Courtney Smith, Managing Director, Center for Best Practices
As the Managing Director of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Center for Best Practices, Courtney oversees technical assistance, research, policy analysis and product development to support efforts to end childhood hunger across the country. She has extensive experience working on programs and policies to improve the well-being of low-income families and children. Before joining Share Our Strength in 2008, Courtney was a Senior Policy Analyst at the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices, where she provided technical assistance and consulting services to governors on a range of poverty and human services issues. From 1997 to 2001, she served as a Senior Policy Analyst at Berkeley Policy Associates where she led evaluations of welfare reform and workforce development programs. She also worked at the Public Policy Institute of California, the Literacy Assistance Center of New York City and the Program to Educate the Girl in Guatemala. Courtney has a Master in Public Policy from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.A. in English Literature and Women’s Studies from Grinnell College.
Briana Webster Campbell, Associate Director, Education and Training, Center for Best Practices
Briana oversees the Center’s initiatives related to training and technical assistance. Briana manages a team of child nutrition experts who serve as the organization’s “go-to” on school breakfast, afterschool and summer meals. Prior to joining No Kid Hungry in 2016, Briana worked on health and wellness initiatives at HealthCorps and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Prior to that, she spearheaded a diabetes and obesity prevention program for African-American men at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA and she also served as the first Wellstone Fellow for Social Justice at Families USA, a national health advocacy organization. Briana received her B.S. in Public Health from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (home of the TarHeels). In her spare time, she serves as President of the Kenya Javon Webster Memorial Scholarship, volunteers in her local community and enjoys being near any body of water with her husband, newborn son and rescue yorkie, Polo.
Holly Donovan, Senior Manager, Program Innovation Strategy
Holly is a sociologist and draws on her expertise in qualitative research methodologies to use human-centered design in the social innovation process. Prior to working in Share Our Strength’s Innovation Lab, Holly was an instructor at Boston University. She also taught middle school in the South Bronx as a Teach for America corps member and worked at a New York City nonprofit focused on ending homelessness. Holly has a Ph.D. in Sociology from Boston University and a B.A. in English and Religious Studies from Washington University in St. Louis.
Marisa Kirk-Epstein, Associate Director, Research and Policy Analysis, Center for Best Practices
Marisa joined the Center for Best Practices in February 2015. She oversees the Center's research initiatives and the development of resources and analyses to support No Kid Hungry's advocacy work. Prior to joining Share Our Strength, Marisa worked for over five years in the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, Child Nutrition Division where she developed policy for the Summer Food Service Program and the Child and Adult Care Food Program. During that time, she was the project manager for the summer demonstration projects that tested innovative ways to feed low-income children during the summer. Marisa has a Master of Social Work from Columbia University and a bachelor degree in Psychology and Philosophy from the University of Washington. Marisa is originally from Hawaii, but no longer eats spam.
Laura Hatch, Director, National Partnerships
As the Director of National Partnerships at Share Our Strength, Laura is responsible for developing and managing partnerships with external organizations with the goal of increasing participation in school breakfast, afterschool and summer meals programs. Prior to this role, Laura spent seven years at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, leading national strategic partnerships to drive the reach and impact of the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program. Laura also has experience brokering voluntary agreements with the private sector to increase access to healthier food and beverage options in schools. Throughout her career, she has worked closely with school nutrition operators and education professionals to understand the unique opportunities and challenges to ensuring children access healthy meals at school. Laura received her B.A. in Political Science from Virginia Tech and graduated with her Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Health Promotion/Disease Prevention from George Washington University.
Kirsten Craft, Manager, Program Innovation Strategy
Kirsten Craft designs and manages innovation pilots, ideation sessions and internal events focused on empowering others to use human-centered design to solve messy social problems. Most of her work is focused on ending summer hunger in rural areas. She has a track record in both designing and launching new programs and in implementing evaluation metrics across departments. She has an MBA in general management and MPP in nonprofit management, both from the University of Maryland.
Esubalew Dadi, Senior Manager, Policy Analysis, Center for Best Practices
Prior to joining Share Our Strength, Esubalew was a public policy analyst at the Florida Policy Institute in Lake Mary, Florida, working on human services issues such as TANF and SNAP, health care issues specifically Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, criminal justice reform, and state budget analysis for nearly two years. He has had an extensive and varied career including program manager for refugee services at Lutheran Services Florida, volunteer expert for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, research coordinator and consultant at Legal Atlas, and assistant lecturer and head of the Department of Law at Mizan-Tepi University in Ethiopia. Esubalew holds masters degrees in Rule of Law for Development (Loyola University Chicago) and Public International Law (University of Oslo).
Bernadette Downey, Senior Manager, State Advocacy
As the Senior Manager of Advocacy, Bernadette is responsible for engaging No Kid Hungry partners to advance state policies that will connect kids with healthy food, every day, while supporting the organization’s federal legislative priorities. Prior to joining Share Our Strength, Bernadette managed local, state, and federal government relations at Food & Friends, a Metro DC nonprofit that provides medically appropriate home-delivered meals to individuals living with life-challenging illnesses. Bernadette also represented a range of education, health, and social service nonprofits on federal issues before Congress while at Russ Reid, a private lobbying firm. Bernadette received her B.A. in Sociology from The Catholic University of America and a Master’s in Government from The Johns Hopkins University.
Brie Doyle, Senior Manager, National Partnerships
Brie Doyle engages external organizations in the education sector to help communities meet No Kid Hungry goals, especially increasing students’ access to the school breakfast program. Brie brings many years of experience in education space to this work. Previously, Brie worked at the University of Maryland exploring best practices in literacy for students from low-income, non-Native English speaking and special education backgrounds. She also partnered with school districts and corporate and non-profit organizations to design, implement and evaluate projects to increase literacy in low-income communities. Her work is published in books and journals such as Reading Research Quarterly, Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and The Reading Teacher. Brie is well-versed in stakeholder relationship management and witnessed first-hand how hunger impacts students in the classroom. She holds a Ph.D in Special Education and a M.Ed. in Reading Education from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Summer Kriegshauser, Senior Manager, School Breakfast, Center for Best Practices
Summer focuses on all elements of school breakfast expansion strategy and implementation at Share Our Strength. Prior to joining Share Our Strength in 2016, Summer worked at AASA: The School Superintendents Association, where she provided technical assistance and support to school districts that were seeking to improve their Breakfast After the Bell programs and support to districts implementing the Smart Snacks in Schools guidelines. Summer has a MPH from George Washington University, a B.A. in Speech Communications from Iowa State University, a chef certification from The Natural Gourmet Institute, and a holistic health counseling certification from the Academy of Healing Nutrition.
Derrick Lambert, Senior Manager, Summer Meals, Center for Best Practices
Derrick leads the summer meals strategy within the Center for Best Practices. Prior to joining Share Our Strength in 2016, Derrick worked as a Program Manager with Hunger Free Vermont, where he worked with state agency staff, school districts and statewide partners to initiate and expand implementation of a range of federal child nutrition programs, with a special focus on summer meals. Derrick has a Master’s Degree in International Political Economy from the University of Kent (England) and a B.A. in Political Science from Union University. Derrick is also a former educator, having spent four years in France teaching at public secondary and post-secondary institutions.
Kelley McDonough, Manager, School Breakfast, Center for Best Practices
As a school breakfast expert in the Center for Best Practices, Kelley develops resources and tools and provides technical assistance and training around expanding access to the School Breakfast Program. She is a native New Yorker who spent the last decade in New Orleans. Kelley has eight years of experience working in public health, specifically in youth health. She is committed to improving the health of children, teens and families. Prior to joining Share Our Strength in 2017, Kelley managed a statewide youth tobacco control initiative in Louisiana with a focus on youth engagement and policy change. Prior to that, Kelley provided support to New Orleans schools around the development and implementation of comprehensive, effective and sustainable school wellness programs using the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model. Kelley has a Master of Public Health from the Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine and a B.S. in Public Health from Tulane University.
Ellen Thomson, Manager, National Partnerships
In her role as Manager, National Partnerships, Ellen oversees relationships with external organizations deeply embedded in school nutrition program operations to ensure that as many children as possible have access to the federal nutrition programs all year round. Prior to this role, Ellen worked at First Book – a nonprofit social enterprise that provides new books, learning materials and other essentials to children in need in an effort to improve access to equal, quality education. At First Book, Ellen oversaw a portfolio of corporate funder partnerships. Ellen received her B.A. in Political Science from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA and graduated with her Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Health Policy from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Carolyn Wait, Senior Manager, Afterschool Meals, Center for Best Practices
Carolyn joined the Center after working for five years as a Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Specialist for the DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education. In this role, she provided training, technical assistance, and oversight to CACFP participants in the District. Carolyn first moved to DC to work at the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), where she was a National Nutrition Policy Fellow assisting with Child Nutrition Reauthorization and an Institute of Medicine committee charged with reviewing the CACFP nutrition requirements. Carolyn, a Registered Dietitian, holds a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Ohio State University (or the Ohio State University, as people love to correct her) and a Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Outside of work, Carolyn serves on the board of the DC Metro Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and enjoys volunteering, traveling, running and cooking.
Karen Wong, Senior Manager, Research and Evaluation, Center for Best Practices
Karen is responsible for managing key research and evaluation initiatives to assess the impact of the No Kid Hungry campaign. Prior to joining Share Our Strength in 2013, Karen analyzed federal food assistance policies for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. She also worked on anti-poverty initiatives with Catholic Charities USA and is an alumna of the Congressional Hunger Center Bill Emerson Fellowship Program. Karen has a master's degree in Health Sciences from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in Psychology from Pomona College.
Elyse Kovalsky, Senior Manager, Program Innovation, Center for Best Practices
Elyse is a sociologist with expertise in economic inequality and insecurity in US households. Prior to joining Share Our Strength, Elyse conducted research with families facing housing insecurity and home foreclosure in California’s Central Valley, studying economic decision-making and the implications for parents and children. She has conducted research on the intersections of health, housing and economic security with faculty at Northwestern University, where she received her Ph.D. She has also worked as a consultant for clients such as Americans for Financial Reform, advocating for financial protections for low- and middle-income households, and managed a quality improvement initiative for community health clinics in her work with the California Primary Care Association.