Get to know Isabelle Mussard

In September, we announced the hire of CalSAC’s new executive director. As we enter the next phase of our transition plan, we’re excited for the field to get to know Isabelle Mussard. We invite you to read the message below from Isabelle and to meet her at the Passing the Torch celebration on October 17th. Can’t make it? View events in 2020 here


I am humbled to have been selected as the next servant leader for CalSAC, an organization that embodies my commitment to youth and families and my social justice ethos. To understand where the values that guide me come from you have to know a bit about my childhood.

Isabelle’s mom.

Isabelle’s mom.

I grew up in San Francisco as the only child of a single parent with limited English and an eighth-grade education. Her resilience shaped my determination to further my formal education so that I could become a more effective advocate, and access to high quality educational and enrichment programs helped to make it possible. I went to graduate school and became a public school teacher because my mother was not allowed to finish middle school. I went to law school because I wanted to more fiercely parlay knowledge in the service of the homeless families and marginalized youth I worked with. 

Isabelle’s life partner, four kids, and uncle and his husband who raised her as a teenager.

Isabelle’s life partner, four kids, and uncle and his husband who raised her as a teenager.

I spent 25 years learning how to best honor, heal with, and advocate for the people in the immigrant, multiracial, gay and lesbian headed households and communities that raised me. I eagerly accepted positions that allowed me to authentically connect with and support youth and families. I became an afterschool director because the memories of being a latchkey kid are still vivid and I have led afterschool programming, trained providers, and collaboratively developed youth driven programs.  

Isabelle’s twins.

Isabelle’s twins.

My experience as a Youth Development Policy Director and then as a nonprofit CEO have honed my abilities to effectively lead organizations, teams, and strategic initiatives with meaningful input from youth, providers, management teams, boards and community partners. I have learned to tap into all the available resources - programs, campaigns, policies, procedures, budget, staff, communities - to further the mission of an organization. As a servant leader and parent of four, I am driven by the desire to play my part in dismantling White supremacy and I strive to always examine myself and my work through a social justice lens.

Our communities deeply deserve the authenticity, passion, experience, and commitment that Ruth gifted CalSAC. I am fiercely determined to bring my full and best self to the work to honor the community leaders that came before me, honor the purpose of CalSAC and, most importantly, honor the youth, families, and communities I am joining CalSAC to serve.

I am thrilled to join the CalSAC staff team on October 14th and to begin to build relationships and lead together with the CalSAC community! 

Isabelle with Ruth, CalSAC’s outgoing executive director.

Isabelle with Ruth, CalSAC’s outgoing executive director.


Isabelle Mussard, Executive Director
California School-Age Consortium

We Did It!

Hello CalSAC Community,

Hiring an executive director of a nonprofit is by far one of the most important responsibilities of a board of directors. When I became the president of the CalSAC Board of Directors, I had no idea I would be leading during such a historic transition. It has truly been an honor and I am humbled to serve an organization that I care for so deeply and that I have benefited from as a CalSAC Trainer.

I am delighted to share that we have hired our next executive director! Our quest to find the new executive director was guided by an exemplary values-aligned transition plan and we executed a thorough search process that led us to the leader who will continue the legacy of the country’s oldest out-of-school time professional development organization.

As you may recall, in February we announced that, after over a decade, Ruth Obel-Jorgensen would be leaving CalSAC. As part of our deep commitment to ensuring that a diverse representation of our field informed the transition, we convened a search committee of board members and staff and conducted a stakeholder survey. Over 100 individuals participated in the survey - shaping the job profile, interview, and selection of our new executive director. We received nearly 200 applications for the position and our search committee narrowed that pool down to three dozen top candidates - eventually finding the one! This hire begins the final phase of our executive transition process, where we will be “passing the torch”. We could not have done this without the support of our CalSAC community!


We are profoundly grateful to everyone who has joined us on this quest and want to thank our search committee members, survey respondents, staff, and board members for sharing their time and talents so generously. We thank our constituents – trainers, fellows, and advocates – and our funders and partners for their unwavering support, patience, and encouragement during this important time. And, last but not least, we thank Amari Romero-Thomas, our consultant, for guiding us along the way.


Now, without further ado, I’m honored to announce the next executive director of the California School-Age Consortium - Isabelle Mussard! In October Isabelle will introduce herself, sharing more about her background and what drew her to CalSAC [view message here]. In the meantime, we’re excited to share a few highlights about this powerful woman. Isabelle brings over two decades of experience in the nonprofit sector along with a law degree and experience in youth development, policy, and executive leadership. We are inspired by her fierce commitment to equity and community building that echoes that of CalSAC, her authenticity, and deep self-awareness. We are impressed with her ability to discern complex strategy and her experience leading teams as a trusted partner toward a shared vision.

On behalf of the CalSAC Board of Directors and Staff team, I invite you to join us in welcoming Isabelle to the CalSAC community! The first opportunity to meet Isabelle will be at the Training of Trainers Institute on October 17th in Palo Alto. Register to attend the social here and please save the date for other opportunities to meet Isabelle in 2020!

ruth boost.jpg

The passing of the torch will begin on October 14th when Isabelle joins the CalSAC team. Ruth is working with the board and staff to prepare an intentional onboarding plan and will work alongside Isabelle to ensure the final phase in our transition is a success. In early November, we say farewell to Ruth and invite you to join us in honoring Ruth by signing our virtual farewell card! We hosted a wonderful farewell to Ruth at BOOST 2019 that was sponsored by Cypherworx. You can view videos from the event here.  

We began this transition process guided by a quote from Victor Hugo - “Change your leaves, keep intact your roots”. We have done exactly that and hope that you will feel the same as you get to know Isabelle in the months ahead. Together we will continue to build upon the historic legacy of CalSAC!

In community,


Femi Vance, President
CalSAC Board of Directors

Trump Proposal to Recalculate Federal Poverty Level Will Hurt Millions of California Children

Trump Proposal to Recalculate Federal Poverty Level Will Hurt Millions of California Children

First 5 Association of California, First 5 California, and First 5 LA today announced their opposition to the Trump Administration's proposal to recalculate the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)--a plan that could disqualify struggling children and families from programs like food stamps (SNAP), health insurance (CHIP), and quality early learning programs (Head Start).

Update on CA Governor Newsom's Revised Budget Proposal

The Governor released his updated budget proposal today and there is no mention of any increased funding for ASES. This is disappointing, but we are still hopeful. When we secured the $50 million in 2017, it also wasn't included in the Governor's budget proposal. It was funded because legislators made it a high priority. This is why it’s imperative that we continue to act and make sure our legislators know about the importance of afterschool.

Here is the official statement from the California Afterschool Advocacy Alliance (CA3) Steering Committee:

CA Budget: Statement on Missing Afterschool Funding from Youth & Family Advocates

May 9, 2019 — Today, California Governor Gavin Newsom released his revised state budget proposal. The California Afterschool Advocacy Alliance issued this joint statement in response:

“This budget, meant to support working families, has a disappointing and harmful blind spot: the underfunded afterschool programs that nearly 400,000 working parents already depend on for child care. If we don’t protect afterschool programs by adequately funding them, we are taking a step backward in our state’s effort to make sure children get quality child care and parents get the help they need.

“Afterschool programs have endured years of underfunding by cutting their services and the number of students they serve. Without action this year, many programs will be forced to close their doors. We call on the legislature to act and support low-income, working families by saving our state’s afterschool programs.”


  • Championed by leaders in both parties, including Gov. Newsom during his term as mayor of San Francisco and during his gubernatorial campaign, California’s publicly funded afterschool programs serve hundreds of thousands of students daily.

  • Publicly funded afterschool programs operate in communities with the highest levels of poverty. They improve school attendance and graduation rates, develop workforce skills, prevent crime and substance abuse, and enable low-income parents to work by filling a critical child care need.

  • Afterschool programs are stretched to their breaking point after years of rising costs. Each time the state minimum wage increases without additional funding from the state, afterschool programs sink deeper into deficit. Since 2007, the state minimum wage has increased 50 percent, but funding for afterschool has only increased 9 percent.

  • A $112.8 million budget request to sustain afterschool programs is before the legislature, as well as two bills: AB 1725 (Carrillo) and AB 1085 (McCarty).

About the California Afterschool Advocacy Alliance

California Afterschool Advocacy Alliance (CA3) is the statewide voice for expanded learning (afterschool and summer) programs. It is the coalition behind the Save Afterschool Campaign and represents the interests of the half a million children, youth, and their families that rely on publicly funded expanded learning programs throughout California each day.

CA3 Steering Committee Members

After-School All-Stars, Los Angeles; arc; Bay Area Community Resources; Boys & Girls Clubs of Carson; California School-Age Consortium; The Children's Initiative; California Teaching Fellow Foundation; EduCare Foundation; Heart of Los Angeles; LA's BEST Afterschool Enrichment Program; Partnership for Children & Youth; Think Together; Woodcraft Rangers; YMCA of San Diego County

Wendy's Story

Wendy's Story

At the 2019 California Afterschool & Summer Challenge, LA’s BEST alum, Wendy Ruiz, spoke to a crowd of over 200 people about the importance of afterschool. As someone who benefited from the sanctuary of afterschool growing up and is currently a parent of two, Wendy has benefited from these programs both in the past and in the present.

CalSAC's Executive Transition

CalSAC's Executive Transition

Our board and staff have designed a transition process that aligns with CalSAC’s values and culture and we intend to make this a collaborative and thoughtful process that will stand out as a model for the field. In the spirit of transparency, we invite you to review our executive transition plan below and encourage you to connect with us throughout the process. Gathering input from our community is an important component of our process and we hope that you will participate in our stakeholder survey to inform the future of the organization and this important hire.

A Message from Aleah

Dear friends and colleagues,

Reflecting on my years of memories, I am humbled by the supreme love, commitment, talent, and passion of the people that make up the out-of-school time field.

As many of you know, my connection to CalSAC started a few years before I joined the staff team. I can’t help but relate the feeling of stepping into a new transition as I am now with the feeling that seems to come up when you are about to facilitate your 5 Minutes of Fame at the Training of Trainers Institute, or walk in to a room full of strangers at the LDI Opening Retreat, or open your mouth to speak with your legislator at the CA Afterschool and Summer Challenge.


I think of the words of Maggie Kuhn: “Stand before the people you fear and speak your mind - even if your voice shakes.” I’m positive my voice shook during each of these moments. Yet, it is the feeling of being encouraged, seen, and heard by the community surrounding me that I remember most, and what drove me to find my role with the CalSAC team. It is with this same sense of support and empowerment – and slowly breaking down the walls of fear – that I make the leap into a new opportunity and make way for others to create these experiences for the field.

During my five and half years at CalSAC, I have been most proud of:

  • growing the Leadership Development Institute fellowship to a network of over 100 alum across California, and developing partnerships to fill in gaps of equity-centered leadership development in the OST field and beyond;

  • empowering CalSAC Trainers to hone their skills as facilitators, mentors, and technical assistance providers with a network that is unmatched across the state and country;

  • expanding the advocacy and organizing capabilities of youth workers to drive change in their communities;

  • and helping amplify the courageous and bold vision that CalSAC dreams is possible for young people, families, and the OST workforce.

I am inspired by the CalSAC team, and am confident that the talent, commitment, and love that they bring to the work everyday will usher in new possibilities for the organization, while maintaining the strengths and uniqueness of our programs.

It has been a long and fulfilling journey, and now I am ready to bring my voice and advocacy for the people of the OST field in a new way. In my role with the Foundation for California Community Colleges, I will help address the needs of the expanded learning workforce by bridging partnerships, strategies, and initiatives that work, and advancing the workforce development goals of the Expanded Learning Division’s Strategic Plan 2.0.

Recently, at the Site Coordinator Symposium, I heard a site lead say, “I live and breathe afterschool, I want to retire in afterschool!” I felt alive in that moment, knowing that I will be helping to move that statement closer to a reality.

I have never felt this connected, challenged, or aligned. I look forward to standing with you and voicing what matters, even if our voice shakes. Together, I believe we can ensure a more just and equitable California for young people, and for the thousands of adults that grow with them.

In community and gratitude,