F. Brain Building Boot Camp

The down and dirty for building stronger childhood brains. It is our responsibility!


Synovia Moss

Synovia Moss is the program director for the Child Advancement Network (CAN) and Vroom Wisconsin Initiative at the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) focused on narrowing the achievement gap in southeastern Wisconsin. She leads the charge to introduce Vroom, a national initiative of the Bezos Family Foundation, and the importance of brain science in communities focused on how the science is reaching parents, strengthening their skills and empowering both organizations and parents for collective impact.

She brings to her position over two decades in leading large-scale community engagement initiatives specializing in urban populations at organizations including the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, Milwaukee Area Technical College, California State University at Fullerton, Anheuser-Busch and IBM.

Her business acumen for program management, marketing and grass-roots community engagement spawned from her work with the National Council of Negro Women, the largest African-American women’s organization in the U.S., as the Los Angeles regional coordinator of the Black Family Reunion Celebration. Under her leadership, she executed strategic marketing and fundraising events that resulted in attendance soaring from 300,000 to 900,000 attendees over three years and corporate sponsorships increasing over $1 million annually with 2,000 volunteers and 100+ community groups and agencies. Synovia was tapped by civil rights icon Dr. Dorothy I. Height and took the helm as the national director of the Black Family Reunion Celebrations, held in seven major U.S. cities with 2.5 million attendees. She received a BA in political science from the University of California, Riverside, and an MA in public administration from California State University at Dominquez Hills with honors. She has recently been invited to serve as a guest columnist for the Bezos Family Foundation.

Ashley Harrell

Ashley Harrell is the center director for the Burke Early Education Center, a large program of the COA Youth and Family Centers. In this role she provides leadership to a team of educators who strive to make a difference in the field and who believe that quality early education is a key component to optimizing children’s growth, building strong families and serving the community.

Since 2002, Ashley’s passion for the early childhood field grew through her varied positions and experiences. Early on she discovered her calling for education while working at a small family child care program. Since then she has served in roles that include teacher, family advocate, instructional guide and community engagement coordinator. Her collective experiences have rooted her passions to not only fight for quality services within programs serving our youngest learners, but also for equal access for all children and families to quality services.

Ashley attributes much of her success to the guiding principles she learned while pursuing her BA degree in behavior science with a minor in early childhood education from Mount Mary University. Her love for education including her own continuing education provides direction as her service to the early childhood field continues. Ashley is currently completing post-baccalaureate coursework in early childhood leadership at UWM.