Center for the American Child

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Americans must provide the next generation with the resources and understanding necessary for their own journey as citizens. The America First Policy Institute (AFPI) will advance policies to promote the social, emotional, and physical health of children. From improving our Nation’s foster care system to addressing neonatal abstinence syndrome, to incorporating character education and social emotional learning, AFPI will not fail our next generation and will provide a guiding light for a brighter future!

The Honorable Kellyanne Conway Chair, Center for the American Child

Kellyanne Conway is from Atco, New Jersey, and serves as the Chair of the Center for the American Child at AFPI. For nearly 4 years, Conway served as Assistant to the President and Senior Counselor to the President at the Trump White House, working on a range of issues affecting domestic and global policy. She also served as Campaign Manager of the come-from-behind victory of Trump-Pence 2016, making her the first woman in U.S. history to helm a presidential campaign successfully. She is the Founder and former President of The Polling Company, Inc./WomanTrend, a privately held, woman-owned corporation she operated from 1995 to 2016. She has appeared on various media outlets, including ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, HBO, Comedy Central, MTV, and Fox News Channel. Conway holds a law degree, with honors, from George Washington University Law Center and completed her undergraduate studies at Trinity College and Oxford University. Most recently, she started a new business, KAConsulting LLC, which provides clients advice, polling, and media training. Her memoir was published in Spring 2022. She is a mom to four amazing kids.

Catharine Cypher Deputy Chief of Staff; Chief Of Staff, Constitutional Litigation Partnership; Advisor, Center for the American Child

Catharine Cypher is a Hilton Head Island, South Carolina native, but calls Fenton, Michigan, home and serves as Deputy Chief of Staff; Chief Of Staff, Constitutional Litigation Partnership; Advisor, Center for the American Child at AFPI. Cypher most recently worked for First Lady Melania Trump as Special Assistant to the President and Director of Media Affairs. Cypher also spearheaded many policy projects, including the First Lady’s 19th Amendment Centennial Anniversary engagements and her “Be Best” policy engagements within the issue areas of foster care, opioids/neonatal abstinence syndrome, and children’s well-being. Previously, Cypher worked for Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, where she served as Special Assistant to the President and Director of External Affairs. Cypher also worked at the law firm Hogan Lovells, for U.S. Senator David Perdue, and served as the National Political Director at the College Republican National Committee. Cypher graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies from Grand Valley State University. Growing up, Cypher was a top-3 nationally ranked equestrian and a member of a multi-national championship water ski team. She has carried on those passions into adulthood and enjoys spending her free time riding horses and spending time with her family on the lake in Michigan.

“There Comes A Time When One Must Take A Position That Is Neither Safe, Nor Politic, Nor Popular, But He Must Take It Because Conscience Tells Him It Is Right.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Alexandra Kirschbaum Director of Operations

Alexandra Kirschbaum is from Macon, Georgia, and serves as Director of Operations at AFPI. Kirschbaum most recently worked at the Republican National Committee (RNC), where she assisted with election integrity efforts and campaign finance. Before her time at the RNC, she worked for the Executive Office of the President, serving in the Office of White House Counsel, the Office of the Chief of Staff, and White House Personnel. As as intern, Kirschbaum worked in the White House Office of Management & Administration. She graduated magna cum laude from Mercer University in 2019, double majoring in Political Science and German and minoring in Communications. She also served as Class President for three years on her university’s Student Government Association. In her spare time, Kirschbaum enjoys fitness, playing tennis, and traveling to Georgia to spend time with her family.

“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father, who is in heaven.”

Matthew 5:16

Allison Schuster Communications Specialist and Policy Advisor, Center for Education Opportunity; Center for the American Child

Allison Schuster is from Clarendon Hills, Illinois, and serves as a Communications Specialist and Policy Advisor to the Center for Education Opportunity and the Center for the American Child at AFPI. Schuster earned a degree in politics and journalism from Hillsdale College. Following her graduation, Schuster participated in a year-long research fellowship with Hillsdale College in Washington, D.C., where she conducted research and coordinated media for professors, particularly Mollie Hemingway and Matthew Spalding. Schuster is a regular contributor and former intern for The Federalist, and a current columnist for The Conservateur. Her reporting largely focuses on cultural and social issues such as gender ideology, education, and religious liberty. In her spare time, you can find Allison running around D.C., playing tennis, or re-reading “The Catcher in the Rye.”

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Proverbs 31:8-9

Laurie Todd-Smith, Ph.D. Director, Center for Education Opportunity & Director, Center for the American Child

Laurie Todd-Smith, Ph.D. is originally from Phoenix, Arizona, but has lived in Mississippi for over 25 years. She serves as AFPI’s Director of the Center for Education Opportunity & Director of the Center for the American Child. Dr. Todd-Smith was appointed by President Trump to serve as the Director of the Women’s Bureau at the United States Department of Labor. During her tenure at the Women’s Bureau, she focused the agency on issues of childcare, paid family leave, and grants to support women in apprenticeship.  Prior to her work with the United States Department of Labor, Dr. Todd-Smith served as Senior Education and Workforce Policy Advisor to Governor Phil Bryant. She led numerous legislative efforts to help improve public education in Mississippi including: The Literacy Based Promotion Act, Early Childhood Education, Charter Schools, Special Needs Education Scholarship Account, and accountability models for school districts, all of which resulted in improved outcomes for Mississippi’s students. Dr. Todd-Smith is also the former executive director of the Mississippi State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB) and the State Childhood Advisory Council (SECAC). Dr. Todd-Smith is a former elementary school teacher and holds a doctorate in education from Mississippi State University, a master’s degree from Western New Mexico University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona. Dr. Todd-Smith is a 2-year breast cancer survivor.  She is an avid college football fan and enjoys boating at Lake Caroline, MS with her husband, Ron, and adorable Yorkie, Max.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Nelson Mandela

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