For Immediate Release: March 19, 2014
The National AfterSchool Association (NAA) this week announced its list of the 25 most influential people in the afterschool community, and Ellen Gannett, M.Ed., director of the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW), Wellesley College, is among the honorees.
“As nominations poured in from NAA members around the country, we focused our selection on those leaders whose service, research, and action influence and impact large numbers of children and families,” said Gina Warner, NAA executive director. “In so doing, these leaders bring positive attention and investment to the field of afterschool.”
A national action/research project, NIOST has provided research, evaluation, technical assistance, consultation, and specialized training on afterschool and youth development throughout the United States since 1979. As NIOST’s director, Gannett ensures that research bridges the fields of child care, education, and youth development in order to promote programming that addresses the whole child.
“I believe the most successful afterschool and out-of-school time programs pay careful attention to the developmental needs of youth, to the personal safety of all in their environments, and to the caring adults who listen and provide opportunities for young people to thrive,” says Gannett. “Such programs have greater outcomes for everyone—their youth, their employees, their communities.”
Gannett’s work ranges from system building for afterschool and youth development to professional development to creating evaluation systems. She started her work in the afterschool field four decades ago as a Teacher-Director of a school based afterschool program where she worked for over seven years. Celebrating her 33rd year with NIOST, she has advanced in the organization from Training Director, Associate Director, Co-Director and has been the Director for the past seven years. A national speaker and trainer, she has conducted hundreds of seminars and advised policy makers and practitioners throughout the country and internationally and has been featured in numerous media stories and co-authored several NIOST publications.
"Ellen's passion for the advancement of the out-of-school-time field is clearly demonstrated in everything she does at NIOST," notes Layli Maparyan, Ph.D., WCW Executive Director. "She ensures that children, youth, and families have access to high quality programs, activities, and opportunities, and that youth workers and program administrators have essential and valuable professional development opportunities. We are grateful for her leadership and advocacy, and we applaud this recognition."
NAA is the membership association for professionals who work with children and youth in diverse school and community-based settings to provide a wide variety of extended learning opportunities and care during out-of-school hours. Members include afterschool program directors, coordinators, sponsors, front-line staff, school leaders, principals, teachers, paraprofessionals, board of education members, nonprofit leaders, advocates, community leaders, policymakers, researchers, and more. The award recipients will be introduced in a special edition of AfterSchool Today magazine, this spring.
Work at the National Institute on Out-of-School Time bridges the worlds of research and practice by providing evaluations, consultation, and training to create innovative and effective solutions to out-of-school-time needs on a local, state, regional, and national basis. Work at the Wellesley Centers for Women addresses three major areas: the social and economic status of women and girls and the advancement of their human rights both in the United States and around the globe; the education, care, and development of children and youth; and the emotional wellbeing of families and individuals.