Joline Collins – Northeast Region
Joline Collins serves as the Northeast Regional Deputy Director for the Coalition for Community Schools. She is a proud first-generation college student and is currently a 2022 Ed.M. candidate at Harvard University Graduate School of Education; studying education policy and management. Since 2017, Joline has honed her expertise in systemic family and community engagement, leadership development and network management at IEL. She has supported the growth of IEL’s District Leaders Network on Family and Community Engagement, a peer-driven knowledge network designed to engage over 175 members as both experts and learners through a national structure to support member capacity building activities, organized professional learning experiences, co-authored Taking it to the Next Level: Strengthening and Sustaining Family Engagement through Integrated Systemic Practice, and more.
“I came into this work initially for personal reasons, as a parent first. After I had my first child, I reflected on my own school experiences and thought about what I wanted for my daughter. I knew that she couldn’t live in a bubble and that her experiences and success would be connected to other children in her generation. Therefore, I begin to ask myself how do you ensure a positive education experience and plethora of opportunities to an entire generation? Understanding the need is great and solutions are complex, one person cannot do this work alone. Instead, to be successful, it will take leaders representing multiple systems to come together, strategize, and innovate on how to best serve our students, families and communities. To be clear, the solution must involve a two-generation approach because if our families are not well or engaged, then the students/youth they love, and support will not be well,” shares Collins.
Looking forward to the path ahead, Collins reflects on why this role is so timely: “COVID-19 forced leaders to think about schooling differently and the importance of family and community engagement. Right now, we have an opportunity to truly engage in cross-sector collaboration, and with Community Schools as a vehicle, restructure systems to better serve students and their families. IEL is an organization with deep expertise. Through our networks, we witness both the patterns and challenges local leader are facing. With IEL’s new place-based strategy, through a regional approach, we can more strategically and efficiently partner with communities to improve outcomes locally and uplift what works nationally.”
In her spare time, Collins enjoys traveling, organizing things, reading a good book, or binge-watching Netflix.
Dr. Donnie Ray Hale, Jr. Ed.D – Southern Region
Serving as the Southern Regional Deputy Director for the Coalition for Community Schools, Dr. Donnie Hale is a proud father, husband, son, and friend that loves to create possibilities with others. Originally from Stockton, California, Dr. Hale brings 20+ years of experience in higher education, teaching, research, coaching, community building, and relationship cultivation.
“At heart, I am a community advocate and social justice steward. My family and community have guided my path for me to be allowed me the chance to participate. My school and training has equipped me with skills to engage,” says Dr. Hale of how he got started in this work. “The opportunity to build [for] others and support a hyperlocal process led me to apply [to this role]. The opportunity to work with an organization dedicated to serving others, motivates me. And lastly, the opportunity to learn and build with others truly sustains me for the present and future.
Dr. Hale’s body of work has been focused on race, equity, educational opportunity, college access and human development. His teaching experience has been in areas of sociology, education, African American history, and cultural diversity. “Equity to me is recognizing that each person has different circumstance and needs, therefore it is important to allocate the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome for that person, set of people or group,” he says.
Although his work and home life are connected, he shares that outside of his professional role, he is “a God-chaser, that loves people and community. I love my family and helping others be successful. I am an advocate, athlete, and fitness freak. I like to read and explore.”
Dr. Ryan Hurley – Midwestern Region
Dr. Ryan Hurley serves as the Midwestern Regional Deputy Director for the Coalition for Community Schools, bringing experience as a community organizer, Community School Coordinator, and the Director of a regional Community Schools initiative.
As the Director, Hurley supported the establishment and growth of a network of Community Schools, developed cross-sector partnerships, and worked collaboratively with many individuals and organizations to develop a transformational strategy grounded in shared leadership, equity, and cultural relevance. Over seven years, the partnership grew exponentially and is regularly recognized as a best practice in systems building across the national Community Schools network, secured a highly competitive multi-year Department of Education grant and supported the passing of a Community Schools policy locally. Hurley has supported and advocated for Community Schools policies and strategies at the local, regional, and national level.
When thinking about what led him to this work, Hurley shares that “as a public schools organizer, Community Schools emerged as a key strategy to work towards creating equitable systems. In 2012, I attended my first Community Schools conference and have spent the last decade working alongside local and national leaders to learn and advocate for sustainable Community Schools.”
“IEL and the Coalition have been a critical catalyst for organizing and developing leaders across the nation. I am honored to join a team that has both vision and strategy for creating equitable schools and communities,” he adds.
Hurley loves poetry, basketball, and spending time with family.
Christa Rowland – Western Region
Christa Rowland joins the team as the Western Regional Deputy Director for the Coalition for Community Schools. Before joining IEL, Rowland was the Director of Community Impact at the United Way of Treasure Valley in Boise, Idaho. She helped grow the system of Community Schools in Idaho, founded the Idaho Community School Learning Network, and co-founded the Idaho Coalition for Community Schools. She believes in the power of uniting communities to create a brighter future for all children.
Beginning her career as a music educator, Rowland shares that being a traveling teacher took her to many different schools. “I noticed that sometimes the students who needed the most resources and opportunities had the least access. After moving on to nonprofit work, it became my goal to help expand the resources and opportunities available to underserved students and families and the Community School strategy is a brilliant approach for this. I was fortunate in my role at United Way of Treasure Valley to help support the first emerging Community School strategies in Idaho, grow the number of Community Schools in the state, and build out ecosystems of support for Idaho’s Community Schools to help them grow, advance, and become sustainable.”
“I am very passionate about the Community School strategy, and I truly believe this approach is the key to ensuring ALL our children have a brighter future. I believe that every school should become a Community School and joining the IEL team will allow me to help make that vision a reality for the western U.S.,” she adds. “Equity means that every individual/family has access to the unique resources and opportunities they need to achieve their individual/family goals. In order to create a brighter future for all of us, we must recognize that we each have different needs and goals, and there are individuals/families in our communities who face bigger barriers in accessing resources and opportunities. We must work to identify and remove those barriers and engage the voices and lived experiences of ALL community members in shaping equitable systems that support each of us in the unique ways we need.”
Rowland also still loves to make music in her free time: “I’m a professionally trained violinist, play in a band, and also dabble in other instruments including mandolin and banjo. I’m also super excited to be teaching my four-year-old how to play the violin!”