Local Coordinators

Hannah Ashley, Philadelphia/WCU Coordinator

Hannah Ashley came up in community based literacy work.  She earned her Ph.D. from Temple University inInterdisciplinary Urban Education and has published in numerous collections and journals, including Radical Teacher, Reflections—A Journal of Community Engaged Writing and Rhetoric, and Pedagogy. Hannah is a past co-chair for the National Conference on Basic Writing.  In addition to teaching courses focusing on urban community change, critical pedagogy, community-engaged writing, and literacy, she cofounded and is currently the director for the Youth Empowerment and Urban Studies (YES) program at WCU, which is housed in the Rustin Urban Community Change Axis (RUCCAS).  She likes to make a ruckus with her partner, four children and other work- and playmates in Philadelphia and Wilmington.

Shelia Balque, Los Angeles Coordinator

Shelia is a native of South Los Angeles and 3rd generation Angelino. She is currently the Program Coordinator of Student Services for the Los Angeles Community Organizing Academy, a free college-course program hosted at the Los Angeles Trade Technical College. As Program Coordinator, she functions as the go-to person for all student services needs from enrollment, coaching/retention, club activities and internships. As a former high school student organizer, she is passionate about providing more accessible and quality education to residents in South Los Angeles. Shelia is also a proud graduate of Soka University of America (B.A. Liberal Arts, 2010) and is an alumna of the Public Allies Los Angeles Americorps program.   sbalque@cdtech.org

Sean Crossland, Salt Lake Coordinator

Sean serves as the Director of Thayne Center for Service & Learning at Salt Lake Community College. He obtained his BA in Psychology from Iowa Wesleyan College, his MA in Community Leadership from Westminster College, and completed the Leadership, Organizing, and Action Program from the Harvard Kennedy Executive School. Sean is currently pursuing his PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Utah and will earn the Higher Education Teaching Specialist and Community College Teaching certificate. Sean has been teaching undergraduate and graduate community engaged learning at a community college, a research-intensive flagship university, and a private liberal arts college for over 5 years. Prior to working in higher education, Sean was a counselor in a wilderness therapy program for adjudicated youth, managed a day service for people with disabilities, and worked in a group-home treatment setting.

Lena Jones, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Mississippi Coordinator

Lena is a political science faculty member at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC), where she has been teaching since 2002.  In addition to teaching, she coordinates the Community Development A.S. Degree Program and is active in a variety of civic engagement initiatives on campus. Since 2006, she has been the Program Director of Race in America, Then and Now, a summer field study course of the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA) that explores past and current civil rights issues. In 2013, Lena was granted a Bush Leadership Fellowship, through which she explored ways to build effective, reciprocal and lasting partnerships between higher education institutions, community organizations and governments.  Lena.Jones@minneapolis.edu

Cynthia Kaufman, Cupertino-San Jose Coordinator

Cynthia is the director of the Institute of Community and Civic Engagement at De Anza College and the program coordinator for the Community Learning Partnership’s work at De Anza. She teaches in the program, recruits students for it, plans the graduation and meets with community partners to make sure we stay on track. What she loves the most about this work is that she gets to watch students bloom from being people concerned about the problems of the world or their communities into full blown community organizers who have big voices and toolboxes full of skills.  Cynthia also teaches Philosophy at DeAnza. She is the author of two books on social change “Getting Past Capitalism: History, Vision, Hope (Lexington Books 2012) and Ideas for Action: Relevant Theory for Radical Change (South End Press 2003). She is a lifelong social change activist, having worked on issues such as tenants’ rights, police abuse, union organizing, international politics, and most recently climate change. She received her PhD and M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and her B.A. in Development Studies from University of California, Berkeley.  kaufmancynthia@fhda.edu

John Krinsky, New York City Coordinator

John is a professor of political science, with an interest in labor and community organizing in New York. He specializes in urban politics, the politics of social movements, and the politics of work, welfare and labor. He is a co-editor of the online peer-reviewed journal Metro-politics and a co-editor of the journal Social Movement Studies. He co-coordinates the Politics and Protest Workshop at the CUNY Graduate Center and is a founding board member of the New York City Community Land Initiative.

Deborah M. Pfliegel, Southeast Michigan Coordinator

Early in her career Deborah she was a leader in the state of Ohio in career and technical education, working to build and staff secondary career education centers. In a career shift Deborah transitioned to the private sector with General Motors Corporation where she used her experience in youth and adult education to lead apprenticeship programs, plant level foreman training programs, union-management joint programs, college recruiting and cooperative education programs. More recently Deborah transitioned back to the non-profit sector where she was Chief Operating Officer of the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, a non-profit developing youth through music and theatre.  In 2012 she became Chief Programs Officer for ACCESS, the largest Arab-American human services agency in the country.