Cheryl Ross Appline

Cheryl Ross Appline earned her Master of City and Regional Planning and her Master of Arts in Public Policy and Management degrees from The Ohio State University. She earned her Bachelor of City Planning degree from the University of Virginia. Cheryl has over 20 years of professional experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors specializing in program planning, strategy development, needs assessment, proposal development, and grants administration. Cheryl is currently the Senior Director of Planning, Research, and Evaluation for Step Forward (formerly the Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland). Step Forward is a private, non-profit, Community Action Agency serving Cuyahoga County, Ohio. In her role as Senior Director of Planning, Research, and Evaluation for Step Forward, Cheryl is responsible for managing a range of activities that support maintaining as well as increasing funding for the agency’s programs and services. She is also responsible for spearheading the agency’s efforts to determine community need for its programs and services and analyzing program data to assess service quality and impact as well as providing recommendations for improvement or enhancement. Cheryl’s professional experience has informed her research interests in the areas of early childhood care and education, data-driven decision-making, urban poverty, and program evaluation. She is specifically interested in examining home, school, and neighborhood factors that impact the kindergarten readiness and early academic outcomes of children living in poverty, particularly those participating in the federally funded Early Head Start and Head Start programs, with a special focus on black boys. Prior to Step Forward, Cheryl worked as a Community Builder for the Cleveland Area Office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).