Kealy Schroeder knows just how big of an impact a great after-school program like Champions can have – she’s lived it firsthand. Before joining the Champions team nine years ago, Kealy herself was enrolled in her local Champions afterschool program, the same program she now leads.
“Her time in the program had a significant impact on her passion as an educator and leader in the field,” said Gretchen Yeager, Director of Quality and Accrediation for Champions.
Gretchen isn’t the only one who’s noticed Kealy’s leadership skills. Kealy was recently named one the Next Generation of Afterschool by the National Afterschool Association.
“It feels pretty surreal to get this kind of attention,” said Kealy. “I really do love what I do.”
Kealy is now a Champions Area Manager in Cook County, Ill. She’s also her region’s Quality Team Leader, meaning she sets the standard for what high quality before-and-after school care looks like in her region, and helps other Champions staff through webinar trainings and coaching opportunities.
“Kealy’s dedication to supporting others to create meaningful moments with their students and her engagement with families, students, teachers and clients is evident in all she does,” said Gretchen. “We are so proud of her.”
The Champions team has celebrated Kealy’s leadership throughout her career. She was named Area Manager of the month four months in a row and was tapped to help implement a STEM-based summer camp program.
See Kealy’s feature in Afterschool Today magazine here, or read the transcript below.
During my time in afterschool, I have strived to empower the next generation. Empower them by providing a safe place to be their authentic selves; a place to be free from judgement and the confines of a traditional classroom. A place to become who they were meant to be. My hopes for the programs I work with is to be a place of learning and to support students’ social and emotional development. In created a learning rich environment, everyone benefits — the students and the teachers. Nothing brings me more pride and passion than to see the children realize their full potential. I hope that I can continue to engage youth and help them on their journey to become who they were meant to be!”