About Us

Our Staff
  • Betsy Brand

    Executive Director
    bbrand@aypf.org

    Betsy Brand has served as the Executive Director of AYPF since 2004, and she served as Co-Director of the organization since 1998. Betsy has spent her career working on education, workforce, and youth policy and specializes in comprehensive approaches to helping young people be prepared for today’s careers, lifelong learning, and civic engagement.

    Betsy’s education policy career started when she served as a Legislative Associate for the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor from 1977 to 1983. She subsequently served with Senator Dan Quayle as a Professional Staff Member on the U.S. Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee from 1983 to 1989, where she handled all federal education and training legislation. In 1989, Betsy was appointed Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education, under President George H.W. Bush, where she worked for four years. From 1993 to 1998, Betsy operated her own consulting firm, Workforce Futures, Inc., which focused on policy and best practices affecting education and workforce preparation.

    Betsy has a B.A. from Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA and serves on various boards, including the Center for Occupational Research and Development, Latin American Youth Center, and Diploma Plus.

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  • Loretta Goodwin, Ph.D.

    Senior Director
    lgoodwin@aypf.org

    Loretta Goodwin, Senior Director, joined the American Youth Policy Forum in 2007. Her focus is on high school reform, and she oversees field trips and speaker forums on youth policy issues. Ms. Goodwin is experienced in middle and high school reform, experiential education, and international education.

    In South Africa Ms. Goodwin began her education career as a middle and high school teacher. At The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars in Washington, DC she served as the program manager for international programs, as well as the faculty coordinator. From 2000 – 2004, she worked as the national co-director of Turning Points, a comprehensive middle school reform initiative. In this capacity, and during her work at the Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement, she provided technical assistance, professional development and resources to teachers and principals. Ms. Goodwin holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cape Town, master’s degrees from Wesleyan University and the University of Washington, in History and Political Science, and a PhD from Princeton.

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  • Garet Fryar

    Policy Research Assistant
    American Youth Policy Forum
    gfryar@aypf.org

    Garet Fryar joined the American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) as the Policy Research Assistant in March 2014.  Her projects focus on investigating policies, practices, and research to promote success for all youth ages 14 to 26 in postsecondary education and the workforce. Garet’s most recent projects included transitional support for youth formally in foster care, competency based education, expanded learning opportunities, and pathways to postsecondary education and the workforce for disconnected youth.

    Prior to joining AYPF, Garet interned at the Children’s Defense Fund’s national office. In this role, she focused primarily on child poverty, gun violence involving children, and the cradle to prison pipeline. Garet has also worked in direct service with children and youth through positions at The Children’s Home in Winston-Salem, NC and at Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp and Retreat Center in Fort Valley, VA.  She continues to work with children through her volunteer and advocacy work with the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project in Southeast Washington, DC.

    Garet holds a double Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. She is a native of Columbia, SC.

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  • Samuel Halperin

    Founder and Senior Fellow
    shalperin@aypf.org

    Founder and Senior Fellow, has held leadership positions in academia, the federal government, a foundation and non-profit organizations for over 40 years.  Former President of the Institute for Educational Leadership; Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare; and a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association, where he worked on U.S. Senate and House of Representatives committees dealing with major education legislation, he has served as Study Director of Youth and America's Future:  The William T. Grant Foundation Commission on Work, Family and Citizenship (responsible for major studies: The Forgotten Half: Non-College Youth in America and The Forgotten Half: Pathways to Success for America's Youth and Young Families).

  • Jennifer Brown Lerner

    Deputy Director
    jlerner@aypf.org

    Jennifer Brown Lerner joined American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) in 2005.  Currently, Jennifer serves as a Deputy Director, managing the organization’s work on wide range of issues that ensure all students graduate ready to succeed in college and careers.  At AYPF, she co-authored a compendium on best practices in secondary-post secondary learning options entitled The College Ladder: Linking Secondary and Postsecondary Education for Success for All.

    Prior to joining AYPF, Jennifer worked as a classroom teacher and communications officer for a number of schools in the Boston area.  Additionally, she was active in the creation of a Summerbridge (now Breakthrough Collaborative) site in Atlanta, Georgia.

    Jennifer received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and her MA from Teachers College, Columbia University. She also participated in the Education Policy Fellow Program at the Institute for Educational Leadership in 2005-06.

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  • Stephanie Lurz

    Database Administrator
    slurz@aypf.org

    Stephanie joined AYPF in 2012 as the part-time Database Administrator.  She is responsible for ensuring the accuracy of all organizational data.  Stephanie worked in fundraising and development for nonprofits and political action committees in Washington, DC for ten years before returning to her hometown, Baltimore, to attend law school.  She began working on her Juris Doctor at the University of Baltimore in the fall of 2011, where she is a member of the Student Bar Association.  She plans to pursue a career in public interest law.   Stephanie has her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

  • Erin Russ

    Program Associate
    eruss@aypf.org

    Erin Russ joined AYPF as a Program Associate in 2013.  Her projects focus on policies and practices that enable a continuum of success for all students from K-12 to postsecondary and the workforce.

    Prior to joining AYPF, Erin served as Education Initiatives Fellow with The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region in Washington, D.C. In this role, she partnered with the Prince George’s County, Maryland community to focus on issues related to education including dropout prevention, parent engagement, early childhood services, and college and career readiness.  Erin also previously served as an intern in the Department of Education’s Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development.  She taught middle and high school Government and Economics for five years in North Carolina and Virginia.

    Erin holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from Anderson University in South Carolina and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Public Policy at George Mason University.

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  • Andrew Valent

    Program Associate
    avalent@aypf.org

    Andrew Valent is a Program Associate who joined AYPF in September of 2011. Andrew primarily focuses on Afterschool and Expanded Learning initiatives that support students’ academic achievement as well as social and emotional development. His most recent work has involved events related to academically-oriented afterschool programs, city-wide afterschool networks, and equity-focused alignment of high school and postsecondary education.

    Prior to joining AYPF Andrew assumed a number of roles at Centronía, a local community-based organization over the course of several years. After working with the summer and afterschool program during college, he began work with DC Bilingual, the public charter school within Centronía as the full time music teacher, orchestrating school-wide performances and providing school day music classes as well as an afterschool guitar club and choir. Andrew then transitioned out of the classroom and into policy through a fellowship with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), where he helped inform LULAC constituents of federal and state education policies that affected Latino students and English Language Learners.

    Andrew holds a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Pennsylvania State University and a Master’s degree in International Education from George Washington University

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  • Christine Wilson

    Finance, Administrative and Human Resources Manager
    cwilson@aypf.org

    Christine Wilson first joined the American Youth Policy Forum as a summer intern in 2002.  After a year of working for the company, she was hired as a Program Assistant, providing assistance in both the program and administrative areas of the organization. In conjunction with her studies, Christine left AYPF to pursue a career in the legal field and began work as a Legal Assistant in the IRS Chief Counsel Office.  Christine rejoined AYPF in 2006 as the Administrative Officer, and is the main point of contact for the company’s accounting and human resource matters. Christine holds an Associate’s degree in Paralegal studies, and is actively pursuing a B.A. in English.

AYPF gets me inside schools and programs in a way that allows me to ask policy-related questions and hear the questions others are asking. 

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