The following are just some of the many people serving and supporting children and families at the Dunbar Learning Complex
As director, Steve White promotes school readiness by implementing evidence-based programs aimed at ensuring all kids have a solid foundation that prepares them to enter kindergarten and succeed academically. White has led the school since its opening in early 2010 and is primarily responsible for planning, directing and providing strategic leadership and vision, as well as sustaining relationships with community partners and other public and private funders.
President/CEO Sheltering Arms Early Education and Family Centers
Blythe Robinson is a highly regarded, innovative leader who came to Sheltering Arms in December 2012 after serving as Senior Vice President & Chief Programs Officer of the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Florida, which provides services to more than 50,000 children and their families through 1,500 early learning centers. Prior to the Coalition, she directed programs and strategic initiatives at Reading Is Fundamental. Robinson oversees all 16 Sheltering Arms sites in the metro Atlanta area.
Johnnie Thomas, a registered nurse with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, is based on-site and works directly with families to ensure all children enrolled in Educare Atlanta’s Healthy Beginnings System of Care are healthy, developing on track, thriving socially and emotionally and on a path to academic success.
Former President/CEO Sheltering Arms Early Education and Family Centers
Elaine Draeger served as president and CEO of Sheltering Arms for 21 years, in addition to nine years of service in other capacities, before retiring in 2012. Her leadership helped create a brighter future for more than 34,000 Sheltering Arms children and their families. Draeger also raised the bar for early education for children throughout the nation and made Sheltering Arms centers anchors for neighborhood revitalization and innovative partnerships that give children what they need to succeed from cradle to career. Prior to her retirement in 2012, she was instrumental in the development and launch of the complex.
Vice President, Georgia Training Institute, Sheltering Arms Early Education and Family Centers
Diane Bellem oversees Sheltering Arms’ Georgia Training Institute, which provides research-based training to professionals in early care and education and in family development as well as training for Child Development Associate and Family Development credentials.
Paul Laurence Dunbar Elementary School
As principal, Karen Brown-Collier’s primary responsibility is to work with teachers, parents and the community to ensure that students at Dunbar receive the best education possible. Her interests include professional development for teachers and providing opportunities to increase parents’ ability to help their children succeed in school.
K-2 Instructional Coach
Makini Coleman has been an educator for more than 10 years, teaching kindergarten and first grade. Her areas of specialty are early childhood education, elementary literacy and coaching teachers.
21st Century After School Director
Shawnty’e Finch serves as the program director for Dunbar Enrichment Academy and as an instructional technology coach for Atlanta Public Schools. She has been an educator for 12 years and has developed and helped implement various educational and training initiatives for staff in technology and relevant curricula.
Emerson Jones is the school social worker for Dunbar Elementary and Maynard Jackson High School, where Dunbar students eventually matriculate. He works with children and families around school attendance. He also leads the fatherhood programs and encourages more male participation at the school.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation
Director, Atlanta Civic Site
Gail Hayes is responsible for leading the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s work in Atlanta. Since 2001, the Foundation’s Atlanta Civic Site has targeted a set of five neighborhoods of highly concentrated poverty near downtown called Neighborhood Planning Unit V, which includes the community where the learning complex is located. Hayes also supports the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading in Georgia, part of a national effort that involves more than 120 local jurisdictions across the country.
Deputy Director of Two-Generation Strategy, Atlanta Civic Site
In her role, Leah Austin manages the Atlanta Civic Site’s programs and investments to increase the educational achievement of young children living in Neighborhood Planning Unit V and the family economic success of their parents enrolled in The Center for Working Families, Inc. She also provides guidance and support to partners to strengthen the two-generation approach.
Director of Health Promotion, Atlanta Civic Site
Susan Bertonaschi coordinates a system-of-care approach that integrates early childhood education and health services so that young children are healthy and developing on track to achieve academic success.
Education Partnership Manager, Atlanta Civic Site
Christine Brodnan oversees the implementation of grants, partnerships and programs at the Dunbar Learning Complex. She manages the collective impact strategy to align partners toward a common agenda, shared measurement and continuous communication systems and mutually reinforcing activities. Brodnan also supports the Georgia Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.
Parent Outreach Specialist, Atlanta Civic Site
In her role, Stephanie Flowers recruits parents in the neighborhoods surrounding the complex to participate in the community development, capacity-building and peer-networking programs and activities supported by the Atlanta Civic Site and its partners. Working with parents one-on-one and in groups, she stresses the importance of their involvement in their children’s educational development and shares concrete steps they can take to that end. She also helps parents set goals that build on family strengths and resources and help adults and children.
United Way of Greater Atlanta
Vice President for Education
Jean Walker guides United Way of Greater Atlanta’s education pipeline of services, which aim to help children enter school ready to learn, graduate prepared for careers and avoid risky behaviors. In her role, Walker is responsible for integrating the organization’s early learning, K-12 and college-to-career activities and for overseeing strategic implementation.