Board of Advisors

2019-2020

Alexandra Anormaliza is the Executive Director for Instructional Leadership Framework Implementation for the Office of Leadership in the New York City Department of Education. In this role, she supports the rollout and implementation of NYCDOE’s citywide instructional agenda. Prior to serving in this capacity, she oversaw the delivery of instructional, operational, and youth development supports for the 162 secondary and high schools in the Affinity Schools Citywide Office, collaborating closely with multiple superintendents and non-profit organizations to ensure coherent, aligned, and complementary support and supervision. 

Alex has served in various leadership roles in the NYCDOE since 2010, including Executive Director for the Office of Instructional Support, where she led the development of yearly citywide instructional expectations and the design and delivery of aligned citywide professional learning experiences for teachers and school, field, and central office administrators.

Alex’s experiences as the child of non-English speaking parents and an immigrant informed her deep-seated belief in education as a human right and a vehicle for advancing social justice and equity. She was a classroom teacher for nine years, later founding The International High School at Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, where she served as principal from 2004 to 2010. Alex is a graduate of New York City public schools and the City University of New York, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education, a Master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and an Advanced Certificate in Educational Leadership. She was a member of the first cohort of the New York City Leadership Academy.

 

 

Steven Becton is the Program Director for Equity and Inclusion for Facing History and Ourselves.  He writes and speaks for Facing History on urban education and equity issues in and beyond the classroom. He presents at national conferences, writes blogs, and conducts workshops and webinars for educators and for the larger community centered on having courageous conversations about race and education. He is a skilled facilitator and experienced presenter.

Becton leads an Urban Civics Learning Lab in one of the poorest zip codes in Memphis, Tennessee, supporting a team of Facing History staff who are working deeply in these schools to create whole school culture and transformational educational experiences to equip educators, while also empowering students, to overcome systemic issues that have placed them at risk. 

Becton joined the staff of Facing History in 2001 after 11 years of exemplary teaching.  He has been recognized nationally as a leader among educators, earning Junior Achievement’s State Teacher of the Year. Award in 2005. In 2008, he was inducted into the Rhodes College Hall of Fame in recognition of his outstanding football, academic, and community service accomplishments. In 2011, Tri-State Defender recognized him as one of its 100 Outstanding Black Men.

Becton has a BA in Economics from Rhodes College, a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership, and an advanced certificate in Urban Education.  He is a 2020 doctoral candidate at the University of Memphis with a major in Urban Education.

 

 

Terry Born is a founding member and Associate Director of Middle College National Consortium, working as Coordinator of the Student Leadership Initiative and Conference Organizer.  Upon graduation from Bank St. School of Education’s Principal’s Institute, she was the founding principal of Robert F. Wagner Jr. Secondary School for Arts and Technology, an original New Visions ‘School.

Prior to that, between 1968 and 2005 she taught at all levels from middle school to college in New York City, founding the Bongo Program, an interdisciplinary theater initiative melding rigorous science and literature curriculum with the arts. She has written about literacy, curriculum development, collaborative school leadership and arts integration and led workshops around the country.

Since retiring from the NYC Department of Education, she has worked for the Middle College National Consortium and Institute of Student Achievement as a Leadership and Curriculum Coach, and as Director of the annual Student Leadership Conference.

 

 

Justin C. Cohen is a writer, activist, public policy expert, and nonprofit executive. He currently serves as Chief Strategy Officer at Cambiar Education, a not for profit design studio that offers growth and incubation support to entrepreneurs focused on social impact. Prior to joining Cambiar he co-founded and served as Chief Operating Officer of Wayfinder Foundation, which provides micro-grants to community activists working in historically marginalized communities. His work as a writer has appeared in The New York Times, Education Week, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and HuffPost. Previously, he served as president of Boston-based education nonprofit Mass Insight Education, and as a senior advisor to the chancellor at the DC Public Schools.

Justin is a fellow of the Broad Academy, and an organizer with Racial Justice BK and No New Jails NYC. He was a writer in residence at the Carey Institute for the Global Good and served on the education policy committee for President Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. He holds a BA in cognitive science from Yale.

 

 

Ramon Contreras is 20 year old political organizer from Harlem. Ramon started organizing his sophomore year of high school in the south bronx as a response to the rise in police brutality. His senior year, Ramon Founded Youth Over Guns, an organization dedicated to bringing awareness to gun violence in black and brown communities. In 2018, Youth Over Guns organized a march across the Brooklyn Bridge where ten thousand people turned out to support. That same year Ramon took a gap year to join March For Our Lives as the National Field Director and he traveled the country registering and mobilizing young people to vote in 2018 midterm elections. Today Ramon is a college student and works at a law firm.

 

 

Shira Eve Epstein entered the field of education as a middle school teacher in New York City and has since worked in various middle and high schools in the city supporting teachers in their work. She joined CCNY’s School of Education in Fall 2008.  She is the director of the Social Studies Education Program and teaches graduate and undergraduate English education courses in teaching methods, curriculum design, literacy development, and other topics. 

In her research, she explores different forms of civic education and how teachers and students address social problems during the school day and during out-of-school programs.  She has also studied the use of race talk with teachers and youth and the possibilities of multicultural education.  Her work can be found in journals including The Journal of Social Studies Research, English Journal, The Urban Review, and Journal of Teacher Education.  Her first book, Teaching Civic Literacy Projects:  Student Engagement with Social Problems, was published by Teachers College Press in 2014.

 

Frederick J. Frelow, Ed.D., is chief executive officer of Frelow & Associates in Nyack, New York. Previously, he served as interim president for the Southern Education Foundation.

From 2008 to 2017, Dr. Frelow worked at the Ford Foundation in its education and scholarship program in the United States. Before that, he was director of early-college initiatives at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey, where he managed development of fourteen early-college high schools. Previously, he was associate director in the working communities division of the Rockefeller Foundation, where he oversaw development and implementation of the foundation’s school reform program.

Dr. Frelow has served as director of national affairs and associate director of urban initiatives for the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future at Teachers College, Columbia University; director of curriculum for the Nyack, New York, public schools; and director of the U.S. Departments of Education’s Magnet School Assistance Project at Louis Armstrong Middle School in Queens, New York. He also taught for twelve years in Newton, Massachusetts, public schools.

 

 

Avi Green is Executive Director of the Scholars Strategy Network. He helps researchers use relationship-building and communications skills to increase the impact of research and evidence on public policy. He has helped researchers develop reciprocal relationships with ​government officials and ​policymakers on both sides of the aisle ​in many states. As an editor and ​communications ​strategist, he has also helped scholars bring attention to their research in dozens of venues ranging from The New York Times to Fox News.  

Before coming to the Scholars Strategy Network in 2013, ​Avi served as Executive Director of MassVOTE, an nonpartisan organization devoted to reducing racial disparities in voting and civic participation in Massachusetts. As part of the 2010 redistricting process, Avi led a nonpartisan coalition that led to a bipartisan, nearly unanimous vote for new district maps that vastly increased the number of majority-minority districts. He led the drive behind the Massachusetts Elections Modernization Act of 2014. Avi was awarded the Kivvie Kaplan Humanitarian Award by the Boston Branch of the NAACP. Avi studied at Columbia University (BA Religion and Mathematics) and Harvard University (Masters in Public Policy).  

 

 

Patrick Joseph is the Grants & Policy Manager for NYC Census 2020 — a first-of-its-kind initiative established by Mayor de Blasio to ensure a complete and accurate count in the 2020 Census. Before joining the NYC Census 2020 office, Patrick advised Borough President Brewer on education issues affecting Manhattan schools as the Senior Education Policy Analyst for the Manhattan Borough President’s Office. His policy experience and interests include the intersection of civics and education; school desegregation; school funding; culturally relevant education; and the school-to-prison pipeline. Prior to his career in policy, Patrick served as a public school teacher in New York City. Patrick holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership, Politics and Advocacy from New York University, a master’s degree in Special Education for grades 7-12 from CUNY’s Hunter College, and a bachelor’s degree in English from Boston College. 

 

 

Shannon Trilli Kempner is Director of Corporate Responsibility Director of Corporate Responsibility for Catalent, coordinating and organizing Catalent’s existing initiatives in sustainability and maximizing social impact and its employee-driven community programs. Previously, Shannon served as Director of Corporate Responsibility Strategy & Partnerships for S&P Global, guiding the corporation’s philanthropic and partnership portfolio to support female entrepreneurs around the globe, with a particular eye at breaking down barriers to women’s access to resources and capital by leveraging data, analytics, and technology.

Before joining S&P Global, Shannon served as Director of Global Health for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), where she designed, scaled and lead UMCOR’s Signature Health and Sustainability Program to provide funding and technical support to community based health organizations. Her pior program responsibilities at UMCOR included overseeing UMCOR’s $75 million Imagine No Malaria Program with partners such as the U.N. Foundation and The Global Fund. 

Shannon served as a Micro-enterprise Development Peace Corps Volunteer in Bolivia. Before joining the Peace Corps, she was the manager of Global Employee Programs for the Contributions and Community Relations unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Shannon earned a Master’s in Public Administration from New York University, and a Bachelor’s in Government from The University of Texas at Austin.

 

 

Fiona Lin brings over 15 years of leadership experience in the education sector, primarily launching new programs and functions at high-growth, non-profit organizations.  She joined Achievement Network in 2012 to scale its human capital functions, establishing a six-person team and tripling the organization’s headcount in under three years, before then launching its Org Effectiveness team, reporting on ANet’s impact in accelerating school and student success and building a team of data scientists.   Prior to ANet, Fiona spent a decade working at TNTP (The New Teacher Project), first as a founding partner in its teacher certification business line, where she managed teams partnering with urban districts, higher ed institutions, and state departments of education to train and certify over 2,000 new teachers, including a third of all new teachers in post-Katrina New Orleans schools.  Fiona also launched TNTP’s Research & Evaluation function; in this role, she commissioned multiple external impact evaluations of TNTP’s Teaching Fellows model, including a federal i3 Validation study.  

Most recently, Fiona has shifted into the political & social impact space, joining ActBlue, the premier online fundraising platform for Democratic campaigns, progressive organizations, and nonprofits working to put power in the hands of small-dollar donors, in a foundational role establishing its people and culture functions as ActBlue accelerates into the 2020 electoral cycle.

 

 

Danielle R. Moss is the Chief Executive Officer of Oliver Scholars, to which she brings over 20 years of experience in college access and education. Dr. Moss previously served as President and CEO of the YWCA of the City of New York and the Harlem Educational Activities Fund. She was appointed by Mayor de Blasio to New York City’s Commission on Gender Equity and serves on the Board of Directors of The New York Women’s Foundation. In 2015, The Network Journal named her among the 25 Most Influential Black Women in Business. In the summer of 2016, she was featured in Corner Office, a regular column in The New York Times, and in Crain’s New York. Dr. Moss has contributed to The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, Edutopia, The Amsterdam News, and City Limits Magazine. In 2018, she delivered a talk on college access at TEDWomen that has more than 1.6 million views.

Dr. Moss holds M.A. and Ed.M. degrees from Teachers College Columbia University, where she also completed her Doctorate in Organization and Leadership with a focus on Education Administration. She received her B.A. from Swarthmore College as a double major in English Literature and History, with a concentration in Black Studies.

 

 

Lance Ozier has over 20 years experience in the fields of youth development and education. A certified teacher, he began teaching first grade in Atlanta public schools before working in middle and high schools in the Bronx and Brooklyn, New York. He also spent 15 years on the staff of Project Morry, a nationally recognized not-for-profit summer camp and youth development organization.

Dr. Ozier’s publications have been included in the Journal of Experiential Education, Journal of Youth Development, Democracy and Education, English Journal, and he has authored over a dozen articles and columns in Camping Magazine. 

Dr. Ozier earned his MA in sociology and education policy, as well as his EdM and EdD in English Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Since 2017, he has taught courses in the CUNY Youth Studies Program, and he has been on the faculty of CCNY since 2009. He’s also been an instructor at Teachers College and Bank Street College of Education. 

 

 

Laura Patterson works in Education Research and Insights at Teachers Pay Teachers, an edtech company based in New York, by day (at night, she also serves as Program Director to Revive the Dream Institute, a fellowship for professionals looking to make an impact in the education space). Prior to joining TpT, she served at the NYC Department of Education as a Special Projects Manager for iZone and the Analyst for the Office of Strategic Planning. She began her career at Scholastic, where she performed a variety of functions including managing the company’s book donation program. In addition to broad experience with education organizations as staff, Laura has co-organized Startup Weekend EDU and volunteered and consulted with several local ed-based nonprofits including 100Kin10, 4.0 Schools, and the Opportunity Network. Laura received her BA in Sociology at Tufts University and her MPA in Nonprofit Management from New York University. 

 

 

Michael Preston is the Executive Director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, a research and innovation lab that works to advance children’s learning and development in the digital age. His work has focused on using technology to improve teaching and learning, supporting student agency and interest, and creating models for systemic change. Previously, he co-founded CSforALL, the hub for the national Computer Science for All movement, and led digital learning initiatives at the New York City Department of Education and at Columbia University. He earned a PhD in Cognitive Science in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

 

 

Jeanne Rotunda has had extensive experience as a school designer, leader and coach.  Over the nineteen years as principal of West Side Collaborative, MS250, she restructured and innovated a progressive school for Title 1 middle school students.  Before her work at WSC, she designed, established and led the Wadleigh Alternative Arts School, a 7-12 public school in Harlem.  Jeanne has focused on building collaborative school communities through developing teacher team structures and empowering teachers in multiple leadership roles. Working with a colleague, she implemented a middle school lab-site for citywide inter-visitations and was a facilitator for the NYC DOE Office of New Schools.  Her schools have been widely recognized for implementing innovative programs, promoting student involvement in learning and building organizational structures.

Jeanne has mentored new principals and administrative interns from a variety of leadership programs.  She has consulted on new school applications, school start-up, teacher and leadership evaluation systems, creative scheduling and SEL initiatives. She currently works for Hidden Sparks as a leadership program developer, workshop facilitator and mentor.  Jeanne is a graduate of New York University and Bank Street College of Education Principals Institute with degrees in art, education and supervision.  She has participated in numerous Harvard University Project Zero Summer Institutes and was trained as a Lincoln Center Institute Educator.

 

 

Chrystina Russell is the Executive Director of Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU)’s Global Education Movement (GEM), where she spearheads innovative initiatives to bring tertiary education and employment pathways to refugees and traditionally underserved learners. She’s most passionate about building university programs in refugee camps and urban areas where students who normally would not access higher education use online and in-person learning to earn a Bachelor’s degree from SNHU. The project began in collaboration with Kepler in Kigali in 2013 and expanded to Kiziba refugee camp in 2015. Chrystina pitched the model and was proud to be selected as an MIT SOLVER in 2017.

In 2018, Chrystina lead the expansion of the model into 4 new countries (Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, & Lebanon) as well as the launch of an assessment center in Rwanda to pilot lowering the delivery cost of Bachelor’s degrees through a combination of training local talent and artificial intelligence. Previously, she was the Chief Academic Officer of Kepler, a blended learning university program based in Rwanda. The organization has two campuses opened and lead by Chrystina—one in the capital city of Kigali and the other in Kiziba refugee camp.

Previously, she was the founding principal of Global Tech Prep, a high-performing public school in East Harlem, New York and was faculty at the City College of New York. Chrystina began her career as a bilingual special education teacher in the Bronx, where she became addicted to understanding educational challenges and using innovation and technology to find creative solutions in vulnerable communities. Chrystina graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Organization & Minority Communities, has a Masters in Bilingual Special Education, and holds a Ph.D. in Urban Education Policy from the City University of New York Graduate Center.

Overview of Board of Advisors

Alexandra Anormaliza Executive Director, Office of Leadership, NYC Department of Education
Avi Green Executive Director, Scholars Strategy Network
Chrystina Russell Senior Vice President & Executive Director, SNHU’s Global Education Movement at Southern New Hampshire University
Danielle Moss CEO, Oliver Scholars
Fiona Lin Director of People and Culture, Act Blue
Fred Frelow Consultant, Frelow Associates
Jeanne Rotunda Retired Principal, West Side Collaborative
Justin Cohen Chief Strategy Officer, Cambiar Education
Lance Ozier Senior Educational Consultant, Teaching Matters
Laura Patterson Community Specialist, Teachers Pay Teachers
Michael Preston Executive Director, Joan Ganz Cooney Center
Patrick Joseph Policy Advisor, NYC Census; (former) Senior Policy Analyst, Manhattan Borough President’s Office
Ramon Contreras Founder, Youth Over Guns and Activist at Large
Shannon Trilli Kempner Director, Corporate Responsibility at Catalent
Shira Epstein Associate Professor and Program Director of Social Studies Education, City College of New York
Steven Becton Program Director for Equity and Inclusion, Facing History and Ourselves
Terry Born Retired Principal, Robert F Wagner Secondary School for Arts and Technology