Grateful for the Contributions of This Out-of-School-Time Workforce Pioneer

October 17, 2022

gannettAfter more than 40 years of dedicated service, Ellen Gannett, Senior Strategist and former Director, retired from The National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) at Wellesley College at the end of September. Her contributions to the field are numerous and her presence as a leader and advocate for professionals in the out-of-school time (OST) field and the youth they serve will be missed. As Ellen shifts to more time with her grandchildren and walks on the beach, we reflect back on some of the “firsts” for the OST field in which she played a critical role:

  • First national standards for quality, developed in partnership with the National School Age Child Care Alliance (now NAA) in 1994 as part of a National Improvement and Accreditation System.
  • A groundbreaking system-building effort,  the MOST (Making the Most of Out-of-School-Time) Initiative, launched in 1995 in Boston, Chicago, and Seattle, taking a multi-level approach to solving school-age care needs.
  • First national core competencies for afterschool and youth development professionals, adopted by NAA in 2011 (now known as Core Knowledge, Skills, and Competencies for OST Professionals).
  • First evidence-based standards to foster healthy-eating and physical activity in afterschool programs, created in 2011 by the founding members of the Healthy Out-of-School-Time Coalition (HOST) (which included NIOST along with the YMCA of the USA and the University of Massachusetts-Boston).


NIOST celebrates Ellen, the deep personal relationships with her we all cherish, and all of her professional accomplishments this week with a small gathering of current and former colleagues and her family. Congratulations on your retirement, Ellen!


    "NIOST has been an anchor for numerous school age care projects we do, including ASQ (After-School Quality) and Links to Learning. They are a nationally respected organization that Pennsylvania has partnered with for over 20 years."

    – Betsy O. Saatman, TA Specialist/SAC Initiatives, Pennsylvania Key

    "NIOST was a core partner in supporting the development of quality improvement systems across the nine cities that participated in The Wallace Foundation Next Generation Afterschool System-Building Initiative. The NIOST team worked well with other technical assistance partners in the initiative, always willing to pitch in and collaborate with others to make our professional learning community meetings a team effort. I truly hope the Foundation has an opportunity to partner with them in the future."

    – Priscilla M. Little, Initiative Manager, The Wallace Foundation


    "NIOST has been a leader in the out-of-school time field for as long as I can remember, and I have relied on their research, tools, and advice to improve my practice throughout my career. Their staff members are good partners and good listeners, and their influence across the country is palpable."

    – Jane Quinn, Vice President and Director of National Center for Community Schools, Children's Aid Society

    "Georgia Hall, Ellen Gannett, and the NIOST team have been instrumental in driving the healthy afterschool movement. Their dedication to quality practice, informed policy, and collective impact is instrumental in our effort to create healthier communities."

    – Daniel W. Hatcher, Director, Community Partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation

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The National Institute on Out-of-School Time

A program of the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College

Wellesley Centers for Women
Wellesley College
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481-8203 USA
Directions to NIOST

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