Press Release: Robbins, Stelow Griffin, and Wilkins Join Team

U.S. Department of Education’s Michael Robbins Joins Collaborative Communications Group as SVP

The Finance Project’s Shawn Stelow Griffin Named Director; Mass. Afterschool Partnership’s Nicole Wilkins Begins as Associate

WASHINGTON, DC (March 6, 2014)—Expanding its team of consultants and leaders committed to improving student learning, Collaborative Communications Group today announced that Michael Robbins, most recently a senior advisor at the U.S. Department of Education, has joined the company as senior vice president to launch a new initiative on education partnerships and technology.

At the U.S. Department of Education, Robbins led efforts, in partnership with the White House, on community partnerships to propel school improvement. He has advised and assisted leaders in education, technology and government on building community-based education initiatives. Robbins is a noted speaker on digital learning partnerships and has presented at the national Blended and Online Learning Symposium, the National Afterschool Association conference, the National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the United Way Staff Leaders Conference and SXSWedu.

“We are excited to have Michael Robbins join the Collaborative team, particularly as we accelerate our efforts on digital learning partnerships and how they can improve student learning and success,” Collaborative’s Founding Partner Kris Kurtenbach said. “Michael is one of the top thought leaders in the field in this area, and we know his knowledge, enthusiasm and impact for this important topic will be immediately felt.”

As a primary part of his work at Collaborative, Robbins will lead the launch of Span Learning, an exciting new initiative designed to build education partnerships among school, families and communities. The intent of Span is to propel student engagement and learning in cities and towns across the country through a student-centric approach fueled by technology.

“Digital learning partnerships are the next phase of the revolution to improve student learning and ensure that all students are equipped with the knowledge and supports they need to succeed,” Robbins said. “Collaborative is an industry leader when it comes to student learning and public engagement. There is no better home for Span and this new push for digital learning partnerships than Collaborative.”

Previously, Robbins served as a senior leader at The SEED Foundation, FIRST and the Shriver Center. Earlier in his career, Michael helped launch AmeriCorps.

In addition to Robbins, Collaborative also recently added two additional members to its professional team.

Shawn Stelow Griffin joined Collaborative as a director, bringing two decades of experience implementing education initiatives at the local, state and federal levels. Most recently, Stelow Griffin was Vice President of Education and Children’s Services at The Finance Project, where she developed aligned policy and systems approaches to sustaining education and social service initiatives.

She also brings experience as Team Leader of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers at the U.S. Department of Education and as Director of Youth Development for the Maryland State Department of Education. Stelow Griffin currently serves on the board of directors for the JCPenney Fund and has served on the boards of the Maryland Center for Civic Education, National Association of State Student Council Executive Directors and The AfterSchool Institute in Baltimore.

Nicole Wilkins has come to Collaborative as an associate, where she leads the Expanded Learning and Afterschool Project and bring extensive knowledge and experience with afterschool programs and policies and building networks. A member of the inaugural class of the White-Riley-Peterson Fellowship, Wilkins previously served as the senior communications and policy associate for the Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership. She has also worked for a member of the British Parliament.

“Nicole and Shawn are terrific additions to the Collaborative team and further evidence of our commitment to expand learning opportunities for all children,” Collaborative Partner Terri Ferinde Dunham said. “Collaborative’s team now boasts an impressive depth and knowledge in afterschool and expanded learning to help build capacity and networks to support the development of policies and programs for young people.”