Connecting Conversations: Meet Allyson Cook: A Champion for Equitable Education and Youth Empowerment

Connecting Conversations: Meet Allyson Cook, the Chief Program and Impact Officer for Generation Citizen
Connecting Conversations: Meet Allyson Cook, the Chief Program and Impact Officer for Generation Citizen

Connecting Conversations: Meet Allyson Cook, the Chief Program and Impact Officer for Generation Citizen

Interview conducted by Sharnice Neale-Ottley, Senior Manager of Communications for Generation Citizen

In our latest interview, we had the privilege of connecting with Allyson Cook, Generation Citizen’s Chief Program and Impact Officer.

Allyson’s inspiring story begins with her dedicated work shaping teacher training programs focused on college and career readiness. Now, as the Chief Program and Impact Officer, Allyson is spearheading the expansion of an innovative, equity-centered curriculum, teacher training, coaching support, and rigorous monitoring and evaluation.

Watch our phenomenal conversation, where we cover topics ranging from Generation Citizen’s unique approach to civics education and its powerful impact to the strategies Allyson plans to implement within her role.

Now live on YouTube

**This interview has been transcribed and edited for clarity.**


Sharnice Neale-Ottley (SNO): Good morning, everyone!

I am Sharnice Neale-Ottley, the Senior Manager of Communications for Generation Citizen (GC), and I am here today with Allyson Cook, our Chief Program and Impact Officer.

Hi Allyson. How are you?

Allyson Cook (AC): I’m doing well! How are you?

Sharnice Neale-Ottley (SNO): I’m doing well! So, let’s begin.

Tell me a little bit about your background and how your journey has led you to become the Chief Program and Impact Officer at Generation Citizen.

Allyson Cook (AC): Yes, so a little bit about my background. I grew up loving school, reading, and learning about different cultures and people. Naturally, that momentum pushed me into the world of education. 

And so, I spent my undergrad and graduate time leaning into the education space and educational leadership – just really focused on how I can deepen my knowledge around pedagogy but also structures to support positive school communities and how to create that learning environment, not just for students but also for teachers.

AC: After working in both schools and the nonprofit sector, I found that what energized me was working in collaboration with others to support teachers in their development so they can have a far impact for students. 

So, I spent the last seven years working for another nonprofit organization, where I had the privilege and the honor of developing their coaching approach to working with teachers and strengthening their teacher professional development. 

Then, I also worked with their staff on the ground and implemented that program model, which was a natural progression to Generation Citizen, where I get to work with folks across our national program team – really leading the charge around strengthening our core program and understanding both what we need to do to enhance our curriculum and also taking space and time to understand how we can use data to inform our partnership strategies as we engage with district leaders across the country.

SNO: Oh my gosh, yes! I love all of that! The work that you’re doing is extremely inspiring, especially your piece working on professional development for educators. That’s really important. So, speaking of inspiration, what inspired you to join Generation Citizen? Are there any personal experiences or values that drive your commitment to this work?

AC: Absolutely! While I had the opportunity to work in New York City Space, visiting schools in the last ten years or so, I had an opportunity where I was brought together by the Student Success Network with Generation Citizen. That was the first opportunity where I heard about the work that was happening, particularly in our New York City schools, and that was just an ‘aha’ moment for me.

I was like, wow! This organization is activating teachers to support students in ways they need now more than ever. So, keeping a pulse on what GC was doing over the years was great. I was always the type of person who always wanted to maintain connections with people. Relationships drive my interactions with folks in GC, outside of GC, schools, and different communities.

AC: So, I’ve been able to stay in touch with folks over the years in GC, and there happened to be an opportunity where there was an opening, and I jumped at that moment. There was an opportunity for me to pivot in my career and take all the learning and action that I’ve done in previous roles, marry it, and continue the work that GC had already started when they shifted to a teacher-led model back in 2020.

 I remember being a classroom teacher and thinking, “What do I need as a classroom teacher to do this work?” I started my career in a community school, and this idea of being in a school community with students and teachers and supporting all students’ needs was really important to me. 

Understanding student voice and sharing power with young people motivates me daily, and that is also why the opportunity to join GC when they were looking for someone to own the work that our national program team does felt like an opportunity that I wanted to lean into. I was really excited to join the team about a year ago.

SNO: Yeah, Look at the growth in a year! So, as the Chief Program and Impact Officer, and you touched on this a bit, what are your main responsibilities within the organization?

AC: Yeah, that’s such a great question. When I sit back and think about my days, weeks, months, and goals for the organization, myself, and the team as a headline, I see my main responsibilities as driving our programmatic and partnership strategy while leaning into leading our national program function. That provides the foundational vision and what I deem as world-class support to a diverse set of regional program teams across the country. 

But the work continues beyond there. Part of my primary responsibilities is listening to what our constituents need. When I say constituents, I’m thinking about, of course, our students and teachers but also our partnership team and our regional program teams and listening to what they need to drive their work, taking that feedback and input, and designing our approach as a national program team to account for those needs.

Do we need to enhance our staff’s professional development? Do we need to be asking more questions about our evaluation structure? How do we connect the dots between the work happening in schools and communities and our internal structures?

So, I make time daily to seek out those I might not work with directly to share what I hear across the organization to enhance the strategy that our senior management team provides for driving the organization to reach our outcomes.

SNO: Awesome, and it’s clear to me, but for the people watching, how do you see your role contributing to the mission and vision of Generation Citizen?

AC: I mean, sometimes that’s a lofty question, and that’s, I think, why I try to position myself as someone who can listen to what folks are saying they need – internally to GC and outside of GC because our core program work is really to ensure that students and teachers have the skills tools and knowledge to enhance and develop their civic engagement skills. So, naturally, that lives with our core program, which motivates us to contribute to the mission and vision of Generation Citizen as an organization.

SNO: Perfect! I wanted to get into a few questions centering around Generation Citizen’s impact. So, in your view, what distinguishes Generation Citizen’s approach to civic education from other organizations?

AC: Yeah, that’s such a great question and one that I love to share with folks as I have conversations about the work that we’re doing and why civic education is so important in today’s time.

Generation Citizen is focused on providing schools and communities with action civics that is grounded in project-based learning, where we’re giving students the opportunity to lead what’s happening in the classroom. They’re doing the work and learning by doing; this is where action is the keyword. So, when we think about traditional civic education where you’re giving students a textbook, that’s one way to do the work, and what we are hoping to do is to provide space and time for students to drive the learning in the classroom, do the actual research that needs to be done. 

We are providing students an opportunity in a curriculum where they are identifying a focus issue, something that’s real in their communities that they want to solve, and giving them the space, time, protocol, and support to find answers to those challenges/problems that they’re identifying. 

AC: I think that’s really inspiring for young people – giving them autonomy to ask hard questions and have courageous conversations in the classroom is important. So that’s one aspect that, I think, differentiates us from other civic education providers. Also, I’m really energized about how we support teachers.

Generation Citizen has a responsive coaching approach where our program staff, our coaches, go into the schools and create safe spaces to respond to the needs of both students and teachers. This [coaching] is also grounded in equity – really understanding what is happening in the communities that we are engaged with, which are communities across the country, and focusing on teachers, naming: “What are their needs? and “How can we help close the gap on their needs?” 

That starts with our professional development, usually at the start of a semester or the beginning of the school year. Still, we usually continue that journey and learning over the course of the semester/school year with teachers. Internally, as an organization, we are grounded in inclusive approaches to support the needs of teachers because we know that teachers have so much to do, but they also have varying levels of experience in the civic education space.

SNO: Yeah. I believe you 100% because it’s as simple as, the more you pour into teachers, the more they can pour into the students and vice versa. Could you highlight a few impactful moments that demonstrate Generation Citizen’s effectiveness?

AC: Yes! This is something that I think internally, we’re constantly talking about across the organization – through our ‘wall of wins’ and just appreciation for one another. One moment that sticks out at the top of my mind is an opportunity where I had the experience to go to one of our New York Civics Days this year, which is the culminating event for our students and teachers where they get to showcase what their civic projects have been.

It is an empowering moment because all you hear, the buzz in the room, is the youth voice. Students are the ones doing all the talking, and adults are asking questions. We had a teacher in Brooklyn recently reach out to update us on a project that continued past Civics Day, which is, of course, really exciting for me because you may think students have done the curriculum, teachers facilitated this learning, and it kind of stops at Civics Day because it’s like the culminating event, but what’s really exciting is when we hear moments where the learning and the projects continue on.

AC: That’s usually a question I pose to students – “What happens after Civics Day? What happens after today? What are you going to do next?” and this teacher shared with us that students – because of their lobbying and persistent advocacy that extended beyond the civic semester – a council member awarded them $25,000 to the campus so they could hire a community-based organization to help provide safe passage for students in a downtown Brooklyn community after school. 

And again, it shows the power of what role students and youth can play in making change happen in their communities. It also takes people in the community, adults, council members, and people who play a role in civic life, coming to them and listening to the needs of their constituents. And again, what was great was the reflection that happened in that class with that teacher — them being able to name that this outcome wasn’t the project’s original goal. 

Still, it was awesome to see that this was an actual byproduct of the work they did during their project and that the students are still engaged. They recently held an interest meeting for their own Youth Leadership Council through New York City Services and the Mayor’s Office and had already recruited about 11 students to this initiative. 

AC: And so it shows the power of what our curriculum does for students. It’s grounded in not only centering youth voice and students learning by doing, but it’s inspiring. So I think about all of the folks who knew about this project in the school community, the principal, other teachers — getting excited about what’s actually happening in our community. 

And, again, what I love about the work we see with young people is that they become role models for each other, right? And so it might not be an adult that’s inspiring the shift or the change, but it’s the collaboration that happens in the classroom. It’s about the process of “how do you build consensus when people have different opinions? How do you have appropriate discourse and dialogue in the classroom?” And our curriculum is founded on creating democratic classroom cultures.

So, it also talks about our work with our teachers. The program manager who supported that group of students and that teacher is still engaged with GC today, and the success of that project is also a testament to their work as someone who was dedicated and asking the questions of the teacher, engaging with the things that were hard for the teacher and coaching them through that experience.

So, I am really proud of our program staff, who were on the ground, engaging with the students and teachers in this journey together.

SNO: Yes, that was such an exciting one. I remember interviewing two of the presenters when we were at that New York Civics Day. It was really great to see, at that age, the vigor and the excitement behind, you know what, I noticed this problem in my community; I’m seeing that these are the tools available to me to help me figure out how I could solve it, and then actually putting that into action. 

This is great because I remember them telling me that they wanted to continue throughout the summer, so hearing this is like a nice come-together moment. So clearly, there are a lot of impactful times happening at GC, so how does Generation Citizen measure that impact? What metrics do you all find the most meaningful?

AC: Yes, GC has a very healthy and energized data culture. One of the things that’s really important for us, as a team and as a community, is to really ask ourselves: What are we trying to solve for? What are we hoping to achieve as an organization and as teams? So, it’s been a privilege to work with all of the program leaders across the organization to unpack what regional impact looks like, what organizational and national impact looks like and create internal structures and protocols to have those conversations. 

When I often think about our impact, I think about the questions we seek to answer with our program. So, what benefits are students receiving from action civics? We believe that actions civics provides civic knowledge skills and civic motivation. Furthermore, we believe that the program bolsters their socioemotional growth. In the long term, we want to see that action civics allows students to be at the forefront of creating a more just, participatory, and inclusive democracy.

AC: Another question we seek to answer is: What are the benefits teachers receive? Currently, this is something exciting to explore at GC because we shifted to a teacher-led model in 2020, so we are defining what we hope to see change for teachers. We also want teachers to become more effective at facilitating project-based learning and creating more student-led lessons through action civics. 

We hope that teachers develop stronger relationships rooted in mutual respect and trust with their students as a result of facilitating action civics. Then, we’re also thinking about this third question around the ripple effects of action civics. We believe that it makes students more likely to be civically engaged in the future, growing their own locus of control by engaging in action civics, and (we kind of just highlighted this with the Civics Day project) believing that action civics allows student voices to be heard, not just in schools, but in their grander community.

AC: When I think about the metrics that we’re looking for, we’re looking to see that students are gaining their civic knowledge, gaining civic skills, and then gaining civic motivation. It’s been really exciting to unpack that over the last year of my time at GC. Right now, for all three of those metrics, we’re hovering around 75% of students who feel comfortable and are gaining those civic skills, knowledge, and motivation. We’re hoping to see that increase over time by diving deep into assessing the effectiveness of our actual curriculum with students, which we do right now through surveys.

We are also thinking about what it looks like to connect with our own Policy and Advocacy team, where we house our youth voice and alumni programming, to see this throughline between students who participate in the program – what do we see as they grow and mature in their educational careers and then what happens post-graduation? Are we seeing students who engage in action civics going on to do any work or voter registration activities or going into actual policy initiatives? So, those are exciting areas of our work that we’re starting to explore at a deeper level.

SNO: That’s amazing. Wow, I love how the youth is prioritized through our organization. It’s very important because they are the future, the next generation that will help take us forward. So that’s amazing. What strategies do you plan to implement in your new role to further Generation Citizen’s impact?

AC: Yeah, again, when I think about strategies and my own locus of control or what organizational power I hold, I go back to relationships. My relationships, externally and internally, also drive the strategy to further our impact as an organization. Right now, we’re focused on strengthening our core program work by implementing our responsive coaching, but also tracking this in greater detail to identify: What are the core components where teachers are thriving? Where are they excelling? Where are we seeing them move in terms of developing strong facilitation of action civic skills? But then also, where can we build even more content to support further engagement with teachers and further develop their teacher practice?

These questions come from a lot of feedback from our teachers on the ground, focus groups, our Teacher Leadership Board, and asking more questions about how we can bring data to students. We want to understand what needs to happen for teachers, where we can further develop their own practice by providing them with more opportunities to engage with our content and develop more content. 

AC: We know, over the years, how effective the Generation Citizen curriculum and teacher professional development is, and we’ve seen that there’s an opportunity now for us to develop a suite of teacher professional development and training that helps support growing students in action civics. We also see an opportunity to lean into teachers as our core demographic of constituents. One of the ways that we’re hoping to do this is in a scalable and quick way – because we know teachers will tell us today what they need and will need it tomorrow.

And so, we’ve embarked on this exciting journey of developing and building our own learning management system, which we call GC connect, to provide more of these learning opportunities for teachers that will also pair nicely with the coaching that happens. Knowing that our coaching model is grounded in equity and inclusiveness, we want to ensure that we provide content to teachers that they can access at any time. 

AC: We know how busy teachers are, so we want to make sure that teachers know, with the ease of a click, they can go to our website, log in, and access content they know their coaches already decided is a pathway for them to engage with. This will also create potential opportunities for us to reach teachers who probably aren’t implementing our curriculum at a district level or school level.

There may be a teacher in a state where they don’t have a civic seal or a civic mandate, but they want to engage in this work, so we are exploring what it would look like to provide those opportunities.

SNO: Awesome, this is great. So, how has Generation Citizen adapted its programs and strategies, especially in response to changing societal and educational landscapes?

AC: Generation Citizen takes our cues from our partners. What are we hearing in the field that we need to be responsive to? We value the experience of all of our partners. We use that to inform our strategies to support teacher development and understand how we can engage deeply with a district. 

One element that is starting to percolate and show up in our work more is the level of involvement at the district level. We hear a lot from district leaders, when we’re partnering with them and when we start with teacher professional development, that they want to be involved more. They know how important their involvement is to ensure that teachers feel supported to do this work because we know, right now, there are targets on teachers’ backs. What teachers say and do in the classroom is honed in under a microscope, so teachers are looking for the support of their district leaders, principals, and administrators.

AC: So, we are recognizing that need in real-time and working with our program directors and executive directors to develop a support structure to approach where we are engaging with district leaders and giving them real-time data on what’s happening with program implementation. We are working to answer: How can they be supportive? What core competencies do we want to see with partnership at the district level?

In some of the initial partnerships where we’ve had these conversations, hearing district leaders say, “How can I be more supportive of this work for my teachers?” is like music to my ears. It also hones in on the fact that we are not just vendors coming into communities and schools, we’re truly partners, and we want to hear what’s showing up for them in their day-to-day so that we can be responsive to an implementation plan that works for, not just the teachers, not just students, but also the administrators.

AC: This is the really exciting work that’s happening across the country. I’m excited to hear from our program directors that district leaders are saying that this is what they need, or district leaders are saying that data around coaching was really helpful. So, thinking about this partnership arch is part of the work we’ve been doing to be adaptive, and we’re nimble, we’re flexible, and we want to continue to lean in on the cues we hear from folks in the field to inform how we move forward.

SNO: To piggyback off of that a bit, I’m thinking about how civics education – the challenges that are taking place in our nation right now – and I’m curious: how do you envision Generation Citizen evolving to address the current challenges and the future challenges in civic education that we may come across?

AC: Generation Citizen is an open-minded organization; that’s one of our core values and one that is necessary in today’s climate. We want to continue to be positioned as a leader in the civic education space, and we’re committed to having a seat at the table to learn from those involved in this space. There are other organizations, other schools, and other practitioners doing this work, and we want to learn from them as well so that we can be inclusive and adapt over time. 

We believe that, in order to evolve to address these challenges in the civic education space, it is absolutely paramount that we listen and understand the root cause for these hardships to develop an approach that continues to advance equity and uplift youth voices. And so we’re doing that in a number of ways, in coalitions, with our actual practices of hearing from teachers and developing a feedback cycle to hear from staff. 

We’re also recognizing how we diversify our program to meet the needs of folks in different communities. We still work in urban and suburban communities, but we also work in rural communities, and how action civics shows up in all three of those archetypes is very different. We want to be nimble to that. 

AC: We are also actively showing up in this current moment where civics education is at the forefront of conversations with parents, school leaders, and young people who want to be involved in their communities. So, Generation Citizen will continue to think creatively and strategically about ways to provide parents, school leaders, and youth with access to high-quality action civic education and those experiences.

SNO: Yes, I 100% agree with you. The youth DO want to be involved. Just attending New York Civics Day earlier this year, it is clear that they have something to say and that this program helped them develop and cultivate that voice to where when they say something, it has an impact. So, are there any new initiatives or partnerships that are on the horizon that you’re excited about and willing to share?

AC: Yeah, I think Generation Citizen – we don’t just partner with school communities, but we also partner with other organizations. One initiative that I’m excited to highlight is a partnership we worked on with the Department of Education in the *Equation Development Center, where we worked with them to create a curriculum that teachers and schools across the country can use. 

This initiative also ignited my passion for what continuing support looks like for educators. At Generation Citizen, all of our teachers who engage in our program have the opportunity to always be connected with Generation Citizen through our educator network. This is an exciting opportunity for teachers who have taught our curriculum for a couple of years, but maybe they don’t need all the coaching and support we initially provided. With this educator network, we provide them with different opportunities to continue engaging with our curriculum. 

AC: They’ll always have touchpoints with our regional team members, but we’re actively developing a differentiated approach for educators in that network based on their needs. Folks who are in the educator network are the ones who have become experts in facilitating Generation Citizen’s action civics curriculum. So we want to activate those folks and give them opportunities to show off their great skills, whether that’s through creating opportunities for them to speak at events or connect with a new Generation Citizen teacher. 

We’re actively thinking about what that cultivation can look like over time, and I’m really excited about some of the work that’s happening, especially in our state of Oklahoma. We’re piloting a rural educator network cohort because we know in rural communities, teachers often want moments where they can connect with peers, so I’m really excited about the work happening in Oklahoma around our educator network.

SNO: Yes! I am, too. Can you discuss the importance of advocacy and community engagement when it comes to achieving these goals or other goals for GC?

AC: Yeah, this is the culmination of why we’re here. We recognize that students – they know what happens when they walk home from school. They see something in their town, on their street, on their home block that needs to change, and, of course, our curriculum is giving them space to go into that and learn by doing. Still, they also need the opportunity to see what community engagement can be, and we need to advocate for spaces where youth can be present in those spaces.

I often hear from young people that they don’t feel that they can be in public spaces or public forums where their voice is heard. I often think about my own town in the community board, and when change is enacted, do I see young people in the room? No; therefore, I see myself as an advocate to name when we should be sharing space with young people and getting them involved in the community. Again, as you named, we know the young people are the future, and they’re going to be taking care of us one day.

AC: They’re going to be leading our communities and our spaces, and so, what does it look like to actually bring them into the space, right now, where they can have the conversation? Where they can share their input and their questions? That’s really all that they want. They want an opportunity to be in the same rooms with us, and we need to think about how we can share that power. So, the community engagement and the advocacy that we do as individuals, in GC and outside of GC, really complements the work of our core program.

It creates appropriate synergy when we think about initiatives across the organization or opportunities where we can elevate what’s happening in local spaces and how that’s connected to the work we’re doing at Generation Citizen. This is one that is really exciting too, because it shows up in our day-to-day. When I have a team meeting or a program team meeting, we talk about who we are as adults in the community.

Most of us on the program team are former classroom teachers, so looking at what’s showing up in the community for teachers and the pressures they have – being able to bring that into our goals as an organization, but also how we address inequities in the system is something that is top of mind and one that is always going to be relevant no matter where you go. That’s relevant in Los Angeles, California, New York City, and also in Tulsa, Oklahoma. So, I think that’s a line between all of our work and how it shows up in our day-to-day.

SNO: Yeah, you’re 100% right, and I know, just obviously from working at GC and also connecting with several of our staff on a day-to-day, I see a lot of the thought that goes into how we show up in certain spaces, and as someone that manages our external messaging and frequently talking to the public, I’m always getting asked, “what role can I play?” 

So, as someone who’s a part of the broader public, what role can they play in supporting Generation Citizen’s mission and contributing to impact?

AC: Yeah, that’s a really helpful question to bring to this conversation. And, of course, there are ways to stay active with Generation Citizen, whether it’s signing up for our newsletter or bringing Generation Citizen to a teacher or principal – those are some more tangible ways. 

But, when I think about the broader public and the broader mission for Generation Citizen and our vision around bringing young people into a democracy, I think about who the young people are in your community and bringing them into spaces where you can share power with them.

AC: I think about the role that we all play, whether it’s with family, whether it’s with our cousins, whether it’s with someone that you see at the playground, bringing young people to the table and asking them what matters to them is the easiest way in which we all can play a role in supporting Generation Citizen’s mission.

I mean just asking a young person, “Well, what do you think about this?” It’s always interesting when you ask student that question, and you can tell when it’s the first time someone’s asked them for their opinion, they look at you like, “Wait. Are you really asking me?” And it’s like yes! We want to hear from you, and that starts with kids who are in the youngest ages.

A two-year-old versus your kids who are ready to graduate high school, right? That question always has a meaning behind it, and being able to start with the young people first, instead of posing our opinions as adults on young people is what’s coming to mind for me.

SNO: 1000% Oh my gosh, this conversation has been amazing. I have gotten so much value from it, even as a team member at GC. So, as we come to a close, I really wanted to put the spotlight back on Allyson, the person, and hear more about your personal reflections and visions. So, looking ahead, what legacy do you hope to leave as the Chief Program and Impact Officer?

AC: Yes, such a big question and one that I honestly have thought a lot about. Coming to the organization – coming to GC and knowing all of the great work that has already happened in the organization’s history and tenure, what I really hope to leave in terms of a legacy is to ensure that we have an inclusive and equity-centered program model, not just from the lens of our students and teachers, but also for our staff.

The work we do isn’t easy – it’s hard, and some days are easier than others, but some days you go into a conversation with a team member or a teacher, and you’re coming down to why this work really matters. If we have that inclusive and safe space, then we’ve done our job. 

I want to make sure that our program model is one that can continue to grow because I think it’s so important.

AC: I often think about conversations when people say, “Oh my gosh, the work that Generation Citizen is doing, it needs to be everywhere.” I absolutely agree with that. I want to ensure that the program model, the implementation of our work, can withstand time. 

So, thinking about how you do it in person, how can it be done virtually? Are there opportunities where it can be done synchronously or asynchronously? I want a program model and an implementation strategy that can withstand time, but also account for the changes that happen in society because we know they’re coming. 

I want to leave a legacy that talks about what matters in terms of how we get this work done, which is grounded in relationships. I would not be here if it weren’t for the relationships and having people pour into me personally and professionally, so I often look to continue to create relationships where people feel the same from me.

SNO: That sounds amazing. I really love your point about adaptability, being able to create something that is going to withstand time and be able to bend and shift to best meet the needs of the people who will be utilizing that for years to come, so I really love that.

And my last question – so young people are at the center of our work as we’ve discussed already. What advice would you give to a young person or young people who are interested in pursuing careers in civic education and societal impact?

AC: Yes, that’s easy. Whenever I see a young person, I say this: “Don’t wait. Do it now.”

If you have an idea or a question, talk about it today. It doesn’t matter if you’re five, if you’re 15, if you’re 25 – you matter, your voice matters, ask the question. Talk to the people in front of you and they’ll make a way for you or guide you to the individuals you need to talk to. 

I’ve seen that with my classroom of students that I had about ten years ago. When they wanted to have a community event, whether it was a dance recital or what have you, it was all about giving them the space to ask questions and try on that independence.

Take what you want to do, ask the questions, and we’ll make a way for it to happen.

SNO: What a great way to end our interview, Allyson! It was really good speaking to you this morning. I thoroughly enjoyed this conversation and look forward to what you do next!

AC: Thank you so much, Sharnice, for making the space and time. It’s such a pleasure when we always get to connect, and I really love the work that you’re doing to further GC’s mission and vision as well.

SNO: Yay! Thank you so much.


*In the video interview, the was mention of the Education Defense Center, but this was incorrect. The correct party was identified in this interview transcription.

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