Employee's Stories Archives - The Children's Guild

Experience our Transformative Year in Special Education in Our 2023 Annual Report

2023 was an inspiring year for special education at The Children’s Guild. We witnessed our students overcome hurdles and achieve academic and personal milestones. Our partnerships with foundations, government partners, donors, volunteers, and community organizations helped us provide individualized transformational experiences for the children and families we serve. Explore our successes in special education from 2023 in our recently released Annual Report.

The dynamic look of this digital presentation helps illustrate the innovative things that are happening across our organization. The stories in this year’s report highlight our educational philosophy in action in our schools and programs with a specific focus on our special education expertise.

Our incredible year was made possible through the support of our partners and donors. They helped us advance our mission and increase our organization’s capacity to do more. Their belief in our mission, trust in our organization, and generous contributions have been instrumental in helping children, families, and communities thrive.

As we continue to build on the positive impact from 2023, we are committed to breaking down barriers, inspiring change, and building a world where every child can realize their potential. Be inspired with us as you dive into this presentation: TCGAnnualReports.org/2023

Bryan Daniels, Principal Of The Children’s Guild Dc Public Charter School Named Finalist In The Washington Post Principal Of The Year Award

Bryan Daniels, Principal of The Children’s Guild DC Public Charter School was named a finalist in the Washington Post Principal of the Year Award.  Bryan’s nomination was submitted to the DC Public Charter School Board (DC PCSB), an independent government agency of the District of Columbia, which provides oversight to 134 public charter schools, who selected Bryan as their finalist. According to the submission, Principal Bryan Daniels is a dynamic leader who has earned the respect of both staff and students throughout his 21-year tenure by creating a nurturing and productive learning environment. He is a firm believer in fostering a culture of excellence and creativity and is constantly looking for new ways to engage and inspire his students.

Each year, The Washington Post recognizes Washington metropolitan area educators who exemplify excellence in their profession. The Principal of the Year Award aims to recognize principals who go beyond the day-to-day demands of their position to create an exceptional educational environment for their staff and students.

I have had the privilege of working closely with Bryan over the years, and I can attest to his exceptional leadership skills and dedication to the students and staff of our school.  We congratulate Bryan on being named a finalist by the prestigious Washington Post.  It is nice for others to recognize what we who work with him already know.

~ Jenny Livelli, President and CEO, The Children’s Guild


“Congratulations to The Children’s Guild for naming Bryan Daniels, a great candidate for the Washington Post Principal of the Year award! We were so excited and #DCCharterProud to submit Bryan Daniel’s information to The Post and thrilled that he was named a finalist,” said a spokesperson for DC PCSB.

One of the key ways in which Principal Daniels inspires excellence is through his focus on student achievement. He sets high expectations for his students and encourages them to strive for their best. He also provides them with the resources and multiple supports they need to reach their full potential through individualized classroom support, curriculum programming, and dynamic wrap-around services. Every Wednesday, the entire school participates in professional development. This year’s instructional focus was on small group instruction and teacher intellectual prep. Through his leadership, the school has seen a significant increase in academic performance and a decrease in disciplinary issues. During the recent school year, 10% of students scored a 4 on the PARCC exams and over 70% of students met their iReady growth goals.

“When you walk through the doors of The Children’s Guild DC Public Charter School, it feels like family. Bryan kicks off the day at his morning staff meeting with music pumping to lift your spirits, a welcoming smile, and a message that reminds each of us why we chose to serve children and families. Bryan then moves out of the way to allow his staff to deliver their message and “shout outs” adding to the positive start to the day. On hard days, Bryan comes in with his head held high making sure that his staff know that they come first. He keeps it real; he doesn’t shy away from hard moments in the lives of those in the building but rather wraps his staff with support necessary to be prepared for the students that will shortly arrive,” said Jenny Livelli, President and CEO, The Children’s Guild. “I have had the privilege of working closely with Bryan over the years, and I can attest to his exceptional leadership skills and dedication to the students and staff of our school. We congratulate Bryan on being named a finalist by the prestigious Washington Post. It is nice for others to recognize what we who work with him already know.”

“When Bryan learned that The Children’s Guild had decided to open a charter school specializing in serving special education and regular education in the DC community, he was ecstatic and accepted a leadership position. Bryan grew up in DC and attended school in DC, so he had always hoped his career would provide him with the opportunity to give back to the community that had raised him so well. Bryan’s deep commitment to connecting with the local DC community is remarkable. He is passionate about ensuring that equitable access to education is available to all students and has prioritized building solid partnerships with community organizations and local leaders. His persistent determination to positively impact the student’s lives in the District is truly inspiring,” said Elizabeth Garcia, MSSA, MNO, LCSW-C, Chief People Officer, The Children’s Guild.

Businesses Benefit From Apprenticeship Programs, Too

Instead of focusing on how apprenticeships change lives and help people find themselves, how about what they can do for those companies and organizations that take them on? Today, many employers in tech, healthcare, and other industries are building their workforce with the help of apprenticeship programs.


Proven in carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and other trades historically, apprenticeships are now working for hospitals, cyber companies, IT and networking firms, manufacturing, finance, and more. All have complex workforce challenges and must keep up with the demands of rapid advancements, and apprenticeship is a best practice for recruiting, training, and retaining skills and talent.

Transportation, health care, hospitality, and food sectors have had the highest numbers of job openings in 2022. Every state feels the impacts of worker shortages. Hiring apprentices have become a practical solution for many organizations’ needs.


Apprenticeships are a proven recruitment strategy for home-grown talent in a tight labor market and are usually good news stories for companies.

But apprentices also attract others with their success, paying success forward by hiring other apprentices as they climb the ladder. In September, the Biden-Harris Administration launched the Apprenticeship Ambassador Initiative, formalizing this ripple effect through a national network of more than 200 employers and industry organizations, labor organizations, educators, workforce intermediaries, and community-based organizations committed to strengthening and diversifying apprenticeship.


With a Master’s in Forensic Science and High Technology Crime, Shayna wanted a career in tech. But she found that the IT industry looks for industry-recognized certifications, most of which are expensive and time-consuming. Shayna had a family to support. By working and learning through pre-apprenticeship training and two other apprenticeship programs, Shayna now runs the IT and computer labs and works with students at St. Francis Neighborhood Center, a nonprofit group in Baltimore. Her community feels the ripple, as Shayna identifies other talents, reaches back, and helps bring others along on their own career journeys.

“Shayna’s like a one-woman recruitment ad for us,” says Torbin Green, Executive Director of the St. Francis Neighborhood Center. “Finding and retaining people in the local community is the best road for us to grow.”


The Children’s Guild’s TranZed Apprenticeships is a nonprofit registered provider that sponsors and manages apprenticeship programs in several occupations across the country, such as IT, cyber security, healthcare, and education. Registered with the US Department of Labor, programs are all approved for curriculum, rigor, and quality.

Working with other current and former apprentices has fostered a real sense of community among the St. Francis team. Upper management and more tenured team members are eager to help and support new apprentices because they have been in their shoes themselves.


Through TranZed, The Children’s Guild works with employers to understand their hiring needs and recruit candidates who meet their skills and company culture. Apprentice candidates are driven, eager to learn, and ready to work. TranZed experts are always available to help employers, associations, and employees when needed, and help employers build, register, and sponsor programs. TranZed also manages record-keeping, progress tracking, and compliance management, taking that load off employers.

The program helped Shayna big time. In partnership with Baltimore Cyber Range, TranZed Apprenticeships prepped and covered the expenses of both the CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications for her, opening industry doors and many new opportunities.


“Apprenticeships are a crucial component to closing the skills gap and are rapidly becoming key additions to the modern workforce,” says Erin Finnegan-Smith, Managing Director of Workforce Development for The Children’s Guild.

Since its launch in 2016, TranZed has expanded its offerings from IT and Cyber to Education and Healthcare. TranZed has placed and supported the placement of an increasing number of apprentices across the country by managing and consulting with other employers, associations and organizations looking to sponsor programs.

“Tried and tested for decades, the apprenticeship model works, and non-traditional companies are opening their eyes to upscaling and building their workforce today rather than buying it,” says Finnegan-Smith.


The Children’s Guild and TranZed Apprenticeships are celebrating the Eighth Annual National Apprenticeship Week from November 14-20, 2022. During this nationwide celebration, industry, labor, equity, workforce, education, and government leaders host events to showcase the successes and value of apprenticeship in rebuilding the economy, advancing racial and gender equity, and supporting underserved communities.

Apprenticeship is a proven, industry-driven training model, providing a vital pipeline of talent that can help to address some of America’s pressing workforce challenges such as rebuilding our country’s infrastructure, addressing critical supply chain demands, supporting a clean energy workforce, modernizing our cybersecurity response, and responding to care economy issues.


An official website of the US Government, ApprenticeshipUSA is an industry-driven career pathway where employers develop and prepare their future workforce, and individuals obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, and a nationally-recognized credential. Another is American Job Centers, where people can search for jobs, find training, and answer other employment-related questions.

Employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow 15% through 2029, faster than all other occupations. Find out how TranZed can help with CNA pre-apprenticeship and Patient Care Technician programs >

Want to learn more? [email protected]

Justin Geno Williams – Teacher, Digital Media

Justin started at The Children’s Guild Alliance in 2017 school year as a Therapeutic Behavioral Aide and is currently a teacher of digital media to The Children’s Guild School of Baltimore. He has also served as a resource teacher and physical education teacher.

The best part about working at The Children’s Guild Alliance is being able to witness daily real life superheroes in action.  I eagerly come to work, and it’s without fail that I leave inspired by the diverse groups of people coming together for the same mission of educating our are youth.  Personally, I love working at a place where the power is in the present, and not the past or future.  We pride ourselves on not letting the negativity of one day leak into the next.  It’s important that the kids know that they aren’t being judged on all their past discretions but instead given a chance to learn and contribute on that day alone.  I can honestly say that the majority of my professional growth has come from this concept.  I’m excited to stay with The Guild because I know that whatever my future passions will be, there will be a position that The Guild will not only put me in, but help me thrive in.  The potential for upward mobility in such a diverse organization is exactly why I’ll be here for the long hall.

Beletiah Wheagar – Treatment Foster Care and Family Life Educator

Beletiah started working with The Children’s Guild Alliance in May 2018 as a Treatment Foster Care/ Family Life Educator intern and was hired as a Family Life Educator in December 2018 following her internship.

The child-centered and person-centered mindset set is what I truly enjoy about working for The Children’s Guild Alliance. The Guild does not only encourage growth for youth through meeting them where they currently are; but encourages professional growth for all their employees through CEU opportunities and trainings on the human brain, providing further insight on brain development. As well as the professional development opportunities, I have also met amazing individuals while working with The Guild, who have been welcoming and always willing to lend a hand.  

Lauren Sibiski – Outpatient Mental Health Clinician

Lauren started work at the Children’s Guild Alliance in 2018 as a school-based Outpatient Mental Health Clinician. She also works once a week at Staffa House, one of our therapeutic group homes, to provide group therapy to the students who reside there. 

There are many reasons why I love working for the Children’s Guild. I love the balance of supervision and autonomy while providing mental health services in the school setting. Supervisors are always available to help, but also allow you to find the modalities of treatment and interventions that work best for you and your clients. I also love the level of care and support that I am able to give to my clients by having an office in their school. I have also been afforded opportunities to provide therapeutic services in other settings such as the group homes, allowing me to continue to grow professionally. Finally, I feel that The Guild has created a culture where employees are genuinely cared about and cared for, which as a new clinician is something that was important to me. 

We are encouraged to share our opinions, to practice self-care, to continue our education in our field, and we are provided quality support from supervisor. In my time with The Guild, I have found my confidence as a school-based clinician.