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National CACFP Forum
The National CACFP Forum Announces Six New Board Members
Washington D.C.— The National CACFP Forum Board announces the appointment of six new members of its diverse Board as well as the full slate of officers and board members for 2017.
Joining the all volunteer CACFP Forum Board are Elyse Vitale-Homel, Christine Twait, Janet Phelan, Kelli Kkonysky, Brandon Gary, and Megan Evenson “All six of our newest Board members embody the spirit of community and bring talent, expertise and energy to the table. We are very fortunate to have them by our side as we continue to strengthen the CACFP community”, Susanna Reza, National CACFP Forum President.
Elyse Homel Vitale, Senior Advocate for California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA), provides organizational and programmatic leadership on initiatives that aim to increase low-income children's access to the nutrition resources they need for healthy development. Areas of expertise include early childhood nutrition, the federal child nutrition programs, and state and federal policy advocacy. Prior to CFPA, Elyse worked as a preschool teacher, a research associate at the University of California-San Diego, and the Hunger Advocacy Network coordinator for Jewish Family Service of San Diego. Elyse obtained her MPH in Community Health Sciences at the University of California-Los Angeles and started with CFPA in 2010.
Christine Twait is a registered dietitian with a master's degree in nutrition. She is the Executive Director of Partners in Nutrition, a nonprofit based in Minnesota that is dedicated to practical and culturally-responsive strategies to address healthy food access with an emphasis on low-income communities, communities of color and immigrant communities. She has been working with USDA Child Nutrition Programs in various capacities since 2006.
Janet White Phelan, as the CEO of a Nebraska CACFP sponsoring organization Midwest Child Care Associationfor more than 25 years, Ms. Phelan has been able to fulfill her passion as a social entrepreneur. Her expertise lies in recruiting and training, low-to-middle income women while coaching them in setting up their own child care business. While experienced in program management of a successful CACFP sponsorship for family child care homes , she recently added unaffiliated child care centers to the membership. Janet is a visionary and creative strategist with strong interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to see the “big” picture to facilitate key decision making processes and revenue generating projects. She graduated from Creighton University and attended the University of Nebraska seeking a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.
Kellie M. Konysky, RD; Ms. Konysky is the Program Director for the PACE Early Childhood Education program
located in Los Angeles that serves over 1,300 children and families in its Head Start and Early Head Start programs. She has been with the PACE organization since July 2007, where she started as the Nutrition Coordinator of the ECE department until April 2015 when she became the Program Director. In the role of Director, Ms. Konysky provides direct oversight and implementation of the Head Start/Early Head Start contract provided by the Los Angeles County
Office of Education (LACOE) grantee. Ms. Konysky holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Foods and Nutrition with an
emphasis in Dietetics from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She also completed her year-long dietetic internship through Cal Poly Pomona. Ms. Konysky is an accredited Registered Dietitian through the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
Brandon K. Gary, Esq. is an experienced and active advocate and proponent of USDA Food and Nutrition Programs. Brandon is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Building Better Communities Foundation (BBCF), a not-for-profit Sponsor of the Child and Adult Care Food Program. BBCF provides sponsorship, advocacy, training and technology to eligible CACFP agencies to expand the access of CACFP benefits to unserved areas and at-risk youth throughout California.
Brandon’s experience in USDA Food and Nutrition Programs began first as a consultant, serving as Chief Legal Counsel and Program Consultant for Executive Management Services (EMS), a full-service consultancy firm providing program administration, bookkeeping and advocacy to residential child care institutions for nearly 30 years. Through EMS, Brandon continues to assist residential child care institutions in the management and administration of nutrition funding programs, continually pushing for streamlined processes of program administration, and transparency and integrity on the part of both program sponsors and state agencies. Brandon completed his undergraduate studies at UCLA, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Political Science, graduating in the top 10 percent of his class (magna cum laude). Brandon received his Juris Doctorate from Vanderbilt University Law School, where he focused his legal education on law and business. Brandon is a practicing attorney licensed in California, where his practice focuses on small business development, real estate acquisition and finance, business transactions and for-profit and not-for-profit corporate governance. Brandon was born in Fresno, California, where he still currently resides with his loving family and their two Yorkshire Terriers, Marley and Artie.
Megan Evenson, is the Program Coordinator for the Family Service Child Care Food Program in Lincoln, Nebraska for ten years. Our agency is the oldest and largest Sponsor in the state and we serve 86 of the 93 counties in the state! After graduating with a Masters in Education I worked in Head Start, non-profit child care centers and most importantly I have had children in child care. I am excited to serve CACFP and the Forum at such an exciting time for our program.
The National CACFP Forum is a non-profit organization open to all in the Child and Adult Care Food Program regardless of ability to pay. Our mission is to Protect CACFP, Perfect CACFP Policy and Promote CACFP Leadership. To build a sense of CACFP community and common purpose throughout the nation.
For more information about the National CACFP Forum (Child and Adult Care Food Program Forum) visit www.cacfpforum.com or email at Info@cacfpforum.com.
The slate of board members for 2017 is listed below.
President: Susana Reza, El Paso Human Services, Inc.
Vice President: Maria Franco, Families and Youth, Inc.
Secretary: Jodi Kuhn, Knowledge Universe Education LLC
Treasurer: Reynaldo Green, Quality Care for Children
Region 1- Northeast; Sonja Carvalho, Catholic Charities CACFP
Region 2 - Southeast; Reynaldo Green, Quality Care for Children
Region 3 - Mid Atlantic - Open
Region 4 - Midwest; Lisa Carlson, Children's Hunger Alliance
Region 5– Mountain Plains; Janey Phelan Midwest Child Care Association, Megan Evenson, Family Services Linclon
Region 6- Southwest; Maria Franco, Families and Youth,Inc.and Youth, Inc.
Region 7 - West; Jacqueline Deadder, FRAMAX
At Large Representatives:
Paula James, Contra Costa Child Care Council
Christine Clark, Conference Chair, CCFP Roundtable
Donna Pomerson, Director of Operational Compliance, Learning Care Group
Billie Kops Wimmer, Chief Executive Officer, The Association for Child Development
Aimee Klevorn, Communications Manager, Association for Child Development
Kellie M. Konysky, Program Director, PACE Early Childhood Education
Brandon K. Gary, Esq., Executive Director of Building Better Communities Foundation
Tom Clark, Minute Menu Systems
Elyse Vitale-Homel, CFPA
Christine Twait, Partners in Nutrition
Ipek Taffe, Independent Consultant
Geraldine Henchy, Food Research & Action Center
Helen Blank, National Women’s Law Center
Ed Cooney, Congressional Hunger Center
Bill Hudson, National Association of Family Child Care