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Training Collaborative welcomes new Coordinator, seeks strategic planning consultant

Grow Smart and its Land Use Training Collaborative partners welcome Jodi Castallo as our new Training Coordinator. Jodi, who earned a BS degree in Biology from Bucknell University and an MS in Environmental Studies/Planning from Antioch New England Graduate School, brings extensive experience in program coordination, workshop development and assisting local communities with land use issues. She and her family live in Barrington.

One of Jodi’s first tasks will be managing a strategic planning process and the development of an evaluation instrument for the Collaborative. “The Land Use Training Collaborative has been delivering training for 10 years now,” noted Sheila Brush, Grow Smart’s Director of Programs. “Over those years, the state and individual municipalities’ development pressures and needs for land use training have changed, and the Collaborative partners are working with restricted budgets. The Collaborative views the strategic plan and evaluation instrument as important actions for ensuring that we all use our resources as effectively as possible to meet current capacity-building needs.” The initiatives are supported by the Rhode Island Division of Planning – Statewide Planning Program with funding provided by the US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration.

Grow Smart will release an RFP the week of September 24th for a consultant to work with the Collaborative partners on the strategic planning process and evaluation instrument. Consultants interested in applying are encouraged to go to the Grow Smart home page at to view the RFP.

Jodi takes over the position from Lauren Pendergast, who had served as Training Coordinator for almost four years. Lauren has “retired” temporarily to enjoy time at home with her young family. Sheila Brush stated, “Everyone involved with Grow Smart and the Land Use Training Collaborative greatly appreciated all that Lauren did. During her tenure we were able to make a number of advances, including the revamping of our core programs for municipal boards and commissions and the development and delivery of a series of workshops for the Healthy Places by Design program.”