PRESS RELEASE: Alison Townley Joins Citizen Schools California as Executive Director as its Footprint Expands

CONTACT:  Holly Trippett, Citizen Schools, 617-695-2300 x1161 or 301-452-3904,  



The Nonprofit Will Serve More Schools in the Bay Area this Academic Year

September 12, 2013 – Redwood City, CA – Citizen Schools announced today that Alison Townley has joined the organization as Executive Director of Citizen Schools California.  Citizen Schools partners with middle schools nationally to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities through academic mentoring and skill-building apprenticeships. The California program partners with schools in East Palo Alto, Oakland, Redwood City, and San Jose.

Townley brings deep organizational leadership and educational experience to Citizen Schools’ work in California, with a long and illustrious career in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors. Her past experience includes marketing and brand strategy positions at L’Oreal, Core Group, Inc., Chevron and Dreyer’s, and she most recently served as the Executive Director of Playworks, an Oakland-based national nonprofit. Townley, a two time Olympian in the sport of rowing, earned her undergraduate degree at Harvard University, where she studied social anthropology and psychology. Townley joins Citizen Schools with a personal passion for closing the opportunity and achievement gaps between the high and low income kids in our community.

“I'm excited to join the Citizen Schools California team that has guided thousands of underserved Bay Area students on a path to success in middle school and beyond by providing a unique combination of enhanced expanded learning time and apprenticeships with professionals,” said Alison Townley. “The organization leverages the best of its public and private partnerships to achieve measurable outcomes and change kids’ lives.”

Citizen Schools’ California footprint recently expanded when it launched partnerships at Joseph George Middle School in San Jose and Ronald McNair Middle School in East Palo Alto.  The partnerships extend the learning day by three hours, augment classroom teaching, and introduce Citizen Schools’ unique mentorship and apprenticeship programs. Joseph George Middle School launches the organization’s partnership with Alum Rock Union School District. The longer school day at both middle schools will serve the entire sixth grades and smaller cohorts of seventh and eighth graders at Ronald McNair Middle School.

In the expanded hours, students will receive academic support from AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows, participate in skill-building apprenticeships, and take an English Language Arts “academic league” aimed at raising proficiency. The hands-on apprenticeships offer enriching learning experiences taught by volunteer professionals, or Citizen Teachers, from across the Bay Area who share their expertise and passion in engaging ways.

This year, the organization will also offer more AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows a pathway to receive their teaching certification during their two years of service with the program. Through a partnership between Citizen Schools and the Reach Institute for School Leadership, eight AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows at Joseph George Middle Schools are working toward their single subject teaching credentials in English or Math. They will lead instruction in the extended learning day, and co-teach with experienced teachers in the morning, as well as attending subject area Professional Development with Alum Rock District teachers.

Nationwide, Citizen Schools is launching nine Expanded Learning Time (ELT) programs this fall, including programs in East Palo Alto and San Jose. The organization aims to increase the number of students who benefit from an expanded learning day and further validate Expanded Learning Time as a turnaround strategy for consistently low-performing schools.

About Citizen Schools

Citizen Schools is a national nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities. Citizen Schools mobilizes a team of educators to teach real-world learning projects and provide academic support, in order to help all students discover and achieve their dreams. For more information, please visit