Conference Speaker Biography
Social Policy Action Network
Kathleen Sylvester is director of the Social Policy Action Network (SPAN), a non-profit intermediary that promotes effective social policy by transforming the findings of research and the insights of front-line practitioners into concrete action agendas for policymakers. SPAN builds public support for ideas through clear messages for the public and the news media.
Previously, Ms. Sylvester was vice president for domestic policy of the Progressive Policy Institute, where she directed the institute's work in a variety of domestic policy areas, including family policy, education, and governance. Ms. Sylvester served as a consultant to Vice President Gore's National Performance Review and she advises federal, state and local officials on a variety of domestic social issues. She serves on the Board of Visitors of Georgetown University's Graduate Public Policy Institute and is a founder and past president of Jobs for Homeless People of Washington, D.C.
Ms. Sylvester began her professional career teaching in New Haven, Connecticut and also worked as a community organizer on a South Dakota Indian reservation. She spent the next two decades as an award-winning journalist and was a senior writer at Governing, the leading national magazine of state and local public policy, which she helped found in 1987. She also reported for NBC News, National Public Radio and The Washington Star and has contributed to numerous publications including The Washington Post, USA Today, Newsday and Policy and Practice.
She is the author of Preventable Calamity: Rolling Back Teen Pregnancy (1994), Second Chance Homes: Breaking the Cycle of Teen Pregnancy and Reducing Teen Pregnancy, A Handbook for Action. Most recently, she wrote Seeking Supervision: Second Chance Homes and the TANF Minor Teen Parent Living Arrangement Rule.
Ms. Sylvester earned an undergraduate degree from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and a master's degree from Wesleyan University. She also studied at the Yale Law School and spent a year at Stanford University as the recipient of a John S. Knight Fellowship.