Staff & Board Of Directors

The partnership staff and board of directors are dedicated to providing our member organizations the support they need to effectively advocate for children in their local areas.


Marquita Little NuMan

Executive Director

Marquita joined the Partnership in August 2023. She is a passionate and strategic advocate committed to empowering people, removing systemic barriers, and advancing equity. Over nearly two decades, she has worked through government, nonprofits, and philanthropy to support marginalized communities and advocate for improved public policies.

NuMan comes to the Partnership for America’s Children from the Alliance for Early Success, where she led the organization’s transition toward more equitable grantmaking and championed early childhood advocates as Senior Director of Equity and Impact.

Her leadership experience extends to reviving the Urban League of Arkansas after a 20-year absence in the state, as inaugural president and CEO, and serving as Leadership Officer at the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. She brings deep experience in state policy and advocacy, holding roles instrumental in advocating for and shaping Arkansas’s early adoption of Medicaid expansion and spearheading child health initiatives. 

NuMan holds a master’s degree from the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas and a bachelor’s degree from Hendrix College. She is the proud mother of an inquisitive toddler and cherishes the opportunity to travel with her husband and loved ones.


Jasmine Jones

Director of Member Engagement

Jasmine joined the Partnership for America’s Children in May of 2019. She cultivates member engagement by connecting members to expert knowledge within the network as well as the broader advocacy sector. She is passionate about cultivating conversations that improve best practices for conducting effective, innovative, and equity-centered non-profit organizations.

Jasmine has a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy. She is an alumna of the University of Maryland, College Park where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics.


Elissa Glucksman Hyne

Senior Child Welfare Policy Manager

Elissa joined the Partnership for America’s Children in January 2022. She has spent more than 15 years advocating for children and families involved with the child welfare, juvenile justice, education, and healthcare systems both nationally and in over a dozen states.

Before coming to the Partnership, Elissa spent 10 years at Children’s Rights, a national children’s advocacy organization that champions the legal rights of children impacted by government systems. Her work there included providing policy consultation and producing evidence‐based recommendations for state legislative and administrative reform efforts; working with coalitions to advance legislative agendas in the interest of children and families; and writing myriad reports, white papers, and articles featuring extensive research and quantitative and qualitative analysis in the interest of system-involved children and families. Elissa has prior experience with several organizations including: the Center for Children’s Advocacy in Connecticut, Lawyers for Children America, Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition, and the Connecticut Department of Children and Families.

Elissa received her B.A. in psychology from Brandeis University, her M.S.W. with a concentration in policy practice from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work, and her J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law.


Zoë Kilbourne

Administrative Assistant

Zoë has assisted with logistics and administration of various Partnership projects since 2017. Over the course of 2020, the scope of their work expanded to include virtual event management and technical support for the Partnership’s online meetings, convenings, and other events. Zoë aims to support child advocates as much as possible in improving policy and support for children and families.

They are also a high level tap dancer with more than twenty years of performance and teaching experience. Zoë currently lives in Connecticut with their husband.

Zoë identifies as non-binary and goes by the singular “they” for their personal pronouns (they, them, theirs, themself, etc.).


Kimberly Perry,

Executive Director,
DC Action

Kimberly is one of the nation’s leading experts in child and youth public policy advocacy and civic engagement.

Kimberly’s work building powerful campaigns and organizations to amplify citizen’s voices has resulted in critical policy changes to improve the lives of nearly 30 million children, youth and families. 

In 2019 she became DC Action’s executive director and she has set a vision to achieve racial equity in child and youth outcomes, and is ramping up the organization’s resources, human capital, and networks to break down structural barriers that stand in the way of all kids reaching their full potential.

Already, her leadership has resulted in quadrupling the organization’s annual budget, expanding her staff from two to fifteen employees; and led two major policy wins: one, raising the compensation of early childhood educators thereby making the District’s child care system more equitable; and, two, nearly doubling resources for the District’s out-of-school time sector, moving the District closer to closing racial gaps in access to safe and high quality learning opportunities beyond the classroom. 

Prior to DC Action, Kimberly served as Founding Director of DC Hunger Solutions, Vice President of the Clinton Foundation’s Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Executive Director of DC Vote, as well as other key advisory roles in public policy advocacy and philanthropy.

Kimberly is co-chair of the Board of Directors of the Partnership for America’s Children, serves on the Board of the Children’s Financing Project, and the Community Housing Trust.

When she’s not working you can find her at home perfecting recipes with her family, watching and producing documentaries, salsa dancing, or on a hiking trail.


Jenifer Wagley,

Executive Director,
Our Children Oregon

Jenifer serves as Executive Director, bringing 15 years of experience in community development/affordable housing, grass-roots power building, and organizational leadership. Previously she served as the Deputy Director of Avenue Community Development Corporation in Houston, TX. During her tenure, she developed a nationally recognized model for place-based, community-led transformation. In 2017, she and partners received the American Planning Association’s National Planning Excellence Award for Advancing Diversity & Social Change. Subsequently, Avenue was selected for the National BUILD Health Challenge. In 2018, she was awarded the prestigious Rubinger Fellowship by the Local Initiative Support Corporation, which led her to Oregon.


Dr. Stephan Blanford

Executive Director,
Children’s Alliance

After watching the first moon landing at his grandfather’s side, Stephan desperately wanted to be an astronaut (until claustrophobia and advanced math redirected his energies). Since 2020, he has led Children’s Alliance as its Executive Director, helping to build an antiracist movement for children and their families. He has led direct service nonprofits, operated his own consulting practice and was even elected to the Seattle School Board in 2013. He relishes the opportunity to be in service to all 1.6 million children in Washington state. If you start a conversation with Stephan about racial and social justice, jazz or travel, you’ll get an earful.

Paige Clausius-Parks

Executive Director,
Rhode Island KIDS COUNT

Paige Clausius-Parks is Executive Director of Rhode Island KIDS COUNT. From 2018-2022, Paige served as Senior Policy Analyst; responsible for policy analysis, advocacy, research, and project management in areas related to education and economic well-being. Prior to joining Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, Paige served as Director of Advancement and Assistant Director at Books are Wings, Network Director at Youth in Action, Teacher/Advisor at the Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center, and Program Coordinator at Youth Pride, Inc. Paige has a Bachelor of Arts from Providence College and a Master of Education from Harvard University.

Richard Kennedy

Executive Director,
Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth

Richard Kennedy was appointed to be TCCY executive director beginning June 16, 2018. Kennedy began with the agency in 2000 as an ombudsman, and he served as the associate director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth since January 2011. He was promoted to director of field operations before becoming associate director.

Kennedy has spent his entire professional career working directly with and advocating for children and youth. Prior to joining state government, Kennedy worked with the Davidson County Community Services Agency, Camelot, Hermitage Hall and the Greater New Orleans Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

A native Middle Tennessean, Kennedy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Lambuth University in Jackson, Tennessee, and a master of arts degree in counseling from Trevecca University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Kennedy is an alumnus of LEAD Tennessee, Tennessee Government Management Institute and Tennessee Government Executive Institute. He is an inaugural member of the Tennessee Government Leadership Council. His involvement in the community includes having recently completed his final term on the board of directors for Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee, where he served as board chair in 2015-16. He has also volunteered as a Big Brother with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Nashville.


Allison Lake

Executive Director,
Westchester Children’s Association

Allison became Westchester Children’s Association (WCA) Executive Director in July 2018. She joined WCA in 1998 as the Program Coordinator for the Children’s Health Initiative. In 2008, she was promoted to Deputy Director, responsible for WCA’s programmatic initiatives, leading WCA’s advocacy partnerships and community mobilization efforts. Allison received her BA from Amherst College and an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business. She brings over 25 years of experience in non-profit and community work both in the US and West Africa, as a Peace Corps Volunteer. After working in banking for three years, she returned to her passion of community development. She has held management positions at the National Civic League and Associated Black Charities. Ms. Lake has worked in youth development with the City Volunteer Corps program in New York City and the YWCA of White Plains & Central Westchester. Allison is a homegrown Westchesterite, lives in Greenburgh with her husband and has two young adult children.


Mark Mecum

Chief Executive Officer,
Ohio Children’s Alliance

Mark directs the strategic initiatives of the association, its advocacy and lobbying responsibilities, and development of collaborative partnerships.

Keesa Smith

Executive Director,
Arkansas Advocates For Children And Families

Keesa Smith became Executive Director of AACF in February 2023.

Keesa worked for the Arkansas Department of Human Services from 2013 until 2023 as the Deputy Director of Youth and Families. In that role, she oversaw the divisions responsible for the state’s child welfare, juvenile justice and early education programs during a time of significant transformation.

Keesa earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law. She is a member of the Pulaski County Bar Association; the Harold Flowers Law Society; the Beta Pi Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc; the inaugural class of the Arkansas Bar Association Leadership Academy Program; Class XXVI of the Greater Little Rock Leadership program; and she is a 2021 Aspen Institute Ascend Fellow.

Holly Welborn

Executive Director,
Children's Advocacy Alliance of Nevada

Holly’s mantra is that she is an advocate with a law license. Youth justice has always been central to her work. During law school she focused on youth law and interned for Legal Services for Children where she represented children in delinquency and dependency matters, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status applications, and school expulsion proceedings. Holly most recently served as the Policy Director for the ACLU of Nevada where she managed a diverse legislative agenda. She is most proud of her work to limit the  transfer of youth under 18 years of age to the adult criminal legal system and to improve living conditions for children in juvenile justice facilities. 

She currently serves as a board member of the Institute for a Progressive Nevada, Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, and the Nevada Coalition Against the Death Penalty. She previously served as a gubernatorial appointee to the Nevada Sentencing Commission and the Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice. Holly was recognized as a Reno-Tahoe Young Professionals 40 under 40 finalist and is a recipient of the Community Leadership Award from Silver State Equality. As a Nevada native, and first generation college graduate and lawyer, Holly strives to give back to her community through her advocacy and philanthropic efforts.


John Wilson

Kansas Action for Children

Prior to joining KAC, John was a member of the Kansas House of Representatives for five years where he served as the minority caucus policy chair, the ranking member on the House Committee on Health & Human Services, and the ranking member of the House Committee on Children and Seniors. He started the bipartisan, bicameral Healthy Kansans Caucus, and worked to increase transparency and collaboration within the Legislature.

He spent 11 years with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation—a partnership between the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation. During that time, he coordinated strategic partnerships with corporations and celebrities, co-developed a national strategy for increasing physical activity and healthy eating in out-of-school time sites, developed a youth engagement strategy, created the first-ever national Youth Advisory Board focused on eliminating childhood obesity, and designed a youth-focused community organizing curriculum focused on addressing the social and political influencers of health.

He holds a BFA in Design from the University of Kansas. The best parts of his day are when he’s spending time with his wife, Jami, and their two sons, Parker and Henry.