Skip to content

National Fellowship


Flamboyan Foundation Announces Third Cohort of Family Engagement Fellows

Diverse Leaders Selected for Their Commitment to Authentic, Equity-Centered Family Engagement in Communities Across the Country

The Flamboyan Foundation is proud to welcome 21 education advocates into our newest cohort of the Flamboyan Family Engagement Fellowship. Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland; Richmond, Virginia; Orange County, North Carolina; and Yakima, Washington, these four teams join a network of family engagement practitioners that already spans 13 cities and states across the country.

Our Cohort 3 Fellows

Meet the Baltimore Team

  • Matthew Cobb | Educational Program Manager, Cherry Hill Initiative, Baltimore City Public Schools
  • Angelique Jessup | Program Director, The Baltimore Campaign for Grade Level Reading, The Fund for Educational Excellence
  • Kelley Keyser | School Social Worker, Baltimore City Public Schools
  • Shana McIver | Family Engagement Director, Baltimore City Public Schools

Meet the Orange County Team

  • Kathleen Dawson | Deputy Superintendent, Orange County Schools
  • Melany Stowe | Public Information and Family Engagement Officer, Orange County Schools
  • Dena Keeling | Chief Equity Officer, Orange County Schools
  • Emily Elstad | OCS Parent & Member of the OCS Equity Task Force, Orange County Schools
  • Stan Farrington | Principal, Partnership Academy, Orange County School
  • Sandra Blefko | Family Outreach Coordinator

Meet the Richmond Team

  • LaDesha Batten | Immediate Response Clinician, Child Savers
  • Raqiyah Cooper | Recreation Service Manager, City of Richmond Department of Parks
  • Grady Hart | Coordinator of Community Partnerships, Office of Engagement, Richmond Public Schools
  • Erin Brown | Director of Family & Community Engagement, Richmond Public Schools
  • Chasity Rodriguez | Program Specialist, Richmond Public Schools
  • Shadae Thomas-Harris | Chief Engagement Officer, Richmond Public Schools

Meet the Yakima Team

  • Maggie Mendoza | Early Education P-3 Coordinator, Educational Service District #105
  • Cecilia GonzalezEarly Learning and Parent Educational Manager, La Casa Hogar
  • Claudia Figueroa Dominguez | Dominguez Family Engagement Content Specialist, Head Start Educational Service District #105
  • Danielle DeLange Nguyen | Director of Early Learning, Yakima School District
  • Minerva Pardo | Family Engagement Coordinator, West Valley School District #208

The Fellowship builds the capacity of changemakers eager to lead the charge to build a culture of REAL Family Engagement within their communities. Over 22 months, these Fellowship teams will design a family engagement strategic plan to implement in their local school community while building expertise, learning with and from each other, and joining a vibrant network of family engagement advocates across the country.

In the midst of a pandemic and a national reckoning on systemic racism, these four regions are joining the Flamboyan Fellowship at a unique moment in time. “We believe that these teams are ready to reimagine engagement and what educational change can be,” shares Mike Andrews, Flamboyan’s senior director of leadership development and capacity building. “There is something monumental about the time we’re in, and about the opportunities we have through this Fellowship to shift the family engagement narrative.”

2020 National Fellowship Map
The Cohort 3 Fellows from Baltimore, Maryland; Richmond, Virginia; Orange County, North Carolina; and Yakima, Washington join a network of family engagement practitioners that already spans 13 cities and states across the country.

The pandemic has only deepened the persistent inequities families are facing. The Fellowship will amplify its grounding in equity-centered and authentic family engagement by providing Fellows with tools, resources, and experiences, such as anti-bias training and cross-regional conversations. “Equity has always been an important strand of the Fellowship, but it’s critically important that we not look at equity as separate from engagement,” shares Andrews. “Equity is the lens through which we look at everything we do as advocates.”

Despite the many challenges 2020 has brought for those who work in and support public education, what’s striking about the new Fellows is how ready they are to build their coalitions at home. “This Cohort brought some of the strongest applications we’ve ever seen, even in the midst of a difficult year,” shares Diana Suarez, managing director of national partnerships. “We are ready to build upon the success of our previous Cohorts, to give these 21 Fellows the tools they need to reimagine engagement in their communities, in a post-COVID world and beyond.”

You can stay up-to-date about the Fellowship, our Fellows, and their journey on this website, and by following their stories on Twitter and Facebook. Join the conversation with us anytime using #FlamboyanFellowship.