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Meet the Children's Programs Staff
Sharon Adams-Taylor - Associate Executive DirectorSharon Adams-Taylor joined AASA in 1990 as director of the association's Options for Pre-Teens program, a school-based primary prevention and youth development program in three urban school districts. Before coming to AASA, Adams-Taylor was a senior program associate with the Children's Defense Fund, where she coordinated CDF's adolescent pregnancy prevention clearinghouse. She also provided state and local technical assistance around adolescent issues and developed and managed a national coalition of youth and education organizations focused on positive outcomes for young people. Adams-Taylor's extensive background in training and research includes leadership positions with the University of North Carolina's Child Health Outcomes Project and the Resource Access Project, where she coordinated training and technical assistance for 178 Head Start grantees in six states, and fellowships at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Adams-Taylor holds a bachelor of science degree from Howard University, a master of public health degree in maternal and child health from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a master of arts degree from the Catholic University of America.
Sapna Batheja – Project Manager Sapna Batheja earned her B.S. in Nutrition from and an M.S. in Public Health Nutrition from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. She graduated from her dietetic internship from Case Western Reserve University as well. She has worked with a contract company for school food service, but eventually her interest in working in the community led her to Food & Friends where she was the Community Dietitian for more than 3 years. At Food & Friends, Sapna worked with clients living with HIV/AIDS and cancer. One of her favorite tasks was coordinating the periodic client cooking classes. In addition, she worked as the Manager, Compliance and Nutrition for DC Public Schools. In that role, Sapna ensured that all menus were in compliance with local and federal regulations. In addition, she provided training on school nutrition regulations and to staff and vendors.
Kelly Beckwith – Project Director Kelly Beckwith is project director for child nutrition, hunger and obesity. She has worked at AASA since 2006 on topics ranging from asthma to childhood obesity to service learning. Kelly holds an MPH in community health education from the University of Minnesota and a BA in English from the State University of New York College at Fredonia. Between degrees, she spent two years as an AmeriCorps volunteer working on hunger and poverty issues in and around Brooklyn, New York.
Yasmin Bowers - Project Manager Yasmin Bowers joined AASA in July 2009 to focus on projects that promote awareness and improvement of indoor environmental health in schools. She serves as the Project Manager for the Healthy Schools Environment, and uses her background in Environmental Health and Science to provide a holistic approach to health. Bowers comes from New Orleans, where she served as co-founder and director of Consciously Rebuilding for two and a half years. She was a Research Fellow for Mount Sinai School of Medicine International Exchange Program where she researched health equity of farmworker women in Cape Town, South Africa. The combination of non-profit work and public health research afforded her experience in community health, education, health rights, and outreach. She received her master’s of science in public health from Tulane University.
Kayla Jackson – Project Director Kayla Jackson joined AASA in June of 2011 to serve as Project Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded coordinated school health project, Strengthening School Administrator Support for Coordinated School Health. Prior to joining AASA, Jackson was the Vice President of Programs at the National Network for Youth where she had responsibility for all programmatic activities at NN4Y; oversight of two federal cooperative agreements; and all aspects of the annual national membership conference. She has over twenty years experience in the areas of women’s health and HIV/AIDS with solid experience in program management, training, facilitation, and materials development in the areas of HIV prevention and treatment, comprehensive school health, and organizational development. She has extensive background in women’s and adolescent health, particularly the health needs of women of color, youth, and youth at high risk for negative health outcomes, relating to reproductive health, breast cancer, and sexually transmitted infections/HIV. Jackson received her bachelors degree in English from Mount Holyoke College and a masters in public administration from New York University.
Bryan Joffe - Project DirectorBryan Joffe serves as AASA's project director for the Ready by 21® national partnership. Ready by 21 works with education, community, and business leaders to improve outcomes for children and youth and ensure that all children are ready for college, work, and life. Prior to joining AASA, he worked for the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education focusing on PK-16 alignment and high school to college transition. Joffe received his master's in public affairs from Brown University and bachelor’s degree in political science from Tulane University. He joined AASA in October 2009.
Karen Samara - Project ManagerKaren Samara joined AASA in October, 2011 and is the Project Manager for the School Outreach and Engagement Project. Karen is from Philadelphia, PA and attended the Pennsylvania State University, receiving a degree in Secondary Education and African Studies and Gallaudet University studying sign language for the hearing impaired. She taught delinquent adolescent girls in Philadelphia, PA and Baltimore, MD, was the Education Counselor at Georgetown University’s Upward Bound Program and the Education Director for Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington. Karen worked as manager in a busy cardiology practice, where she assisted eligible patients in obtaining medical coverage through the District of Columbia’s Medical Assistance Programs and private insurance companies. Her extensive education and medical backgrounds match well with the theme of the project, Engaging Schools in Outreach to Insure All Children.
Mlatibe Seidou - Administrative AssistantMlatibeSeidou joined AASA in October 2006 to support the Children Department as the Administrative Professional where she reports directly to the Associate Executive Director. She works with the Children Department team to coordinate various projects related to children health in schools and several award programs. Prior to coming to AASA she worked for the Center for Child and Human Development at Georgetown University where she provided administrative assistance to the consumer advocacy program for people with special needs. Mlatibe also worked for Montclair State University in New Jersey supporting the chairperson in the Literacy Education Department while helping faculty members and students. Mlatibe has an Associate Degree as a Bilingual Executive Assistant (French/English) from University of Benin (Togo). She likes to work for Non-Profits and bring her contribution to efforts that impact children and education.