Who We Are
Dr. Karen Hutchins
Founder and Executive Director
Karen Hutchins, Executive Director of KNS Institute (Kidz Next Stage). The desire for establishing KNS Inc. came from the passion of birthing “Karen & Son Unique Care” 30 years ago in Bellflower, CA. Through Mrs.Hutchins’ innovations and passion for youth, she has developed numerous mentoring, and academic programs in California and Delaware. These mentoring groups include Daughter of Destiny, GEMS, Next Generation of Leaders and KNS Institute. Mrs. Hutchins continues to commit her time and energy to embracing positive youth development, ensuring programs offer welcoming environments and quality activities.
During her academic and professional years, Karen Hutchins holds a B.S. in Business, from LATTC, an A.A. in Early Childhood Development; DIEEC Professional Development Certificate; Certificate in Elementary Ed with an emphasis in Math. Mrs. Hutchins worked for the Department of Social Services at an Adolescent Group Home in Long Beach, CA. She is the current owner and operator of Second Chance Financial Inc., as she mentors youth and their families in making favorable financial decisions for success.
Karen Hawes is a current Kidz Next Stage Institute Inc. board member, a non-profit organization gear towards mentoring, and educating disenfranchised youth in the local community of Dover, Delaware. In addition Ms. Hawes has been the assistant director for KNSI summer program since 2018. Ms. Hawes is also a mentor with Young Ladies of Virtue, a group that mentors young ladies ages 5-17. Mentoring young females over the age of 18 in making life decisions in regards to education, career and social development.
Professionally, Ms. Hawes holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Resource Management from Wilmington University and two Masters Degrees in middle level education and school leadership. Ms.Hawes is certified through the Delaware Department of Education in the areas of Curriculum Development, School Administration, Highly Qualified English Language Arts Middle Level Educator, and Teacher of Exceptional Children (K-12). Ms. Hawes is presently a Special Education Specialist, coaching teachers, and developing strategies to improve the academic performance of Delaware’s students. Her educational philosophy is understanding the importance of teaching the whole student, socially, emotionally, academically and culturally.
Roxann Trim currently serves as the Monitoring and Compliance Manager at Children & Families First Head Start. A proud DSU Hornet, she holds a Bachelor of Social Work and a Master of Education. Roxann is a successful leader with a solid background ripe in social services, youth engagement, and instruction. Her expertise lies in consistently using diplomacy to develop positive interactions and relationships while managing multiple complex projects, dissecting challenges, and devising creative solutions. In her free time she enjoys getting lost on one of Delaware's many beautiful trails while listening to the latest Afrobeats playlist.
Director of Social Development
Dr. Tana Connell is an instructor at KNS who teaches on social-emotional learning and development. She holds over 10 years of social work practice experience with children and families in a variety of settings including family preservation programs, residential treatment settings, and community organizations such as girl scouts.
Dr. Tana Connell holds a Ph.D. in Social Welfare and a Master of Social Welfare degree from the University of Albany in New York, and she serves as the Director of the Master of Social Work Department at Delaware State University. Her research interests include child abuse and substance abuse prevention. She is passionate about improving policies and practices that adversely impact underrepresented populations and she aims to be an advocate for those who are in need.
Director of Program Development
Maria Parham-Talley is a retired elementary principal. Mrs. Talley retired from the Clifton NJ public schools’ system after serving as principal of Clifton Public School Number 12. For 17 years. She began her career in the Paterson Public Schools as a bilingual paraprofessional in 1988. Mrs. Talley pursued a degree in African American Caribbean Studies in hopes of becoming a high school social studies teacher. She went to school at night and graduated summa cum laude in 1994 from William Paterson University. Upon graduation she was immediately recruited to teach at the elementary level which is where is she remained until 2004. Mrs. Talley went on to pursue a master’s degree in Educational Leadership also at William Paterson University. Mrs. Talley graduated once again summa cum laude and received various academic awards. Mrs. Talley accepted a position in the Clifton Public Schools where she was the first Hispanic principal in the district.
Mrs. Talley’s mantra was and always will be “knowledge is Power”. Her repertoire of experiences allowed her to respond to and develop interventions along with the invested stakeholders of the professional learning community. These interventions were research based best practices that utilized measurable data to develop smart goals and achievable strategies which address achievement gaps. Mrs. Talley is adamant believer that utilizing effective communication is the only way to empower all members of the school community in order to be effective change agents in the lives of their students.