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Overview

The Coalition for Community Schools, housed at the Institute for Educational Leadership, is an alliance of national, state and local organizations in education K-16, youth development, community planning and development, family support, health and human services, government and philanthropy as well as national, state and local community school networks. Community schools are both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources. There are a number of national models and local community school initiatives that share a common set of principles: fostering strong partnerships, sharing accountability for results, setting high expectations, building on the community’s strengths, and embracing diversity and innovative solutions. For more information on community schools, contact us.

Work of the Coalition for Community Schools is made possible through the generous supported of The Atlantic Philanthropies, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, JP Morgan Chase Foundation, The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Stuart Foundation, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, and the United Way of The National Capital Area.

Staff:

Maame Appiah
Director, Operations and Network Development

Martin J. Blank
President, Institute for Educational Leadership
Director, Coalition for Community Schools

Denzel Cummings
National Policy Emerson Fellow

Reuben Jacobson
Deputy Director

Jennifer Masutani
Program Associate

Mary Kingston Roche
Director of Public Policy

Latraniecesa (LJ) Wilson
Communications Coordinator 
 
  
Maame Appiah

Director, Operations and Network Development
appiahm@iel.org

Maame joined the IEL staff in January of 2007. She is primarily responsible for partnership development and management, and day-to-day operations, including financial and programmatic management, as well as development activities for the Coalition.

Maame works with a varriety of local stakeholders to manages the Coalition's Community School's Leadership Network, Superintedents Council, Community School Coordinators Network, United Way Community Schools Affinty Group, and an emerging Community Schools Funders Network. 

Maame's experience includes interning for Michigan State Representative Barbara Farrah in the spring of 2005, where she worked on the district's bi-weekly newsletter, managed the database, and acted as the first contact for constituent relations. She has also been an after-school community service leader at an elementary school, and has volunteered for the Ronald McDonald House Charities, various women's organizations—including interning with the Women's Campaign Forum, mentoring youth and serving on various national planning committees for education/health groups.

Maame received her B.A. in Political Science from Michigan State University. She is also a graduate of the George Washington University Event Management program, and an alumni of IEL's Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP).  She is currently pursuing a Masters in Strategic Human Resource Development from Drexel University.

 

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Martin J. Blank
Director

ccs@iel.org

Martin J. Blank is the President of the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) in Washington, DC. He leads IEL in its mission to equip leaders to work together across boundaries to build effective systems that prepare children and youth for college, careers, and citizenship. Marty has been associated with IEL since 1985, focusing his work on building bridges between schools and other institutions with assets that can support student success.

Marty also serves as the Director of the Coalition for Community Schools, which is staffed by the Institute for Educational Leadership. The Coalition is a network of organizations and institutions at the local, state, and national levels working to unite school and communities.

He is the co-author of Making the Difference: Research and Practice in Community Schools, Education and Community Building: Connecting Two Worlds and Together We Can: A Guide for Crafting a Pro-family System of Education and Human Services.

Marty stays involved with local activities in the District of Columbia. He is the former Chair of D.C. VOICE, an education reform collaborative, and of the Management Team of the Early Childhood Collaborative. He has a B.A. from Columbia University, 1965, and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. He served as a VISTA Volunteer in the Missouri Bootheel.

 

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Denzel Cummings
National Policy Emerson Fellow
cummingsd@iel.org

Denzel joined IEL in 2015 as the Coalition for Community Schools National Policy Emerson Fellow from the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania. His primary duties include tracking, analyzing, and creating documents for federal legislation, regulation, and guidance as they relate to moving the community schools policies agenda.

Prior to joining IEL, Denzel has worked for Search for Common Ground as a DC Race intern, and for Cory Booker for U.S. Senate as a campaign fellow. Denzel has also been involved with the Netter Center as a summer college prep coordinator for Lea Community School. Through this position, Denzel has worked on creating syllabi and programs for middle school students in order for them to get their first taste of the college experience at an early age.

In his undergraduate career, Denzel helped co-found the Black Ivy Coalition, a coalition of minority student leaders across all eight Ivy League Schools and several other institutions, which has been featured in several publications. Denzel also served as Co-Chair of UMOJA, the umbrella group for the African Diaspora at Penn, and worked on several projects with the President's and Vice Provosts office regarding safe spaces for minority students, faculty diversity, and police/community relations.

Denzel graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics with a Distributive Justice concentration.
 
 
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Reuben Jacobson
Deputy Director
jacobsonr@iel.org

Reuben Jacobson serves as the Deputy Director for the Coalition for Community Schools. In that capacity he develops and implements the Coalition’s research agenda, conducts and analyzes research on community schools, communicates research findings to the field, and works with the Coalition staff on overall strategy including policy and building local capacity.

Prior to joining IEL Reuben worked at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) in Washington, D.C. as a research analyst in education. In addition, he spent two tremendously challenging and wonderful years teaching fifth and sixth grade students in D.C. Public Schools as a D.C. Teaching Fellow. Most recently, Reuben worked on a study of teacher incentives at the University of Maryland – College Park.

Reuben is co-author of the American Educator article A Coordinated effort: Well-conducted partnerships meet students’ academic, health, and social service needs and has presented research at national meetings. He is an alumnus of IEL’s Education Policy Fellowship Program and the Education Pioneers Fellowship.

Reuben has a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin, a Master’s degree in Education Policy from the George Washington University, a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from American University, and a PhD in Education Policy from the University of Maryland – College Park.
 

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Jennifer Masutani
Program Associate
masutanij@iel.org

Jennifer Masutani joined IEL in August 2014. In this role, she provides logistical and administrative support to the Education Policy Fellowship Program, the Coalition for Community Schools, and the President of IEL. Other responsibilities include assisting with development, board meetings, and other office duties.

Prior to joining IEL, Jenn interned at the GlobalGiving Foundation providing support to nonprofits participating in online fundraising. Responsibilities at GlobalGiving included data analysis, assisting the facilitation of an online fundraising course, and communicating with organizations. She also served as a Jumpstart Corps Member, a program through Americorps, promoting early childhood literacy in Southeast DC.

Jenn graduated from American University with a degree in International Studies, concentrating on International Development and an area focus on Africa. While at American, Jenn studied abroad in Nairobi, Kenya where she learned about sustainable development.
 


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Mary Kingston Roche
Director of Public Policy
rochem@iel.org

Mary Kingston is the Director of Public Policy for the Coalition for Community Schools. In this role she leads the policy and advocacy efforts of the Coalition to promote the community schools approach both on the federal and state levels. Prior to this role, Mary served for 2.5 years as Manager of Government Relations for the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). In this role she represented the NASSP members as an active voice on Capitol Hill at the federal level for the best policies possible for secondary school leaders and school districts across the nation.  While at NASSP, Mary also led the lobbying efforts of the nation's largest education coalition, the Committee for Education Funding, in the role of Hill Teams Co-Chair. Mary is a proud alumna of IEL's Education Policy Fellowship Program, class of 2011. 
 
Mary received her Master of Public Policy from Duke University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Boston University.  Prior to joining the staff at NASSP she began her career teaching middle and high school English for three years in Oakland, CA.

 

Latraniecesa (LJ) Wilson
Communications Coordinator 
wilsonl@iel.org

Latraniecesa (LJ) Wilson joined the staff in October of 2016. She serves as the Communications Coordinator for the Coalition for Community Schools.  She is passionate about undoing gridlock to improve outcomes for all young people and their families and wants to use her communications background to help tell the world how the Community Schools strategy is helping to build future leaders.

She has worked in the Communications field for over 10 years and has written social media & PR strategies for the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area and DC Autism Parents. She has secured prime time coverage and helped build brands for startup businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Prior to arriving at the Coalition for Community Schools LJ worked as a Communications Manager for the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, where she developed and implemented social media and communication strategies for Northern Virginia Restaurant Week. She is also responsible for coordinating the Reston Chamber re-branding and website redesign process. Her ability to create strategic press releases helped to triple the amount of media coverage and develop invaluable relationships with members of the media.

She is a former C-SPAN Producer and before that she worked for CNN and the local news industry. Her work at CNN earned her a Peabody Award for the 2005 coverage of Hurricane Katrina and a DuPont award for 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami in South East Asia.

She graduated from Kent State University with an MA in Mass Communications, focusing on Public Relations Management. For undergrad, she attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio; where she received her Bachelors of Science in Mass Communication.

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