External Advisory Board


Kenneth Anthony
Director of Professional Development and Research, Connecticut After School Network


Ken is the Director of Professional Development and Research for the Connecticut After School Network. Being in the field for the past 25 years, Ken has worked as a front line staff, site supervisor, program director, district coordinator, to his current position for the past ten years. His primary role at the Network is to oversee training, professional and leadership development, program consultation, quality advising, and support research efforts.

Published in the Journal of Expanded Learning Opportunities and Afterschool Matters Journal, Ken has also authored a chapter on Research-Practitioner Partnerships in the book The Growing Out-of School Time Field, published by International Age Press.  He serves on the editorial boards for the Afterschool Matters Journal, the Journal of Youth Development, and Information Age Publishing Out-of-School Time Series.

Ken holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in Child Development from Southern Connecticut State University; a Master’s degree in Human Services with a concentration in Organizational Management & Leadership from Springfield College, and was part of the inaugural class of White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellows. Ken completed his Doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Hartford in 2015, where he researched expanded learning practices that build sustainable relationships and partnerships between school and afterschool program staff. This is a topic that he is passionate about and has presented to state and national audiences frequently


Michael A. Rooke, Ph.D.
Northwestern CT Community College


Dr. Michael Rooke currently serves as president of Northwestern Connecticut Community College, and has served for over 10 years within the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities System.  Prior to joining NCCC, Dr. Rooke was Chief Academic Officer at Tunxis Community College in Farmington, and also served as Director of the Business, Engineering & Technologies Division at Manchester Community College.  From 1996-2003, he served as assistant and associate professor at the University of Hartford.  He holds a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from Kansas State University, an M.S. degree in Educational Technology from Long Island University and a B.Sc(Hons) degree in applied chemistry from Nottingham Trent University, U.K.. While at Manchester Community College and Tunxis Community College, Dr. Rooke recruited and advised over 200 engineering and manufacturing students, assisting them with transfer to universities.  He now works closely with local businesses in the north-west corner of CT through the chamber to align the engineering and manufacturing programs at the college with local industry.


Cheryl Tokarski
Vice President of Programs
Director of the Mandell Academy for Teachers, CT Science Center



Cheryl Tokarski is currently the Vice President of Programs at the Connecticut Science Center. Mrs. Tokarski holds a BS in Electrical Engineering as well as an Executive MBA, both from UConn.  After a career in software development and project management working at GE, Dana Corporation and Pitney Bowes as well as running her own software consulting firm, Cheryl made the transition into education.  For seven years she taught Math and Computer Science in the middle and upper schools at Chase Collegiate School in Waterbury and served as the pre-K – 12 Math Department Chair for five of those years. In 2015, Cheryl joined the Connecticut Science Center as the Director of the Mandell Academy for Teachers – a perfect role that blended her passion for education with her strong business skills – and has now moved into the position of VP of Programs replacing Hank Gruner who recently retired from the position.



Jen Widness
President, Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges

Information forthcoming!

Melissa Jones
Human Resources, UTC Research Center

Information forthcoming!

Thomas Maloney
Chief Techonology Officer, CCAT

Information forthcoming!