Hedy Nai-Lin Chang directs Attendance Works, a national and state level initiative aimed at advancing student success by addressing chronic absence. A skilled presenter, facilitator, researcher and writer, she co-authored the seminal report, Present, Engaged and Accounted For: The Critical Importance of Addressing Chronic Absence in the Early Grades, as well as numerous other articles about student attendance. Deeply committed to promoting two-generation solutions to achieving a more just and equitable society, Hedy has spent more than two decades working in the fields of family support, family economic success, education and child development. She served as a senior program officer at the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund and as co-director of California Tomorrow, a nonprofit committed to drawing strength from cultural, linguistic and racial diversity. In February 2013, Hedy was named by the White House as a Champion of Change for her commitment to furthering African American Education. Hedy is also the mother of two school-aged sons who attend public school in San Francisco. Listen to a podcast of Hedy Chang talking about chronic absence in the early grades.
Phyllis W. Jordan of The Hatcher Group provides communications support for Attendance Works, which includes updating the website, creating toolkits, reaching out to the media and assisting with policy briefs and op-eds. Phyllis joined the Bethesda, Md.-based public affairs firm after nearly a decade at The Washington Post, where she edited education news and state politics. She previously worked for the Los Angeles Times, The Virginian-Pilot and The Fairfax Journal. She lives with her husband and two children in Washington, D.C. The Hatcher Group works exclusively with nonprofits and foundations, connecting them with policymakers and the media to advance social change.
Cecelia Leong coordinates Attendance Works’ technical assistance resources. In addition to facilitating peer-to-peer sharing between researchers, practitioners and consultants through the Peer Learning Network, Cecelia works closely with the Attendance Works team to identify emerging technical assistance needs in reducing chronic absence and innovative tools to address those needs.
With 12 years of experience, Cecelia has used her skills as a writer, researcher and evaluator to document innovation and best practice on issues affecting children, youth and their families. She has focused on the following policy areas: K-12 education reform, universal preschool, integration of social services including school-linked services, family support, and equal access for immigrant students. Cecelia has two school-aged children who are working on perfect attendance.
Senior Policy Associate
As Senior Policy Associate for Attendance Works, Sue Fothergill provides technical assistance to communities across the country working to improve attendance. Since December of 2008 Mrs.Fothergill has served as the Director of the Baltimore Student Attendance Campaign. Mrs. Fothergill Chairs the Baltimore Student Attendance Collaborative, a partnership of 20 non-profit and public agencies and the School Committee of the Baltimore Grade Level Reading Campaign. Mrs. Fothergill has over a decade of experience in community organizing, policy analysis and advocacy and has worked to ensure that the policies and practices of state and city agencies positively affect student outcomes. Prior to her work leading the attendance campaign, Mrs. Fothergill served as an Education Advocate for the ACLU of Maryland. She is a co-founder of the Baltimore Education Coalition, and three arts integrated public charter schools; City Neighbors Charter School, City Neighbors Hamilton, and City Neighbors High School. Mrs. Fothergill has a BA in Government and Public Policy from the University of Baltimore and is the parent of two wonderful boys.
Senior Fellow to the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
Yolie Flores serves as a Senior Fellow to the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a collaborative effort of foundations, nonprofit partners, states and communities across the nation to ensure that more children from low-income families succeed in school. In this role, Yolie is leading the work on Successful Parents and supporting over 140 communities in their efforts to integrate parents into their work to ensure that more children are reading at grade level by third grade. Additionally, Yolie is Senior Associate with Attendance Works, a national project working with schools and communities across the country to end chronic absence. From 2010 to 2012, Yolie served as the CEO of Communities for Teaching Excellence, a national education advocacy organization working to ensure effective teaching for every student, in every classroom, every year. Yolie served on the LAUSD Board of Education from 2007-2011, where she led efforts to challenge the culture of failure for poor children and children of color. During her tenure, she moved the agenda on choice, teacher effectiveness, parent leadership and engagement, small schools, world languages, and early childhood. Yolie is most recognized for having ushered groundbreaking reform policies, including Parents as Equal Partners in the Education of Their Children, Public School Choice, and Quality Leadership and Teaching to Ensure a World Class Education for All. Prior to LAUSD, Yolie served for 8 years as the CEO of the Los Angeles County Children’s Planning Council, the nation’s largest children’s partnership working to improve the lives of children across five outcomes of child well-being. During her tenure, Yolie founded and launched Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors – a nationally recognized parent leadership program for Latino parents with children 0-5 years old. Over her twenty-five year career, Yolie has held several leadership roles in the non-profit, local government, and philanthropic sectors in the areas of systems change, community engagement, and child advocacy. Twice Yolie has been named Social Worker of the Year, and has received numerous recognitions for her work on behalf of children and families.