Before the proliferation of social media, texting and tweeting, symbols were rarely used in written communication (except, of course, for the letters themselves) but I can distinctly recall when I learned the symbol for "change", the Greek letter delta. Delta, the triangle symbol can be found in my writing ever since and I have, many times, smiled at the efficiency of the delta, as I have used it often.
Whether changing a physical space (I am told that I rarely enter my mother's apartment without straightening a picture, watering a plant or proposing a fresh configuration of furniture), changing my physical place (I am described as peripatetic, having traveled around the world and in an amazing array of conveyances) or changing social systems and service delivery models, change has been my passion, my life's work.
As director of policy and planning for the Family Resource Network of the School District of Philadelphia, my staff and I struggled daily with the big and not so big changes to systems necessary to bring children with needs together with the agencies capable of providing services to meet these needs...behavioral health services in schools, decentralized truancy court, instruction during hospitalization, supports for physically disabled students, services for homeless students and on and on. How to be a change maker? Observe, imagine an efficatious and cost-effective strategy, back map measurable long, medium and short term goals and objectives and take action. How am I a change maker? With a vision, a plan and lots of hope.
My work space is in a restored Pennsylvania bank barn built over 250 years ago. A barn is a place of industry but also, to me, a sacred space. This barn is a very special space to me as family, friends, colleagues, innovators and dreamers come to relax and congregate, to talk, to imagine, to think, to plan.
My most passionate hope is for the change which insures that all children are healthy, in school and ready to learn. Education Plus Health is working to expand school based health centers in Philadelphia to make this change, this hope, a reality.
I want to see all students healthy, in school, and ready to learn.
My current positions include President of the Board of Education-Plus, Inc. and Executive Director of the Pennsylvania School-Based Health Center Association. As former Director of Policy and Planning for the Family Resource Network of the School District of Philadelphia, I collaborated with the Office of Mental Health of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to co-author and develop the implementation strategy for school-linked behavioral health services. My other past projects include partnering with multiple city agencies in the administration of grants such as the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Dyson Foundation Initiative, which provided pediatric training in the community, and the $5 million federal grant for Philadelphia Safe Schools, Healthy Students initiative. I also established a literacy mentoring program with Philadelphia Reads. In order to recruit and train special education teachers, I developed and administered university collaborations with Temple University and with Arcadia University to establish emotional support programs in school district classrooms, and partnered with other city agencies as a member of Common Ground of the Mayor’s Children & Family Cabinet.