Focus on Freshmen - Los Angeles
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Rebecca Dedmond & Penny Paine
Freshman Transition Leadership Institute

Rebecca Dedmond and Penny PaineRebecca Dedmond

Founded in 2004 by Dr. Rebecca Dedmond, the Freshman Transition Initiative is a grassroots effort addressing the critical need for classroom-based, comprehensive guidance. A passionate champion for creative solutions to redesign challenges, Dr. Dedmond and her team of experts have worked for more than a decade to stem the rising tide of dropouts at both the high school and college levels.
Housed in The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development’s School Counseling Program, the Freshman Transition Initiative developed a definitive set of Standards for a Freshman Transition Course and the 10-step Plan for implementing a systemic Freshman Transition initiative for whole-school redesign and school retention.

Among her many professional accomplishments, as the Career Counseling Supervisor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Dr. Dedmond established a comprehensive career guidance and counseling model. She also served two terms as president of the National Consortium of State Career Guidance Supervisors and led the group in various leadership and research projects that are still implemented around the nation.

She was tapped by the World Bank to establish Comprehensive Career Centres in Ghana in West Africa and, before joining GWU, she was the School to Work Director for the Territory of the United States Virgin Islands. Dr. Dedmond was recognized by the National Career Development Association with the 2013 Professional Development Award and honored for Outstanding Service in 2014. She received the Outstanding Service Award for counselor educators from the Washington, D.C. Counselors Association in 2013​, and the National Career Development Association Presidential Award for Outstanding Service in 2016.

In addition to numerous articles and briefs, Dr. Dedmond co-authored​ The Project Planning Guide for Implementing a Freshman Transition Initiative used in Freshma​n Tr​ansition Leadership Institutes. Dr. Dedmond works closely with school systems that are tackling freshman transition initiatives and provides personalized technical assistance for their planning efforts. Through ongoing partnerships, she continues to impact the national conversation about freshman transition​ and career readiness. She serves on the Advisory Board to 13 national business and education organizations to require and prepare a credentialed career facilitator for every high school in the nation, as well as a credential that prepares teachers to infuse career readiness concepts into their curriculum.  Responding to an outcry for earlier Career Readiness, Dr. Dedmond co-authored the Middle Level Transition Standards (2013).

Penny Paine

Penelope (Penny) Paine, trainer, consultant, author, and former Gender Equity specialist for the State of California, is sought after as a speaker because of her experience with comprehensive guidance programs, nontraditional occupations, and special populations. Armed with British charm and an all-American "can do" spirit, Penny has trained or consulted in nearly every state in the union. Her past contracts include: California Department of Education, California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office, Girls Incorporated, TIAA CREF, the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, and the national Business and Professional Woman USA. 

A graduate of the University of London, she has created educational publications and programs and authored twelve children's picture books. In addition to many state educational publications for California, she co-authored The Project Planning Guide for Implementing a Freshman Transition Initiative, which is used in Freshman Transition Leadership Institutes.

Penny brings a national perspective. In addition to her work with the national office of Girls Incorporated, she was instrumental in developing and facilitating the national "Women Helping Girls with Choices" program with Business and Professional Women USA. Her expertise on gender-related topics and practical experience in collaborative partnerships with community-based organizations brings an added dimension to her presentations.

Penny is particularly adept at guiding schools in the change process. She has worked with teachers of all disciplines and with schools in the process of integrating or restructuring curriculum.