Our Team 2019-08-29T14:38:44+00:00

Who We Are

Our Team

The Learning Agenda is a national team of consultants with expertise in nonprofit leadership; youth learning and system development; strategic planning and organizational development; adult learning and group facilitation; research and evaluation; and program design and curriculum development. We carefully assess the requirements of each project we undertake and provide you with the ideal team to complete the work.

All of our results-focused team members are thoughtful and organized, collaborative and upbeat, and genuinely interested in expanding the knowledge and impact of the field. In addition to team members listed here, The Learning Agenda partners with other leading minds in education, youth development and research to ensure the highest quality results and products for our clients.

Great things happen when people come together, face-to-face, to solve a problem and learn from one another. As a consultant for The Learning Agenda, Ryan brings a passion for making connections rooted in the belief that together, we can make a difference in the lives of youth and their families. Ryan brings more than 10 years of experience in the nonprofit field convening networks for peer learning, professional development, and advocacy.  Her background in marketing and event management brings an attention to detail and participant experience to her project management work. Ryan leverages her experience to promote adult learning and engagement and youth voice within communities of practice.

Prior to working with The Learning Agenda, Ryan worked with the National Summer Learning Association, most recently serving as the Director of Events where she convened youth advocates from across the country for formal and informal learning opportunities.

Ryan resides in Baltimore, MD with her husband and two daughters. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from George Mason University.

Dawn provides accounting and bookkeeping services to The Learning Agenda, and supports organizational operations. Dawn founded Accurate Accounting & Bookkeeping Services in 2002, and currently works with several clients in support of their business success.  Prior to founding AABS, Dawn worked for several years in a mid-sized accounting firm in Manchester, NH.

Dawn now resides in Las Vegas, NV, working virtually with the team from The Learning Agenda.  Dawn earned her BS in Accounting from Southern New Hampshire University.

Lisa McIntyre-Hite is the lead facilitator for the Barr Foundation’s Wider Learning Ecosystem learning community. In addition to her role as a consultant, Lisa serves as a Vice President for Pathstream as of November 2018. Prior to her most recent role as the Dean for Competency-Based Education at Walden University, Lisa was a high-school principal and English teacher. She served in both traditional and vocational high-school settings and led curriculum alignment and rubric design efforts. She joined higher education as a director of program design, focused on teacher preparation and advanced degree programs. She has developed over 50 courses for teachers seeking initial licensure or seeking to advance their degrees. After developing “traditional” online and hybrid degree programs, she joined an innovative extension of Walden University focused on developing personalized, flexibly-paced, high-quality learning experiences outside of the credit hour. This led to the development of Walden University’s Competency-Based degree programs. Walden University is one of six universities accredited and approved to operate outside the credit hour and focus solely on demonstration of competency as a proxy for learning (direct-assessment CBE). Her research on competency-based education has been published by the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation and the Journal of Competency-Based Education. In addition to her current role as Dean of Competency-Based Education, Lisa serves on the Board of Directors for the Competency-Based Education Network and the American Institutes of Research National Advisory Board for Postsecondary Competency-Based Education and Learning Research. Her professional passion is rooted in the desire to take measurable steps to address inequity in educational systems and to expand access to high-quality learning experiences for every student.

Lisa holds a BS in Secondary Education and a MS in Curriculum and Instruction from Kent State University and a PhD in Education with a focus on learning innovation from Walden University.

Desiree Morales is committed to building equity in access to opportunity for young people. She brings 14 years of experience as an educator, professional development leader, and district- and community level systems builder. At Austin ISD’s ACE Austin Desiree supervised multiple 21st Century Community Learning Center grants across twenty Title I schools, where she worked with district leadership to develop new ways of using data to tell a holistic story of student success. Desiree successfully built a multi-year plan to shift the regional approach to summer learning, which included working with area funders, creating demonstration sites, and putting on a conference on summer learning strategies for Out-of-School Time (OST) educators in Central Texas. Currently, she oversees Student INC, a K-12 entrepreneurial pathway piloted by Austin ISD in a community of South Austin schools. Desiree recently participated in a year-long Cultural Proficiency & Inclusiveness initiative, where she developed new skills and deepened her commitment to transforming education spaces into culturally-responsive learning environments that help all young people thrive and grow.

While working at ACE Austin Desiree also led the Central Texas Afterschool Network (CTAN) through a convening of Central Texas youth service providers, funders, and public and private agencies to coordinate services to maximize resources and effectively serve at-risk young people and their families. This led to CTAN becoming Learn All The Time, the regional intermediary guiding a research-based approach to OST programs in Central Texas. Desiree also worked with the Texas Partnership for Out of School Time (TXPOST) to gather input on best practices from Central Texas providers, which helped create the Texas Standards of High-Quality Afterschool, Summer, and Expanded Learning Programs.

Desiree earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and linguistics from Pitzer College in Claremont, California. She is the cofounder of the Cherrywood Poetry Workshop, now in its fifth year as a reading and writing meet up for established poets in Austin, Texas. Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals in print and online.

Lisette brings more than 15 years of experience as an educator, researcher, program director, and social and emotional development leader. She thrives on building strategic partnerships and creating curricula and experiential learning activities that empower youth and support social and emotional development. Lisette began her career teaching, Math, Science, and ESL internationally in Spain, Turkey, and Mexico for six years. Lisette designed curriculum and initiated and facilitated numerous community-based experiential learning projects for students, grades 7-12. She continued her career in education as Program Director/Education Director in the after-school program and enrichment field. She worked with diverse populations, assessed student needs and interests, and collaborated with senior educators and administrators to design, oversee, and evaluate programs that engaged students and built community and family partnerships.

Lisette completed her Ph.D. in Education, specializing in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment.  Her research explored how a Bay Area educational non-profit’s summer enrichment program for preK-4 students integrated social emotional competencies into instructional activities. She prepared a comprehensive report including key findings and practical recommendations for the educational non-profit based on extensive research. Over the past year, she consulted with the Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco, supporting the organization’s outcomes measurement team. Lisette compiled, interpreted, and validated youth outcome data to support program evaluation and dissemination of findings.

As The Learning Agenda’s Managing Partner, Hillary Oravec leads projects for our foundation, school district, independent school, and nonprofit partners in the areas of strategy and program development, sustainability planning, professional learning community and network management, and research and evaluation. She brings over 15 years of experience working with summer and expanded learning programs, local and national funder collaboratives, and national intermediary organizations. Hillary is currently facilitating a learning community for the Barr Foundation’s Wider Learning Ecosystem grantees, who are leading innovative high school redesign planning projects. She also serves as the project manager and tool developer for the Wallace Foundation’s Summer Planning Toolkit website, which will feature a comprehensive set of evidence-based resources to plan and implement a large-scale summer program. She recently led strategic planning projects for the Birmingham Summer Adventures in Learning (SAIL) and Central Texas Summer STEM Investment Hub funding collaboratives, setting the vision and goals for the next three to five years in the areas of governance and administration, membership growth, structuring pooled funding opportunities, advocacy and public engagement, and data and assessment.

Hillary previously directed the National Summer Learning Association’s strategic initiatives, research and evaluation, and community system-building initiative portfolios. During her tenure, she led two high school program design-focused projects for the MacArthur Foundation on digital media and learning connections and partnerships between the New York City and Chicago Hive and district and school partners, and for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on supporting the transition between middle school and high school to improve graduation rates.  Earlier in her career, Hillary managed school accreditation and institutional research projects for Johns Hopkins University, and school, community, and university partnerships and initiatives for the P-12 Project at The Ohio State University.

Hillary received a master’s degree in educational policy and leadership from The Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and sociology from Kent State University. During her education, she enjoyed studying abroad in Yunnan Province, China, and at the University of Leicester in England.

Sarah Pitcock is a former nonprofit CEO who is passionate about telling memorable stories that generate support for important causes. As a freelance writer, editor, and consultant for nonprofits and foundations, Sarah takes a journalistic approach to help her clients get to the root of why their work matters and how to communicate that purpose effectively. Whether for fundraising, stakeholder engagement or field building, she translates research and data into impactful tools and content across multiple media. Previously, Sarah held progressive leadership roles in a 10-year career at the National Summer Learning Association, culminating as its chief executive officer from 2013 to 2016.

Sarah is a leading national expert on summer learning, authoring numerous white papers and practitioner guides, making regular presentations to state policymaking bodies, and overseeing implementation of multiple state and federal initiatives. She has served as an expert source for NPR, Education Week, Essence Magazine, and the Baltimore Sun, among other media outlets. Sarah is co-editor and co-author of the research anthology, The Summer Slide: What We Know and Can Do About Summer Learning Loss (Teachers College Press, 2016).

Kristin Romens has spent the past 20 years advocating for the safety, well-being, and educational opportunities for children. An attorney by training, her professional career has been dedicated to supporting nonprofit organizations’ strategy, growth, and learning. She currently serves as the Director of the Pew Fund for The Pew Charitable Trusts. She also serves as a Partner of The Learning Agenda, where she previously served as President and a Senior Consultant focusing on strategy development and implementation, research and program development, and organizational learning. Her greatest joy is bringing data or a fresh perspective that enables a client to see and approach a problem in a new way.

Some highlights from Kristin’s recent client engagements include: facilitating a professional learning community of the New York Life Foundation’s education grantees; developing and facilitating expert advisory boards for BELL, a national nonprofit providing afterschool and summer learning programs; developing communications, operations, and fundraising strategy for Building 21, an innovative high school network; and developing comprehensive strategic plans for several clients, including an LGBTQ advocacy organization and a New York school coalition.

Before joining The Learning Agenda, she served as Vice President of Research, Innovation, and Growth at Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, where she provided oversight and guidance to a network of 325 affiliates in the areas of program strategy and growth, research and evaluation, and professional learning. She set the research agenda and program strategy for the network, which serves almost 200,000 children annually, enabling affiliates to improve program quality at scale. Kristin’s role included grant-making within the Big Brothers Big Sisters network, where she was responsible for selecting, supporting, and convening grantees working on innovative strategies to serve youth.

Kristin also has wide-ranging experience advising nonprofit leaders as a consultant with the Bridgespan Group. At Bridgespan, she worked with nonprofit clients to develop sustainability and growth plans, professional development and performance management frameworks, and replication strategies.

Kristin’s educational background is in the social sciences and law. She holds a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and began her career as a human rights attorney. She lives in Philadelphia, where she enjoys spending time with her family, barre workouts, and karaoke (yes, really).

Chris Sweeney is a business and community leader with over thirty years’ experience with firms ranging from IBM and Oracle to smaller, entrepreneurial companies and a nonprofit agency called 3 Rivers Connect. He’s an evangelist for regional collaboration and creative uses of information and technology to drive innovation. His consulting practice is focused on advancing educational innovation in K-12 as well as nonprofit/civic sector transformation initiatives through work with leadership teams in articulating their vision and translating it into an actionable plan that can be successfully implemented.

Chris currently leads the Pittsburgh Personalized Learning Network (PLPGH), a network of 25+ school districts in SWPA to build awareness and accelerate the implementation of personalized learning strategies in the region. He formerly served as the President and COO of OnHand Schools, a mission-driven education services company that developed EdInsight, a student performance suite used by over 150 districts in Pennsylvania. Prior to his role at OHS, Chris was CEO of 3 Rivers Connect (3RC). 3RC was a civic sector agency that helped non-profit organizations use innovative technology and better information to optimize the delivery of their services and improve the lives of underserved communities in southwestern PA.

A passionate youth and community advocate, Katie’s work is rooted in her personal goals to build strong communities that provide positive opportunities for all youth and families.  As a Senior Consultant for The Learning Agenda, Katie brings over 15 years experience in the nonprofit field.  Her background in out-of-school time and youth development runs a full spectrum from working in a direct service capacity to developing and managing community programs and leading organizational development. Katie leverages her experience to support clients with program development and management, meeting planning and execution, and professional development design and facilitation.

Prior to joining The Learning Agenda, Katie worked with the National Summer Learning Association, most recently serving as the Chief Program Officer where she steered the organization’s core work and strategic development. In her time with NSLA, Katie also led the development of community and national system-building initiatives that supported program capacity building and scaling summer learning opportunities across communities.  In addition to summer learning, her expertise in youth programs includes mentoring, youth development and youth employment.

A resident of Austin, TX, Katie has lived in and worked with organizations in cities across the country including Baltimore, Boston, Madison (WI), Miami, New York City, and Sacramento.  Katie holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and communications with an emphasis in rhetorical studies and interpersonal communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

If you are interested in partnering with The Learning Agenda, contact Hillary Oravec at 570-847-8473 or hillary@agenda4learning.com.  We welcome opportunities to diversify our team and expand our network!

“The Learning Agenda team skillfully addressed our programmatic needs by uncovering evidence to help us formulate our post-secondary program and ultimately secure funding to support it. In addition to higher-level data to make the case, TLA teased out easy-to-tackle, yet critical, things that really make a difference in the personalized support we provide our students after high school.”
- Allison Blankenship , Director of the KA‘I Program, ‘Iolani School