2017 Conference Keynote Presenters



 Anne Headshot - Square 1 1800 x1800 USEAnne Holton has devoted her career to serving as an advocate for families and children. Ms. Holton graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, subsequently earning her J.D. from Harvard Law School, where she met her future husband, Tim Kaine.

Following graduation from law school, Ms. Holton served as a law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Robert R. Merhige, Jr., in Richmond, Virginia. From 1985 to 1998, she worked as an attorney for the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society. From 1998 to 2005, she served as a Judge on the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court for the City of Richmond. Ms. Holton was chief judge of the court from 2000 to 2003. She resigned from the bench following her husband’s election as Governor in December 2005.

As First Lady, she launched her signature initiative, “For Keeps: Families for all Virginia Teens,” which helped Virginia find and strengthen permanent families particularly for older children in foster care or at risk of entering care. This work led Virginia to efforts that resulted in a dramatic increase in successfully placing and/or keeping at-risk children in permanent families.

In 2013, Ms. Holton served as director of the Great Expectations program, an initiative that helped young people exiting foster care pursue higher education through the Virginia Community College System. From 2014 – 2016, she served as Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Virginia. In July 2016, Ms. Holton resigned from the position when her husband, Tim Kaine, was asked to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate. Anne spent the summer and fall of 2016 traveling the country in support of the Clinton-Kaine campaign.

Ms. Holton has received many awards and honors for her work, including the YWCA of Richmond’s “Outstanding Woman of the Year in Law” in 2006 and the Annie E. Casey Foundation Families for Life’s “Award of Distinction” in 2008.



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John L. Jackson, Jr., is Dean of the School of Social Policy & Practice and Richard Perry University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Jackson received his BA in Communication (Radio/TV/Film) from Howard University and his PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University. He spent three years as a junior fellow at the Harvard University Society of Fellows, and four years teaching in Duke University’s Department of Cultural Anthropology and Center for Documentary Studies. He is the author of Thin Description: Ethnography and the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem (Harvard University Press, 2013); Racial Paranoia: The Unintended Consequences of Political Correctness (Basic, 2008); Real Black: Adventures in Racial Sincerity (University of Chicago Press, 2005); Harlemworld: Doing Race and Class in Contemporary Black America (University of Chicago Press, 2001); and Impolite Conversations, co-written with Cora Daniels (Atria/Simon & Schuster, 2014).

As a filmmaker, Jackson has produced a feature-length fiction film, documentaries, and film-shorts that have screened at film festivals internationally. Before becoming Dean, Jackson served as Senior Advisor to the Provost on Diversity and Associate Dean of Administration in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.



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Molly Tierney is the Director for the Baltimore City Department of Social Services where she manages the City’s child welfare and public assistance programs. Over the past eight years, she championed a reform effort that dramatically improved the impact of services to vulnerable citizens of Baltimore, including reducing the number of children in foster care by 69%.

Ms. Tierney created a business model for the agency that is now considered a national model for modern social services. She joined the Department after 20 years in the field of social services including managing human services reform in Chicago and in Washington DC.

Ms. Tierney holds a masters degree from Loyola University and is a fellow with the Annie E. Casey Foundation. She lives in Baltimore with her family.