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Michelle Seligson, Ed.M.

Associate Director and Senior Research Scientist

Michelle Seligson arrived at WCW in the fall of 1978 to begin work on a national research and action project on afterschool programs, for which she received a small Ford Foundation grant. Originally titled The School-Age Child Care Project, it is now known as the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST). This work grew out of Seligson’s several years of community organizing and program development for the Town of Brookline where she was the assistant director of the Town's Human Relations/Youth Resources Commission. In that role she helped parents and others start afterschool programs in the public schools. When two mass-market magazines wrote about the Brookline programs, Seligson received thousands of letters from across the county, leading to her bringing the School-Age Child Care Project to WCW.

After more than 20 years as founding director of NIOST conducting research, technical assistance, training, and advocacy to stimulate more development of programs and policy in afterschool programs, Seligson began a new project at the Centers. This project, Bringing Yourself To Work: Caregiving in After School Programs, produced a book, Bringing Yourself to Work: A Guide to Successful Staff Development in After-School Programs (Columbia University, 2003), and a training program geared to adults who work with children. Its intellectual base is social-emotional learning and relational-cultural theory, among other theory frameworks.

Seligson has co-authored a number of publications through the years, beginning with School-Age Child Care: An Action Manual in 1982. During the mid-eighties, she embarked on an investigation of early childhood programs and the role of public schools, and this resulted in a book titled Early Childhood Programs and the Public Schools: Between Promise and Practice.

Seligson’s work at WCW reflects an interest and abiding belief in the power of good ideas to attract others to solve problems and a recognition that it takes at least 20 years to create a movement and a context in which that can happen.

In late September 2000, she embarked on a new venture in addition to her work on the Bringing Yourself to Work Project. She was accepted into the analytic training program at the Boston Jung Institute and participate in seminars and other activities associated with becoming a Jungian analyst. In 2003 she began collaborating on a documentary about mothers who are also women artists which is set for release in January 2008. Seligson retired from WCW in the summer of 2007.

Other interests have always been in the literary area—reading novels and writing poems, something she has done since adolescence. She is a swimmer, walker, and unabashed lover of her cat, Shadow. She is proud of her two adult children and their different life choices--one an attorney, and the other a musician and composer.