Central Staff

Susan Bakst

Deputy Director, Marketing and Communications

Susan comes to East Harlem Tutorial Program from Ascend Charter Schools in Brooklyn where she was the director of external affairs and community outreach responsible for developing and designing marketing communications to increase awareness and build engagement. Before joining Ascend, Susan was a senior manager of New Leaders for New Schools, where she developed marketing and communications programs concerning the Effective Practice Incentive Community (EPIC)—a nationwide program that awards educators driving dramatic student achievement gains, documents their best practices in a web-based system, and produces professional development resources to build school capacity and increase student outcomes. Previously, as marketing director for HEAT USA, Susan launched business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing programs that resulted in substantial long-term growth of the consumer energy-buying group. She began her career at Symphony Space in New York City, developing strategies that would yield record attendance and ticket revenue. Susan is a graduate of Wesleyan University and Columbia Business School.

Ariana Baldomero

Coordinator, Talent Development

Ariana was born and still lives in Bronx, NY.  She received her BA in Environmental Studies from The George Washington University, but took a different route career-wise and has been pursuing human resources and talent work for the past few years. She is thrilled to be joining EHTP and looks forward to the many challenges ahead as part of the new Talent Development team.

Peter Barros

Deputy Director, College Success & School Access

Peter Barros has worked and resided in East Harlem for over two years. Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, he attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where he majored in Political Science. While at UMass, he was part of a student-led initiative that created the “Student Bridges” project, where he worked with local community-based organizations, community colleges, and neighborhood schools to extend opportunities to under-represented students from low-income neighborhoods.

Prior to joining EHTP, Peter served as the Paths to College & Careers Program Coordinator at the Hyde Square Task Force, where he was responsible for assisting 100 middle and high school students with their college and career planning, helping to ease the transition to college for 50 first year college students.

Shardane Berrien

Bookkeeper

Shardane worked in the accounting field for more than three years. She grew up in the East Harlem area and graduated from the University at Albany with a bachelor’s in accounting. She is very excited about working in the East Harlem community and learning a lot at EHTP.

Alison Blazey

Manager, Data & Research

Alison Blazey joins EHTP with a background in teaching and community development after two summers teaching in EHTP classrooms. She taught for three years at an independent school for at-risk girls in Washington DC. After returning to the Tri-State area to pursue her graduate education, Alison was involved in research around public health, education, and affordable housing in under-served urban areas.

Alison earned her B.A in Sociology and Urban Studies from The University of Connecticut. She earned her Masters Degree in City and Regional Planning with a focus on Community Development from The Edward J. Bloustein School at Rutgers University.

Gina Cairney

Associate, Communications

Born in San Diego and raised on a US Navy base in Japan, Gina moved to New York City in 2014 to study at the New School for Social Research, earning a master’s  in sociology with a focus in education issues. Before joining EHTP, she was a social media coordinator and online news producer at Education Week, a non-profit K-12 education newspaper in Maryland. Gina became interested in how educational institutions serve the community while studying at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she earned a bachelor’s  in journalism. Gina is excited about EHTP’s mission and is eager to support the organization’s growth within the East Harlem community.

Eurette Cohen

Staff Accountant

Eurette graduated from Queens College with a B.A. in accounting. She has worked for non-profit organizations for over 15 years as a Staff Accountant. For Eurette, each position has offered vast experience, exposure and a challenge in accounting. Eurette has also pursued classes in accounting and finance towards a Master’s Degree and is veteran of the United States Navy.

Marie Feltio

Coordinator, Elementary Program

Marie’s passion for working in the youth development field began when she attended her first after-school program at 10 years old. She became inspired to pursue a career in the non-profit sector as a teenager during a summer internship working as a Program Assistant for a foster care agency. Ever since her first internship, Marie has worked for various non-profit organizations across New York City with the personal goal of advocating on behalf of youth and their families. Marie graduated from the University of Phoenix with a bachelor’s in psychology and is currently completing an master’s  in mental health counseling. She is dedicated to changing the lives of youth by providing families with the tools necessary to support their children in achieving their respective dreams.

Jose German

Comptroller

Jose German has a master’s degree in Business Administration and Accounting, and extensive experience in accounting, grants management, funder compliance, and annual audits. Jose has spent more than 15 years working for nonprofit organizations in New York City and New Jersey, including organizations with educational programs, such as Sponsors for Educational Opportunity in downtown Manhattan and Cerebral Palsy of North Jersey, where he supervised contracts with 53 schools districts and oversaw the fiscal operations of two special education schools.

Jose is a certified Master Gardener, who grows many of his own vegetables (and some beautiful blooming weeds) in his backyard. He is also an environmental activist and founder of the Northeast Earth Coalition.

Tiffanie Hawes

Coordinator, Recruitment

Tiffanie Hawes was born and raised in Queens, NY. She received her Bachelors of Science in Computer Information Systems with a minor in Human Resources Management at SUNY Polytechnic Institute (formerly SUNY Institute of Technology). She has had the pleasure of working in the field of youth development for 9.5 years in many capacities prior to joining EHTP.

Taylor Hemenway

Coordinator, Development & External Affairs

Taylor joins the development and external affairs team after interning at EHTP during her senior year at Barnard College, where she was a joint political science and human rights major. A lifelong New Yorker, Taylor grew up blocks from East Harlem, informing her passion for educational equity, social justice, and public service. During college, Taylor volunteered with various non-profit organizations, and interned on political campaigns and in the New York State court system.

Veronika Hererra

Deputy Director, East Harlem Teaching Residency

A California native, Veronika comes to EHTP with more than a decade of education experience. Like our Teaching Residents, Veronika obtained her own teaching certification through an alternative certification pathway. She began her teaching career as a Teach For America corps member in Miami where she received awards for excellence in teaching. Prior to joining EHTP Veronika held both instructional and non-instructional roles at one of NYC’s highest performing charter schools.

Veronika has a degree in Gender, Ethnicity, and Multicultural Studies with a concentration in Chicano/Latino studies from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona . She also holds an M.Ed. in Childhood Education from Hunter College. She is excited to bring all of her incredible experience to the work she will do at EHTP.

Charlene Holmes

Coordinator, College Success

Charlene comes to EHTP as a committed member of the youth development world by way of Mercy College, where she studied health sciences and physical therapy. As an undergrad, Charlene developed a passion to give back to her community and began serving youth at the College Success Office, a program of the Harlem Children’s Zone.

As a college advisor, she helped many students from the inner city persist to next-level higher education and enter the work force. Charlene is currently attending St. John’s University, where she is pursuing a master’s degree in sports management.

Kadiah Kamara

Manager, High School

Kadiah Kamara joins EHTP after spending over three years in the classroom as a high school special education and science teacher. Kadiah was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire. She received her Bachelor’s in Biology at Syracuse University and Master’s Degree in Special Education at Fordham University.

Kadiah is passionate about adolescent education. As a 2012 Teach For America Alum, she taught in an alternative high school that served students that struggled with social, emotional, and legal realities. She believes that every student should have enriching activities after school and is excited about her work at EHTP.

Mollie Kazan

Director, Development & External Affairs

Mollie joins EHTP after holding fundraising positions with Jumpstart, Reading Partners, and most recently Blue Engine, where she was the founding Director of Development and doubled philanthropy within 2 years – from $2M to $4M – to support the organization’s expansion in NYC high schools. Prior to her work with Blue Engine, Mollie’s team at Reading Partners in Oakland, CA, secured a $7M capacity-building investment from the Social Innovation Fund, putting the organization on the path to national scale and moving her back to the east coast, where she opened the organization’s New York regional office.

Raised in New Hampshire, Mollie attended college in Chicago, where she volunteered every week at a public middle school serving predominantly low-income students. Upon graduating from the University of Chicago in 2007 with her BA in English, Mollie joined the team at Google in the Bay Area, but quickly realized her true passion was working to ensure that every student has access to the educational resources they need in order to thrive, and excellent public schools in low-income communities are not the exception, but the rule.

Mollie is eager to support EHTP’s growth in the coming years, and the exceptional work by staff and volunteers on behalf of scholars, their families, and the East Harlem community.

Raúl Lazo

Associate, Volunteers & Interns

Raúl was born and raised in the Bronx. He graduated from Haverford College with a B.A. in Religion, concentrating in Religion, Ethics, and Society.

After graduation, he returned to New York City with City Year New York where he was a Corps Member in a public school in the Longwood section of the South Bronx. Raúl worked with a 5th grade bilingual class and managed the school’s after-school and leadership development programs. After City Year, he worked in the office of NYC Councilmember Ritchie Torres as an intern.

As an alum of the Fordham University S.T.E.P. program, Raúl understands the important role that education and enrichment programs like EHTP play in supporting the success of young people.

Jess Lee

Deputy Director, Volunteers & Interns

Jess joins EHTP with a background in college admissions and volunteer management. After graduating, she worked in admissions at Wagner for over 4 years, gaining experience with recruitment, retention management and civic engagement. Jess is passionate about education and engagement because of her work in college admissions, experience as a children’s dance teacher and volunteer work for the Alzheimer’s Association.

With a hometown in the Hudson Valley, Jess enjoys hiking, reading and teaching dance in her spare time. She holds a B.A. In Musical Theatre Performance and MBA in Marketing from Wagner College.

Federico Levya

Building Superintendent

Nyasha Manigault

Director, Finance

Nyasha comes to EHTP with 20 years of strategic finance experience in the corporate and government sectors. After four years at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, she held challenging and senior roles on several teams at American Express. Nyasha brings not only fiscal acumen, but a genuine commitment to volunteerism and EHTP’s mission. When she isn’t working, Nyasha loves to travel (she’s has 11 Caribbean islands under her belt so far), cook (ask her about Jamaican food), and read thrillers, mysteries, and romance novels.

Manuel Mantilla

Manager, Middle School

Manuel Mantilla II, has worked in the field of youth development for many years. Born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, he attended the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he received a bachelor’s in Public Health and Marketing and Communications with a minor in Psychology, and achieved a Master’s Degree in Public Health with a focus on Healthcare Policy and Management.

Prior to joining EHTP, Manuel served as the 21st Century Baystate Springfield Educational Partnership (BSEP) Site Coordinator, providing academic enrichment opportunities and activities during non-school hours for children. He was responsible for empowering students to meet state and local student standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and math; offered students a broad array of enrichment activities, including public and allied health that complemented their regular academic programs; and offered literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children.

Manuel is passionate about EHTP’s mission and is excited to get to know and work with all the students in the middle school program to reach their highest endeavors.

Karen Martinez

Manager, Human Resources

Karen brings more than 14 years of experience to EHTP, providing leadership and guidance for all human resources operations, programs, and policies. Prior to joining EHTP, she worked at the International Rescue Committee. She is also a NY State certified dog trainer and has a history of working in animal welfare.

Jess Meller

Director, Data & Research

Jess Meller joined EHTP as Director, Data and Research in January 2016. Prior to EHTP, Jess spent 6 years at Uncommon Schools leading organization-wide data system selection, training, implementation, and support work that directly improved operation and instruction at 44 schools. She also developed data collection, quality assurance, and reporting processes that improved organizational data practices.

Jess spent several years as an elementary school teacher in Brooklyn, NY and Alexandria, VA. Jess holds a B.A. in Sociology and an Ed.M in Elementary Education from George Washington University and an M.A.in Sociology & Education/Education Policy from Teachers College at Columbia University. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.

Priscilla McKie

Manager, Social Work

Priscilla McKie has been involved in the educational field since high school (volunteering in her mother’s classroom). Desiring to gain the skills to be able to support students on a more individual level, she pursued her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Latin American Studies at Oberlin College in Oberlin, OH. Following graduation Priscilla moved to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic where she taught for 2 years. Upon returning to the U.S. Priscilla earned her M.S. from Columbia University School of Social Work, focusing on Advanced Generalist Practice and Programming with a concentration on Contemporary Social Issues.

Prior to joining EHTP, Priscilla worked in the Bronx with The Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services as a Family Therapist. With a passion for working with children and families Priscilla is excited to join EHTP and to see our scholar’s grow day by day.

Kayla McPherson

Manager, Operations

Kayla McPherson has been involved in the nonprofit and education worlds since 2008. After completing her Bachelor’s degree, Kayla worked in consumer education and engagement around New York State’s implementation of electronic health records. Prior to joining EHTP, Kayla worked individually with students in New York City public schools as a tutor. She is excited to join EHTP’s Operations Team and is proud to help this amazing organization fulfill its mission.

A California native, in her free time Kayla enjoys long walks through the city, hosting dinner parties, reading fiction, and exploring historic Harlem. Kayla holds a B.A. and M.A. from Columbia University.

Lisa Mongillo

Manager, Institutional Giving

Lisa joins EHTP after working in institutional giving for several organizations. At Grand Street Settlement, she won corporate, foundation, and government grants, raising more than $11.1 million in one year. At Christopher House, she increased the success rate of accepted proposals by 31 percent in one year and exceeded the annual goal for corporate and foundation grants by 37 percent. She has supported organizations during periods of tremendous expansion and re-branding. Lisa grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. She earned her B.A. at William & Mary, where she studied marketing, economics, and art—and got her first taste of working with nonprofits. She is passionate about making it possible for all children to have the opportunity to succeed and pursue their dreams. When she isn’t fundraising, Lisa writes musical theater, comedy, and fiction.

Christina Morales

Associate, College & Career Readiness

Christina comes to EHTP with a B.A. in English Language, Literature, and Criticism from the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College, and an Ed.M. in Human Development and Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to attending graduate school, Christina worked as a Program Coordinator (Research) at The Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center, and as a Tutor/Counselor at Fordham STEP.

Christina previously volunteered with EHTP in high school and participated in the EHTP-Hunter College peer mentoring program while at Macaulay. She’s exited to work anew with EHTP scholars.

Evan Namerow

Deputy Director, Recruitment

Evan joined EHTP in March 2016 after holding recruitment positions at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Repair the World, where she oversaw recruitment, admissions, and talent development for the organization’s post-college fellowship in education justice and food justice. Prior to that, she spent five years in marketing at a variety of nonprofit organizations.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Evan has lived in NYC since attending Barnard College, where she earned a BA in Spanish and Latin American Cultures and a minor in Dance, and graduated summa cum laude.  As a recipient of the Robert J. Milano Scholarship, she completed a Master of Science in nonprofit management at The New School, with a concentration in marketing and communications.

Evan is thrilled to be at EHTP and building a talented team to support scholars’ success and the organization’s mission.

Julio Negron

Coordinator, Recruitment

Julio currently lives in Astoria, Queens. He grew up in Washington Heights and was born in the Dominican Republic. He attended the City College of New York, majored in Sociology and graduated in 2012 with a BA degree. He has been working in the field of after-school programming since he was a teenager, most recently in the role of program director/manager for over 4 years with 82nd Street Academics and New York City Mission Society. During this time, he also served as a Big Brother for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of New York City.

Orlando Ortiz

Building Superintendent

Lyanne Santana

Coordinator, Human Resources

Before joining EHTP, Lyanne worked as a human resources representative with World Business Lenders, a private business lender located in Jersey City, NJ. She was also a receptionist and later, an office manager, at the Company, where she gained valuable experience and knowledge that inspired her to pursue a career in HR.

In addition to working as an HR representative, Lyanne volunteers to teach bible classes, and enjoys her hobby as a makeup artist. She also has a passion for traveling and animals, and is bilingual in English and Spanish.

Yrene Santana

Coordinator, Operations

Yrene joined EHTP with a great belief in education and its ability to change the lives of low income students. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from CUNY Hunter College, and is currently working on her Master’s degree in School Counseling. Prior to EHTP, she was working at an International non-profit organization called The Legion of Good Will, which also focuses on Education and bettering the lives of children living in poverty.

Yrene has done community service with low income families in Brooklyn and she looks forward to working with the families and children of East Harlem. Overall she is very excited to become a part of the operations team, and support an organization that is truly invested in its students.

Gisell Sierra

Associate, School Choice Programs

Gisell started her career as a bookkeeper in the Fashion District, but soon realized she wanted to do something more meaningful. She began working in the non-profit field and worked her way up from bookkeeper to program manager.

After joining EHTP in 2011, she became the Associate for School Choice. Gisell ensures that each family has the necessary tools and support to navigate through the middle school and high school application process.

Kerri Soucy

Associate, Grants

In addition to teaching in the OST program since February of 2012, Kerri also took on the role of Project Manager for the East Harlem Scholars Academy II application from April through June of 2012. Prior to joining EHTP, Kerri was an ELA Assistant Teacher at Fahari Academy Charter School in Brooklyn, NY. She began her teaching career in Massachusetts where she student-taught and was a long-term substitute. Before entering the teaching field, she worked in higher education as a program manager for pre-college programs at The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University from 2004 through 2010.

Kerri graduated with a B.A. in English from McDaniel College in 2003 and received her M.Ed. in Middle School English from Lesley University in 2009.

Justin Starkenburg

Coordinator, HR Compliance

Justin Starkenburg is a human resources professional with a passion for people and service. He graduated from North Carolina State University with a B.A. in sociology, and worked on a public sector contract for Florida Medicaid with Hewlett-Packard for several years before relocating to New York in 2011. His most recent clients include Hadassah, a large nonprofit organization, and James Adler, a local pianist and composer. Justin lives in West Harlem, where his interests include cooking, writing, container gardening, and Asana Yoga. He is also an avid reader, particularly enjoying horror, fantasy, science-fiction, and creative short stories.

Martinique Teperman

Deputy Director, Family Engagement & Social Services

Martinique graduated from New York University in 2003 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology andRomance Languages. She then continued her studies at the Columbia University School of Social Work where she focused on Advanced Clinical Social Work with a concentration on Family, Youth, and Children’s Services. In 2006, Martinique went on to develop her social work skills as a Post Graduate Clinical Social Work Fellow at the Yale Child Study Center. While at the Child Study Center she had the opportunity to work with children from ages 5-18 with a variety of Mental Health issues and also became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).

In 2009, Martinique began working with the Children’s Aid Society Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program at a charter school in the South Bronx. During her time as the Senior Social Worker with the Carrera Program, Martinique supervised several Master’s level social workers while also supporting a cohort of approximately 100 students. Martinique is excited to join the EHTP team and looks forward to continuing her work with students and families while helping promote the core values of the organization.

Holly Torres

Manager, Elementary Program

Holly Torres joined East Harlem Tutorial Program in December 2014 as Manager, Elementary Program. She moved to New York in October 2014 from northern California where she was born and raised. Holly has worked in nonprofit administration and education since graduating from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2007.

At UC Santa Cruz, Holly earned a B.A. in Latin America and Latino Studies & Global Economics and was honored to receive the UC Santa Cruz Language and Culture Award. She has studied and traveled in many countries including Chile, Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Through her community outreach work at a multicultural arts organization in San Diego, Holly realized her passion for working with children. She went on to study at Cal State TEACH, where she earned a Bilingual Cross-cultural Language Academic Development Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Holly taught first grade in both Bilingual and Spanish Dual Immersion classrooms for six years.

Holly now lives in East Harlem and is excited to be a part of the Elementary Program at EHTP.

Max Turner

Deputy Director, Recruitment, Scholars

Max has been working in education since 2007. After majoring in Cinema and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, he joined Teach for America in rural South Louisiana. In his five years in Louisiana, he served as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, and consultant to the Louisiana Department of Education and graduated from Teachers College’s Summer Principals Academy with an M.A. in Education Leadership. After graduation, Max moved to New York and ran recruitment and admissions at the Summer Principals Academy before returning to K-12 education at Achievement First Apollo Elementary School where, as Director of Operations, he managed family engagement, operations, finance, and enrollment. Max is excited to join the East Harlem community and to help bring and retain the best teachers for Scholars Academies.

Shana Vono

Deputy Director, Development & Special Events

Shana joins EHTP after five years of holding a number of fundraising positions at the American Diabetes Association in Syracuse, New York and New Jersey. As manager of Fundraising & Special Events, Shana oversaw a cycling event that raised $110,000. She successfully increased the event’s revenue by $100,000 by the end of her second year. She then took a position in the New Jersey office to manage another cycling event with a larger fundraising goal. She was promoted to an associate director position after her third cycling event, and increased her fundraising goal to $600,000.

Shana is a native of Upstate New York. She graduated from the State University of New York at Oswego with a B.A. in arts and a concentration in public relations. Prior to her positions at the American Diabetes Association she worked in sales as a radio Account executive and a director of sales for a local hotel and restaurant group.

Shana is excited that EHTP brought her back to her New York roots, and is giving her the opportunity to work in education, which has always been a goal of hers. She is looking forward to bringing her skill set to EHTP and to help the organization continue to grow.