The Coalition for Community Schools celebrates leaders and change agents who are disrupting systems to create a more equitable environment for all of our young people to succeed. At The Coalition for Community Schools National Forum, we honor organizations and individual leaders whose commitment to equity and innovative practices and policies have made a significant impact on the youth, families and communities they serve.

Click here to view past recipients of the Community Leadership Awards and here to view past recipients of the Community Awards for Excellence.

Recent Recipients

Headshot: William White
Joy Dryfoos Community School Lifetime Achievement Award

William S. White, Chairman and CEO, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (Flint, MI)

William S. White is chairman and chief executive officer of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Since 1935, the Foundation has been a major funder of community schools – first in its home community of Flint, Michigan, and ultimately in communities around the world. Mr. White has been an advocate for and supporter of the community school movement and related organizations and projects, including – over the past 20 years – the Coalition for Community Schools.

Logo: National League of Cities
National Partner Award

National League of Cities (Washington, DC)

The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities, working in partnership with 49 state municipal leagues, and serving as a resource and advocate for the more than 19,000 cities, villages, and towns it represents. NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families has committed to continuously advocating for the growth of community schools and worked diligently with mayors to support their community school implementation.

Headshot: Matt Wayne
Superintendent Leadership Award (Co-presented with AASA, The Schools Superintendent Association)

Dr. Matt Wayne, Superintendent, Hayward Unified School District (Hayward, CA)

Dr. Wayne, Superintendent of  Hayward Unified School District, works to create deeper learning experiences, focusing on the whole child and meeting the diverse needs of students and families through the community school strategy. His dedication to partnerships has increased graduation rates and lowered chronic absenteeism rates across the district. He also led the charge to pass a Sanctuary Schools resolution.

Headshot: Jill Pereira
Community Schools Initiative Leadership Award

Jill Pereira, Vice President, Education, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley (Allentown, PA)

Jill Pereira’s leadership of the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley’s community school initiative has led to a significant growth from two schools with a $100,000 investment to 24 schools with a $6 million investment. Her work has also helped advance grade level reading across 125+ schools.

Headshot: Hallie J. Atwater
Community School Coordinator Leadership Award

Hallie J. Atwater, Community School Coordinator, Renaissance Academy High School (Baltimore, MD)

Hallie J. Atwater, LCSW-C, is a Community School Coordinator at Renaissance Academy High School through the Promise Heights initiative. Ms. Atwater has cultivated and developed over 40 school-community partnerships, focusing on LGBTQ issues, social justice, and violence prevention. Her commitment to equity and social justice has led her to lift up youth and family voices to successfully advocate to keep Renaissance open when it was threatened to be closed.


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Youth Leadership Award (Sponsored by Under Armour) 

Sarai Antoine, Student, Evans High School, A Community Partnership School (Orlando, FL)

Through the support of her community school, Sarai Antoine overcame difficult obstacles and turned her life around to become the leader she is today. Gaining leadership skills from her mentor, she became confident enough to join organizations like student government and the Student Leadership Council. Understanding the difficulty firsthand of being an immigrant to this country, Ms. Antoine also formed the first Haitian organization on campus, Club Kreole. One of her goals prior to graduation is to plan an empowerment summit for girls to address gender inequality.

Headshot: Jitu Brown
Family and Community Advocate Award

Jitu Brown, National Director, Journey for Justice Alliance (Chicago, IL)

Jitu Brown is the National Director for the Journey for Justice Alliance, a network of over 40 grassroots community-based organizations in 31 cities organizing for community-driven school improvement. Mr. Brown has consistently used his influence and dedication to equity to advocate for community schools as the vehicle for change, and is one of the leaders who has helped to raise community schools visibility to a national level.

Family and Community Advocate Award

Comunidad de Luz y Esperanza (Austin, TX)

Comunidad de Luz y Esperanza is a group of mothers from East Austin College Prep (EAPrep), proud and committed to helping EAPrep families and the communities throughout East Austin. Part of the Good Neighbor initiative from Southwest Key Programs and in strong partnership with EAPrep, Comunidad de Luz y Esperanza’s grassroots and culturally responsive methods to increase equity and engage families has empowered parents to increase student achievement and build bridges across their community.


Headshot: Cliff Hong
Educator Leadership Award

Clifford Hong, Principal, Roosevelt Middle School (Oakland, CA)

Clifford Hong has been the Principal of Roosevelt Middle School since 2010. Through his leadership and commitment to the community school strategy, Mr. Hong created a strong alignment between the school’s academic program and community school partnerships.  As a result, Roosevelt Middle School has made progress on academic, social-emotional, and civic outcomes, including lowering chronic absenteeism rate to 6.5%, and decreasing suspensions.

deanna hron headshot
Educator Leadership Award

Deanna Hron, Teacher, King Elementary School (Deer River, MN)

Deanna Hron is an Elementary Teacher and President of the Deer River Education Association. A committed believer in the community schools strategy, Ms. Hron implements the whole child approach in her classroom, and leads her school in social emotional learning and data best practices. Ms. Hron has exemplified strong leadership in advocating for community schools, testifying before the Minnesota Senate Education Committee, and working with a small group of committed community members to pass a school referendum to build a building that houses a Boys and Girls Club, senior center, and early childhood center.