- STRIVE NETWORK
Jeff Edmondson is the Managing Director of Strive, a national cradle-to-career initiative that brings together leaders in Pre-K-12 schools, higher education, business and industry, community organizations, government leaders, parents and other stakeholders who are committed to helping children succeed from birth through careers.
Edmondson most recently served as executive director of the Strive Partnership in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, a partnership of postsecondary, K-12, business, philanthropic, non-profit, and civic organizations in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky aimed at increasing educational aspirations, achievement, and attainment of students throughout the region. The Strive Network was formed using lessons learned from the development of the partnership, and are currently being applied in cities across the country through a collaborative relationship with Living Cities and the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities to help ensure resources in these regions are efficiently and effectively supporting the success of every child. He also served as the foundation officer for KnowledgeWorks Foundation. In this role, Edmondson was responsible for assisting the President & CEO by leading and providing support for priority initiatives, communicating on the vision and strategies of the Foundation locally and nationally, and managing the relationship with the Board of Directors.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Edmondson served as a Program Assistant at the 21st Century School Fund where he conducted research, published papers, and wrote legislation on local and national policy issues related to school facilities. Edmondson also worked as the Peaceable Schools Coordinator at Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, the largest public secondary school in Washington, D.C. In this role he was an advocate for teachers and students in the school; built partnerships between the school, organizations and businesses in the community to improve student outcomes; and trained students and staff in mediation and other alternative conflict resolution techniques.
Edmondson has a bachelor’s of science in biology from the University of Richmond and a master’s in public policy from Johns Hopkins University. In addition, he served as a volunteer and supervisor for three years in Peace Corps Gabon, Central Africa.
Jennifer C. Blatz is the Director of Partner Engagement and Advocacy for Strive, a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks. Blatz manages Strive’s national partnerships and works to develop an advocacy strategy and policy agenda for the work. Strive is helping to catalyze cradle to career partnerships throughout the country through the creation of a national network and provision of the on-ground technical assistance to communities.
Blatz most recently served as Director of Operations of the Strive Partnership – Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, which is a unique partnership of education, business, nonprofit, philanthropic and civic leaders in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region. Prior to her work with Strive, Blatz served as the Executive Director of the Ohio College Access Network. Blatz also served as Program Officer for College & Career Access at KnowledgeWorks.
Blatz earned a bachelor's degree, summa cum laude, in English from the University of Kentucky, and a master's degree in college student personnel from Miami University.
Blatz is active in her community as a member of the Junior League of Cincinnati and a mentor to a studen at Withrow High School. She is a member of the YWCA Rising Star Class of 2003, a graduate of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s Volunteer Leadership Development Program, and was named one of the Cincinnati Business Courier’s “Forty Under 40” in 2006.
In her role as Director of Knowledge and Innovation for Strive, Rebecca produces field-building information that synthesizes learning at the local, state, and national level, partners with external evaluators and communities to increase quality, and generates resources to support cradle to career collective impact, including the Strive Student Success Dashboard and Community Impact Report Card tools.
Rebecca joined Strive after twelve years with the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati where her collaborative strategy and grant-writing results drove the ascent of CincyAfterSchool and Community Learning Center recognition from its genesis in 2004 to a leading position in both afterschool and full service community school movements. In addition to school-community partnership, Rebecca helped launch collective impact initiatives focused on health via CDC-funded Community Transformation, Pioneering Healthy Communities, and Communities Putting Prevention to Work partnerships. She also served as a Service Learning Mentor and Pew Civic Engagement Fellow for YMCA of the USA, Rebecca has also served as Vice President at the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati, an adjunct college professor, and an elementary and high school teacher.
She earned a BA in Politics and Public Policy from Goucher College and a law degree from University of Cincinnati College of Law. A member of the inaugural class of c-change, the Cincinnati Business Courier selected Rebecca for the Forty under 40 Class in 2007. In 2011, the Kentucky Out of School Time Alliance named her to the Kentucky Out-of-School Hall of Fame with the Policymaker Award. The Center for Education Policy and Leadership at the Richard W. Riley Institute at Furman University named Rebecca a Riley-White-Peterson Fellow in 2012.
Colin Groth is the Director of Strategic Assistance at Strive, a national initiative working to build the cradle to career civic infrastructure in communities to identify, sustain and scale what works. The son of a public school librarian, Groth has always been passionate about the improvement of educational outcomes for all young people.
Before joining Strive, Groth served as the Government Relations Director for Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority where he oversaw the organization’s government affairs, served as liaison to elected officials and government bodies and developed relationships with local business and civic groups to advance public transportation issues.
Groth holds a B.A. in Communications (Interactive Communications Processes) from The Ohio State University where he also completed the Goodlinks Non-profit Management Internship program. He is a graduate of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s C-Change leadership development program and the City of Cincinnati’s Citizen’s Government Academy, an alumnus of 40 under Forty awards for both the Cincinnati Business Courier and Mass Transit Magazine and an Eagle Scout (Troop 502).
Jennifer Perkins is the Associate Director for Collaborative Action at Strive, a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks. As the Associate Director, Perkins provides strategic assistance to communities throughout the country working to implement the four pillars of the Strive Framework. This support includes providing real time support and coaching to communities working to improve educational outcomes for their students.
Perkins joins Strive from L’Oreal USA where she served as a Scientist managing a qualitative consumer testing department. She has a B.A. in Sociology from Kenyon College in Gambier, OH and holds a M.A. in Higher Education from the University of Michigan. She has previously worked as a teacher’s assistant in an elementary school, a market researcher and as a graduate assistant for the University of Michigan’s Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program.
Jennifer enjoys travel and has lived in 14 different cities including Maastricht in the Netherlands and Tuebingen in Germany.
Carly Rospert is the Knowledge Management Associate for Strive, a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks. Rospert manages lessons and knowledge learned from the many communities doing this work and codifies this information into resources and visuals to share with the Network. She also contributes to innovative tool development that helps provide accelerated means across the framework to help communities better achieve cradle to career milestones. Rospert has a special interest and skill in using simple, visual graphics to communicate complex concepts effectively.
Rospert earned a bachelor’s of Urban Planning degree at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, summa cum laude, where she was an office member of the Planning Student Organization and avid volunteer. She is currently a tutor for Rothenberg Elementary and a 5 year veteran of community beautification efforts across Cincinnati.
Kelly D. Robinson is the Cradle to Career Network Associate for Strive, a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks. As the Network Associate she works to support the more than 80 communities who have joined the Cradle to Career Network to date. This support includes handling general Strive inquiries, managing the Site Readiness Assessment process, planning and execution of Network events, with special focus on the Annual Convening, the planning and facilitation of Network workgroups and general Network communications.
Kelly joins Strive from Children, Inc. where she served as a Mayerson Service Learning Initiative Coordinator. Before Children, Inc., Kelly held communications positions at The Center for Closing the Health Gap in Greater Cincinnati and Powers Agency. Kelly has a B.S. degree in Broadcasting from Belmont University and a M.A. degree in Television, Radio & Film from Syracuse University.
Kelly is active in her community as a committed volunteer with Give Back Cincinnati, membership director for Give Back Beyond Cincinnati which focuses on national/international service travel and as a board member of the Avondale Community Council.
Alicia Suguitan-Morrow is a Project Manager at Strive. As a project manager, Alicia both supports Network development and manages Strategic Assistance relationships. For the Network, she primarily supports network tasks forces as well as assists with the development of curriculum. For Strategic Assistance, Alicia manages relationships with existing and potential Strive sites and builds the capacity of communities to develop their civic infrastructure.
Prior to joining Strive, Alicia served as an AmeriCorps member at Madison West High School in Madison, Wisconsin where she worked with students in academic need, connecting them with support and guidance. During this experience Alicia developed a passion for improving the education outcomes for all students. Alicia still volunteers as a tutor at Madison West High School.
Alicia graduated Summa Cum Laude with Highest Honors from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning with a Bachelor’s of Urban Planning. There, she served as an officer of the Planning Student Organization, participated in the Honors Scholars program, conducted an undergraduate research project as a grant recipient and worked and studied abroad in both Recife, Brazil and Amsterdam, Netherlands.
In her role as Executive Assistant for Strive, Linda Brandin supports the Managing Director, the Director of Knowledge and Innovation and the Director of Partner Engagement and Advocacy while also managing effective communication for the Strive team. Her daily responsibilities include scheduling, providing logistical support, overseeing record documentation and building/maintaining prompt follow up for the team.
Prior to joining Strive, Linda was the tour coordinator for New Tech Network. In that role, she coordinated tours and showcases on behalf of the 23 demonstration sites, was responsible for lead development, and provided support to professional training events, national meetings and marketing/communications. Other professional credits include Volunteer Manager for the Cancer Support Community, retail sales and early childhood education. Linda has a BFA in Theatre Arts from Ithaca College and has several professional acting credits including a starring role at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.