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.

Communications Lead

Phyllis Jordan 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.

Associate Director

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 Fellow

Sue-Headshot As Senior Policy Fellow 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.

Manager of Research and Development

Elise Dizon-Ross manages and supports projects that advance Attendance Works’ mission to reduce chronic absence and improve student success. These projects range from supporting local technical assistance for districts and community partners to conducting research and analysis to shape Attendance Works’ role in the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. Elise was previously a program analyst with The David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s Children, Families, and Communities program. There, her work focused on promoting quality preschool and summer learning opportunities for children in California, as well as increasing children’s access to quality health care in California and across the U.S. Elise has also worked as a policy consultant to REDF, a social venture philanthropy organization, and as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company. Elise received her Masters of Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley and a BA in Economics from Stanford.