Adam Brooks is a first-generation college student who grew up in the West Valley of Phoenix. Both his parents worked full time, so Adam and his sibling attended Out-of-School Time (OST) programs after school and during the summer. This OST experience helped Adam find his passion of helping others and gave him practical experience and skills he has applied to his career. Adam went on to get a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communications, a graduate diploma in Leadership Development and a master’s degree in Education. As a former high school teacher Adam is currently an adjunct professor at Phoenix College and Rio Salado College as well as owning an Educational Consulting firm called, Youth Awareness and Safety. Adam has performed off Broadway, been a seasonal administrator for a camp for youth with physical disabilities. Adam has also authored two bestselling minibooks, “Understanding Millennials; Tips and Tricks for working with Today’s generation” and “The Social Media Handbook; An adult guide to the digital life of a teen.”
Heidi (she/her/hers) began her career in expanded learning in 2008 as a part time program assistant. Then, after completing her Master’s in Child Development, she was promoted to a program site leader before branching out as a professional expert/consultant and trainer within the field, focusing on promoting quality programming and staffing. Heidi also teaches entry level college courses including child guidance, child and adolescent growth and development, observation and assessment, health, safety and nutrition, and child, family and community. Heidi considers herself beyond lucky to engage in both the theory and practice of child development between her jobs.
Kari Taylor is ICAN’s Director of Programs. She has been with ICAN for almost 5 years, overseeing the entire program area which includes 28 program staff and 500 youth who attend ICAN’s free after school program. Kari has over 15 years of experience working with youth and was critical in growing ICAN’s program model from one site in downtown Chandler to 5 sites across multiple cities. Kari holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. She is a graduate of ASU’s American Express Leadership Academy for nonprofit leadership 2022. In 2021, Kari was named Outstanding Out of School Time Professional for the state of Arizona by the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence. Kari lives in Ahwatukee with her husband and two young children. She is passionate about youth development and is inspired by the hundreds of youth who attend ICAN’s programs each year.
Yvonne Pastor has dedicated her career to serving children, teens, and families in the Phoenix community. She has worked in nonprofit and city government for over 25th years, nineteen with the City of Phoenix. She has been responsible for the coordination and delivery of various citywide programs along the cradle to career continuum including early literacy, afterschool/out of school time, grade-level reading, and college access programming. She was part of the development of the Girl Scouts- Arizona Cactus Pine Council’s Social Justice Programs serving girls and women at risk or have been involved with the criminal justice system. She has also served as a Program Advisor with Arizona State University’s Hispanic Mother-Daughter Program. Currently, she is the Chief Service Officer for the City of Phoenix, coordinating and managing citywide volunteer services and national service programs. Yvonne is a native Phoenician and a graduate of the University of Arizona’s College of Education and mother of 2 adult children, Alexis and Francisco, and grandmother to Santiago.
Lisa’s 30+ years of experience in school-age care spans all aspects of afterschool program practice and management. This practical and applied knowledge has led her to a dynamic understanding of the challenges and joys of working with youth during out-of-school time. Lisa has presented workshops for single and multi-site programs, at local, state and national conferences. She enjoys traveling, meeting new people and spending time with family.
My name is Paula Jai Wilson. I have lived in Arizona for 18 years. I am married with four amazing sons and enjoy spending quality time with them and the rest of our family as much as possible. I have worked in out-of-school time programs for more than 15 years as a Lead After-School Program Manager and McKinney Vento Specialist at UMOM New Day Centers. I found my passion in running quality children’s programs and providing educational support to homeless families and trauma-informed care workshops to local elementary schools. I obtained my preschool and infant/toddler Child Development Associate in 2015 through the Association of Supportive Childcare. Currently as a Senior Program Coordinator at Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona, I coordinate program expansion for teens and young adults that benefit from supportive connections to continue building resilience. In 2022, I was honored to be the recipient of AZCASE’s Out-of-School Time Professional Award of Excellence for my work and commitment to underserved children and youth in our community. I enjoy spending time supporting local childcare and after school programs to reach accreditation as an AZCASE Pathway to Accreditation Guide.
My name is Nicholas Andsager, and I have worked in after-school programs since 2011. My experience in after-school programming ranges from Kindergarten to 8th grade. Through the years, I have found my passion in working with kids and providing a high-quality program that has a greater impact on the community. I currently work for the Kyrene School District’s Community Education Department.
Rhett Etherton is excited to support out-of-school time providers as a Pathway to Accreditation guide. Rhett began his career working in preschools and before and after school programs. After graduating with a degree in multilingual/multicultural elementary education, he taught English Language Learners in grades 3-8. More recently, he supported K-8 schools and out-of-school time providers across Arizona with implementing safe and healthy play programs. When working with partners, Rhett believes that: (1) things going well deserve to be celebrated, (2) partners have everything they need to be successful while I am just a facilitator, and (3) setting realistic and timely goals is the best way to increase program quality. Outside of work, you can find him running trails in the mountains and watching basketball.
Xavier is a first-generation Latino Arizonan, a proud child of immigrant parents from Chihuahua, Mexico. Xavier’s first language was Spanish. He was able to learn English via the essential Out-of-School Time (OST) program in the Murphy school district offered after school and during the summer. Xavier was worked in direct student services since 2014. Currently, he is the Student Support Specialist Lead at Desert Edge High School in the Agua Fria High School District. Prior to this role, Xavier spent 8 years in the nonprofit sector, coordinated the Out-of-School Time program at New Pathways for Youth in the Garfield community, followed by working as a success coach-program specialist for Earn to Learn, and lastly program manager for Boys Hope Girls
Hope Arizona. Working with students ages kindergarten to undergrad has been a privilege for him. Although getting to work with middle school students has been his most rewarding experience. Outside of his work, Xavier is huge on his civic engagement. He serves on the board of directors for Gabriel’s Angels and Treasures 4 Teachers. Xavier is a graduate of the Hispanic Leadership Institute from Valle del Sol and the Adelante Fellowship from Arizona Latino Leaders in Education. Xavier believes in addressing and serving the whole person regarding academics, social-emotional, and life choices. Xavier holds a BSIS in Public Administration from Northern Arizona University. A fun fact about him is he has an identical twin brother and has a dog named Snacks!
Tammy was born in Wisconsin but has lived most of her life in Arizona. She has been successful both academically and athletically in her college years at Arizona State University where she earned both her Bachelors and Masters degree in Social Work. In the past 25 years Tammy has worked with youth in a variety of settings; group homes, treatment centers, and non-profit organizations, and eventually operated her own private practice. Recently she has made a career pivot to work in the school setting with the main goal of making a positive impact on the mental crisis in schools today. Tammy currently works full-time at a Montessori school as a school counselor. She has enjoyed the role of working with youth and staff from a growth and strengths model vs the disease model in the medical/insurance model settings. Empowering youth and staff comes naturally to Tammy and she enjoys the opportunity to do so. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two adult daughters in a variety of activities, such as: enjoying the outdoors, taking trips to Flagstaff, going out on the Arizona lakes, working out together as a family, or a simple movie night together.
Pam has worked in afterschool care for 37 years, 34 of those years were in administration. She has been training for 34 years, also. Her degree is in Education and Science with a Master’s Degree in Afterschool programming. She has collaborated with a variety of institutions to help improve the out-of-school time programs including, University of California, Irvine, California Department of Education, American Institutes of Research, and the California School-Age Consortium.
Her love of science prompted her to begin providing workshops to afterschool providers in STEM before it was popular. She provides training in many other areas including management, team building, SEL, Summer Programming, etc. One of her primary strengths is as a Developer as defined in the Strengths Finder survey. She enjoys and is energized by helping others learn to provide quality care to the children and youth in a variety of afterschool programs.
Teresa Lipson has dedicated her career to providing quality child care to infants through school
age children. Her love for children has given her the opportunity to pursue many different
positions and roles. She has served families by providing care in home-based family daycare,
respite and habilitation, children in crisis, infants, preschool, and school age before and after
care programming. She is currently working as a Program Coordinator III for the Kyrene School
District. She earned her B.A. in Child Development and received the Out-of-School Time Large
Program Award of Excellence in 2018. She is happy to share her knowledge with child care
providers so they can learn and implement quality after school programs while reminding them
how important they are to our families and communities.