Laura Elliot and Greg Hall

Local Leaders Honored at National Community Schools Conference

Laura Elliot and Greg Hall were recognized by the Institute for Educational Leadership for their work on behalf of local students.

Laura Elliot with Donnie Hale and  Ryan Hurley of IEL.
Laura Elliot with Donnie Hale and
Ryan Hurley of IEL.

Awards go to Asheville City Schools Foundation and United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County.

At the recent National Community Schools and Family Engagement Conference in Los Angeles, a crowd of 3,500 watched as Asheville City Schools Foundation (ACSF) and Laura Elliot of United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County were recognized by the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) for their work on behalf of local students.

United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County

Laura Elliot was recognized for her work, locally and on the national stage, with the Community Schools Initiative Leadership Award. This award is given to individuals who have significantly advanced their initiatives toward broad and measured equitable impact, strengthened sustainability through cross-sector development, and increased the number of Community Schools.

Elliot is the United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County’s Senior Director of Community Schools and Network Development. She also serves as national co-chair of the Coalition for Community Schools Leadership Network which includes roles on the national Steering Committee and Leadership Team.

Dan Leroy, President and CEO of United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County, praised Elliot in a statement.

“With Laura’s leadership over the last nine years and her enduring commitment to youth, we’ve been able to secure local and federal funding to expand community schools to seven local public schools within both Asheville City Schools and Buncombe County Schools. She has been steadfast in her efforts to grow a network of committed partners who are dedicated to a common vision that ALL children and youth learn, grow, and thrive in a vibrant, healthy, and connected community.”

Greg Hall, program director of ACSF’s In Real Life After-School program,  accepts the Civic Engagement Award.
Greg Hall, program director of ACSF’s In Real Life After-School program,
accepts the Civic Engagement Award.

Asheville City Schools Foundation

At the same event, Greg Hall, program director of ACSF’s In Real Life (IRL) After-School program, accepted the Civic Engagement Award for ACSF’s work organizing youth, families, and our community to advocate for an equitable public education system. He noted that “our mission is to do ‘whatever it takes for all ACS students to thrive.’ Each of our programs has evolved out of collaborations and listening projects with students, families, staff, and our United for Youth network partners.”

He continued, “Our programs are grounded in a pursuit of equity and the desire to magnify the genius, encourage the curiosity, celebrate the joy, and support the aspirations of our students, teachers, and staff.”

Director Kyle Garrett of the United Way School Partnerships noted that his organization and ACSF have partnered for more than 10 years. “Their programs are some of the most innovative in the country. We love how they remain both student-centered and community-centered at the same time.”

In describing the programming, he continued, “Through IRL, students are able to discover new interests and develop new skills. And programs such as the DREAM (Dedicated, Responsible, Enthusiastic, After-School, Mentors) Team and Racial Equity Ambassadors Program have been transformative for students and school staff alike, creating spaces for youth to show up as leaders with their peers, younger students, and school faculty.”

Community Schools Initiative

The movement to adopt and expand Community Schools is growing exponentially. The Institute for Educational Leadership expects there will be 25,000 community schools across the nation by 2025. Federal and state governments are prioritizing funding for these initiatives, and organizations like the National Association of Educators (NEA) are advocating for this strategy.

The local community is invited to learn more about Community Schools and to join the United for Youth network, which is a multi-generational, cross-sector cradle-to-career partnership that is committed to ensuring that by 2035, all city and county students graduate from high school ready and fully prepared to pursue their goals and dreams.

To learn more about this work visit unitedwayabc.org/united-youth-network.

About United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County

Established in 1921, United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County believes that together we can co-create a united and resilient community where everyone belongs and everyone thrives. This vision also serves as a call to action for those who are committed to ensuring every person in our community lives free from poverty and injustice. Visit unitedwayabc.org.

About Asheville City Schools Foundation

The Asheville City Schools Foundation is an independent not-for-profit organization dedicated to doing whatever it takes to provide transformational educational opportunities for all city schools students. Ensuring enriching opportunities and access to education for all students is central to the mission of the Asheville City Schools Foundation. ACSF provides opportunities to support our schools through scholarships, after-school enrichment, emergency assistance for families, teaching artists in residency, youth leadership development, community engagement, and our educator grants programs. Visit acsf.org.

About Institute for Educational Leadership

Since 1964, IEL has equipped leaders to work together across boundaries to build effective systems that prepare children and youth for postsecondary education, careers, and citizenship. Visit iel.org/about-iel.

Leave a Reply

Asheville
79°
Partly Cloudy
6:16am8:49pm EDT
Feels like: 82°F
Wind: 6mph SSE
Humidity: 62%
Pressure: 30"Hg
UV index: 0
21h22h23h
77°F
75°F
72°F
SatSun
81/64°F
81/64°F