’s a group of books on activities.” Contact: (800) 410-8780,

Kimberly Barnes-O’Connor is in as deputy director of the Chicago-based National Parent Teachers Association (PTA) as of May. She will operate the nonprofit’s Washington, D.C. office, overseeing the PTA’s advocacy and monitoring of federal legislation. Barnes-O’Connor worked on youth policy for former Sen. Nancy Kassebaum (R-Kan.) and Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.) when he was a Republican, and is a former board member of the American Youth Work Center, publisher of Youth Today. The PTA claims some 6 million members nationwide. Contact: (800) 307-4782,

The new face of the Irving, Texas-based Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) won’t be a mother. It won’t even be a woman.

Glynn Birch, a former vacuum cleaner salesman-turned-cable television account executive, was elected to serve a three-year term as MADD’s first male president. He succeeds Wendy Hamilton. In 1988, Birch’s son Courtney was killed by a drunk driver with three prior DUI convictions. Birch is the former president of MADD’s Central Florida chapter.

Hamilton used the announcement – made at a Washington, D.C., media event commemorating MADD’s 25th anniversary – to urge opposition to President George Bush’s plan to cut $1.27 billion in restitution funds from the Justice Department’s Crime Victims Fund, created to provide support for the victims of violent crime. The cut would be “a catastrophic blow to programs run by nearly 4,400 community service groups like MADD to assist 4 million crime victims most in need each year,” Hamilton said at the news conference.

MADD has a central staff of more than 400 in Irving, overseeing 600 affiliates around the world. Contact: (800) 438-6233,

David Kass has been promoted from within to serve as executive director of the D.C.-based Fight Crime: Invest in Kids. The nonprofit anti-crime organization, composed of more than 2,500 law enforcement personnel and victims of violence, also focuses on early learning and Head Start issues. Kass, formerly the organization’s chief operating officer, will oversee day-to-day operations and help President Sandy Newman (who steps aside as executive director) set the long-term course.

Before joining Fight Crime in 2002, Kass was the deputy assistant secretary for legislation at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Contact: (202) 776-0027,

Fresh off a year that saw voting in the youngest age bracket jump 20 percent from 2000, America’s most iconic youth vote-driver is seeking to entrench itself into Washington’s political fabric.

Rock the Vote (RTV), the MTV-generation nonprofit created to encourage young people to register and go to the polls, celebrated its 15th birthday with a barbecue dinner in the National Building Museum’s colossal Great Hall – located just blocks from the heart of the city’s lobbyist row. Tables went for $5,000 to $15,000. Guests saw awards doled out to the likes of former President Bill Clinton, Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), and rap group Black Eyed Peas. RTV says the event netted $680,000.

“This is the perfect time to ask for a seat among power brokers here in Washington,” RTV President Jehmu Greene told guests. Contact: (202) 962-9710,

David Larkin, executive director of the embattled Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, resigned last month. Larkin stepped down after it was revealed that the group had drastically exaggerated its minority-youth membership. An investigation by a local law firm found that the scout council served 5,000 minority boys in the area, while claiming to serve 15,000. Local minority leaders in the area believe the number is even lower, and called for the scout council to hold a roll call to get the actual number. Contact: (770) 989-8820,

The Young Americans Bank and Young Americans Center for Financial Education, both based in Denver, named Chief Financial Officer Barbara Danbom to succeed outgoing CEO Linda Childears. Childears took over this month at the Denver-based Daniels Fund, succeeding CEO and former U.S. Sen. Hank Brown. Contact: Young Americans (303) 321-2265,; (877) 791-4726,

With things looking up on the financial side for the New York-based Children’s Aid Society (CAS), two longtime members of its hierarchy have taken the opportunity to make way for new leadership.

The CAS Board of Trustees announced last month that Philip Coltoff, the organization’s CEO since 1981, will step down in October after nearly 40 years with CAS. Coltoff will pop in from time to time as a special adviser.

Following him out the door is the retiring assistant executive director for community affairs, Herman Bagley, who has been with the organization since 1955.

Although it wasn’t set in stone, the move toward a successor began when Coltoff was appointed CEO in 2002. CAS concurrently named Pete Moses to the executive director position (which had been Coltoff’s title from 1981 until then), and he will now take over as CEO. Talk about replacing a veteran with a veteran: Moses has been with CAS for 36 years, only four fewer than Coltoff.

Moses will not be directly replaced as executive director. William Weisberg, associate division director of city and country branches, will assume the title of associate executive director.

CAS recently received a $10 million grant from Atlantic Philanthropies for its pregnancy prevention program, headed by Dr. Michael Carrera, which it will use to replicate the program in New York City and other locations. The program now oversees replications at nine sites that include Flint, Mich., and Milledgeville, Ga. CAS also recently received a $200,000 gift from New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez for its school-based mental health program. Contact: (212) 949-4800,


President Bush tapped Mississippi state schools chief Henry Johnson to be the assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education at the U.S. Department of Education. Johnson’s job will include working with the states on falling in line with the spirit of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Johnson, a 59-year-old Democrat, went to Mississippi from his home state of North Carolina, where he served as associate state superintendent for seven years. He plans to continue working for Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour through July, while he awaits Senate confirmation.

The word from Mississippi is that Johnson is a class act, skilled in deliberate decision-making. “He’s one of the most approachable people in education that I’ve ever met,” says Jane Boykin, president of the Mississippi Forum on Children and Families. “He’s very pragmatic, is really bright and thinks things through.”

It would be hard to find a candidate with more direct experience in handling troubled education systems: Both of his previous states rank among the bottom 10 in the 2004 Kids Count indicators of child well-being, which use data from 2001. Mississippi ranked last, while North Carolina came in 41st. Kids Count ranked Mississippi as the third-worst state when it comes to youth not in school and not working, while the two states tied for 35th in dropout rates.

“Once you’ve been here, you’ve virtually seen it all,” Boykin says.

Johnson’s nomination follows several moves in late May at the Education Department. Raymond Simon (the previous holder of Johnson’s new job) was confirmed as deputy secretary to Education Secretary Margaret Spelling. Thomas Luce III was nominated to serve as the department’s assistant secretary for planning, evaluation and policy development. Luce is the founder and chairman of Austin, Texas-based Just for the Kids, a decade-old nonprofit seeking to raise academic standards and increase student achievement. Contact: Department of Education (800) 872-5327,

When it comes to just desserts, it doesn’t get much better than the demise of Windy Hill, associate commissioner for Head Start under the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF).

For years, the National Head Start Association (NHSA), headed by CEO Sarah Greene, railed against what it saw as a federal witch hunt meant to dismantle the federally funded national preschool program. The association said federal investigations were yielding tough penalties for relatively minute infractions.

At the forefront of the scheme, alleged NHSA, was Hill. She was appointed by President Bush in 2002, after she ran Cen-Tex, a Head Start center in Bastrop, Texas.

“During Windy’s tenure, the Head Start community saw a total change from [the federal government] working with programs to literally attacking them,” Greene says. “After 36 years of a supportive relationship, the field went from wanting federal audits and supervision to, in recent years, dreading review.”

NHSA did its own investigating, and it appears its efforts bore fruit. The group discovered that an HHS review had found that Hill received undue benefits in her role as executive director at the Head Start in Bastrop. Documents made public by NHSA last year revealed that: Hill had paid herself for more than 634 hours of vacation on the way out (Cen-Tex has a “use it or lose it” policy); that Hill had approved three bonuses for herself, paying them out of accounts payable instead of payroll (possibly to avoid taxes); and that Cen-Tex drew down more than $100,000 in funds from Head Start to which it was not entitled.

The embattled associate commissioner resigned over the Memorial Day weekend, a year after the NHSA revelations.

Hill has “dragged out into the headlines every possible problem – real or imagined, substantiated or simply alleged – and trashed [Head Start] programs across the country,” Greene said in an April 2004 statement. “To think that she was, at the same time, benefiting from a cover-up of her own misconduct during her tenure as head of a Head Start agency is simply astonishing.” Hill had asked for a general review of the allegations by the HHS Office of the Inspector General. She departed before the office’s report saw the light of day.

NHSA issued a statement last month urging the new acting Head Start director – Hill’s former boss, ACF Commissioner Joan Ohl – to reveal the findings of that review. “We believe that the best way to make a clean break with the past is to publicly disclose what we understand is an unfavorable report … that led to departure of Ms. Hill,” Greene said in a statement.   

Judy Holt, spokeswoman for the inspector general, said the file on Hill is officially closed, and that material on the matter is available only through requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act. NHSA and several media organizations have filed requests.

Whatever the results of the report, NHSA’s Greene hopes the field can put this era of Head Start to rest. “I’m hoping whoever replaces Ms. Hill is very qualified and understands the purpose of the program,” she says. “I’m optimistic there’s a brighter day ahead.”

Hill may be thrown a lifeline in her old stomping grounds: Rumors abound that Texas Gov. Rick Perry plans to hire her as a consultant to the state. Contact: ACF (202) 401-9215,


Shayne Schneider, 59, founder and former director of Mentors, Inc. Schneider began the successful Washington, D.C. program, then left in 1994 to create a consulting business that helped to organize and develop the National Mentoring Partnership.

Stella Raudenbush, 59, senior fellow at the St. Paul, Minn.-based National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC). Raudenbush previously served as executive director of NYLC Michigan’s K-12 Service-Learning Center, a hub for its National Service-Learning Initiative.

Bud Meredith, 77, former president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The former lobbyist and businessman ran the center from 1986 to 1989.