Bela Shah Spooner, Program Director, Education and Expanded Learning, Institute for Youth, Education and Families (IYEF) 

Bela’s portfolio includes working with cities to increase access to afterschool and summer learning, citywide partnerships between cities, schools, and community-based organizations to support student success, and increasing postsecondary access and completion leading to workforce success. 

For over 17 years, she has worked at NLC helping over 50 cities create citywide afterschool and summer learning systems, develop community schools, and impact local, state, and federal policy.  Bela speaks nationally about expanded learning opportunities as equity strategies to catalyze policy, program, and practice change. She launched NLC’s Afterschool Policy Advisors Network (APAN) in 2005, a national peer-learning network of senior municipal leaders focusing on afterschool programs, and has supported the growth of its Mayors’ Education Policy Advisors’ Network featuring the nation’s largest cities. Bela has helped to raise millions of dollars in private philanthropic support to sustain and grow the work. She has authored various publications on municipal leadership for afterschool and hosted dozens of statewide municipal summits on afterschool and expanded learning. Bela also supports cohorts of cities working in collaboration with their postsecondary institution and business partners to address students’ basic needs to enable them to attain a postsecondary credential.

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