Public Education Learning Series: Strengthening Connections Between Schools, Families, and the Community

Wednesday, November 28, 2018
9:30am to 11:30am EST
Venture Philanthropy Partners
1201 15th Street, NW, Suite 510
Most WRAG events are only open to our members. Please refer to the text at left for attendance eligibility.
Add to Calendar

Eligible to attend: All WRAG Members and non-member education funders.
Registration: WRAG Members, please register online (free). Non-member funders ($50/person), please email Rebekah Seder, seder(at)

At the final session in this year’s Public Education Learning Series, we will hear from experts and practitioners in building relationships between schools and families. We will explore key themes, including best practices in meaningfully engaging families as partners in education; strategies for breaking down institutional barriers to engaging low-income parents and parents of color in their children’s education; how family engagement improves academic achievement and advances equity in education outcomes; and, the role philanthropy can play in supporting effective family engagement.

Moderator: Anne Henderson, Senior Consultant & Board Member, National Association for Family, School and Community Engagement


  • Allyson Criner Brown, Tellin' Stories Project Manager and Associate Director, Teaching for Change
  • Samantha Cohen, Senior Managing Director of National Family Engagement, Flamboyan Foundation
  • Jason King, President & CEO, Turning the Page

This program is generously sponsored by


Anne Henderson's specialty is the relationship between families and schools, and its impact on students’ success in school and through life. Since 1977, Anne has worked with organizations that represent or serve parents and community members. Her clients include the Tellin’ Stories Project in Washington, DC; the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence in Lexington, Kentucky; the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City; the Alexandria, Virginia Public Schools; the Parent Institute for Quality Education in Southern California; and the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region in Washington, DC. She has worked in Civil Rights and Anti-Poverty programs for the federal government and for the New Jersey Department of Education. She helped start the National Committee for Citizens in Education, a group that aimed to put the public back into the public schools. Since 1981, she has written a small library of books and materials about research and effective practice on how engaging families can improve student achievement, especially in diverse and low-income communities. Anne is a graduate of Oberlin College, and she received her Master’s Degree in politics from Eagleton Institute at Rutgers University.

Allyson Criner Brown, MPA, is the associate director of Teaching for Change and leads the Tellin’ Stories parent organizing project, recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Harvard Family Research Project as a leading innovation in family engagement. She is an educator, facilitator, public speaker, advocate, and seasoned practitioner who is nationally known for her work at the intersection of racial equity and family engagement. Allyson fervently believes that deep and systemic inequalities that harm the rights, dignity, and potential of people of color and low-income families can be undone, and she pursues this ambition through her work in education.  

Samantha Cohen is Senior Managing Director of National Family Engagement at Flamboyan Foundation. In her role, Samantha builds Flamboyan’s strategy and approach for ensuring that every educator in the United States is an effective practitioner of family engagement. Samantha brings 14 years of education experience, having worked in the district, charter, higher education, and non-profit worlds. She strives to bridge the siloes in the education sector to ensure that low-income students and families have the opportunities they desire and deserve. Having begun her career as a first grade teacher in Atlanta, Samantha believes deeply in working as a true partner with families and students. Samantha received a doctorate in education leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, her teaching certificate in Early Childhood Education from Georgia State University, and her Bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Jason King earned his A.B. in 1994 from Duke University and his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1997. In early 1998, while practicing commercial finance law at Krooth & Altman LLP, he co-founded Turning the Page with friends and colleagues as an all-volunteer organization. In July 2000, Jason left his law practice to become Turning the Page’s full-time president and first staff member. Since then, Turning the Page has become a recognized leader in developing and implementing innovative solutions to family involvement and community investment challenges facing urban public schools. In 2004, Jason was recognized as a “Hometown Hero” by local PBS affiliate WETA and served for five years as Chair of the D.C. Congressional Art Competition. In 2009, Jason participated in the Stanford School of Business Executive Program for Non-profit Leaders and is part of the Leadership Greater Washington Class of 2013.