All good things come to an end. Chaucer said this in 1374. It remains true today. So it is with both excitement and sadness that we share the news that after 13 years with the Forum, Nicole Yohalem, our intrepid director of field building, will be leaving to play out our mission at the local level.
After Labor Day, Nicole will begin directing Seattle’s new opportunity youth initiative, aimed at reconnecting disconnected 16- to 24-year-olds with education and work. Seattle/South King County is one of 21 sites recently funded by the Aspen Forum on Community Solutions through its Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund. Nicole’s work will be a special initiative of the Road Map Project – a collective impact initiative that is staffed by the Community Center for Education Results. Nicole will remain an important part of the Forum’s extended family, as the Forum is a convening partner of Aspen’s Opportunity Youth Network and several of the Ready by 21 communities that we work with are part of the same cohort.
With endings come new beginnings. We are thrilled to announce that after Labor Day, Elizabeth Partoyan will join the Forum as a senior fellow to take on some projects in which Nicole had been involved. These relate primarily to expanded learning opportunities and bridging research with policy and practice. Those of you who know Elizabeth know how lucky we are to have her join us: She brings K-12 and youth development credentials, and has relationships and experiences that will allow her to continue and expand the Forum’s reach.
Between Elizabeth’s arrival, as well as the continued work of Alicia Wilson-Alhstrom (Nicole’s partner in crime on many field building efforts over the years) and Thaddeus Ferber (who is increasing his involvement in our efforts to bridge research and policy), we are confident we can maintain the high standards that Nicole set. Still, we will miss her calm constancy and the influence she had on our daily rhythms, even from her perch across the country in Seattle.