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Chike Achebe is currently pursuing his JD at Harvard Law School and studying the intersection between law and policy and how the two can be effectively applied to improve low- income communities in the U.S. Passionate about the intersection of education and economic development within urban areas, Chike most recently worked for the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence where he had the opportunity to work on the implementation of President Obama's My Brother's Keeper program and served as a liaison between education nonprofits, and federal agencies to improve educational outcomes across the country. Chike is currently establishing a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, Access Academy, which will work to strengthen the educational opportunities afforded to low-income students in northern NJ through career prep, mentoring, and academic tutoring.
Prior to law school, Chike worked in the Washington DC office of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee focusing on issues related to criminal justice, and education. Chike is an honors graduate of Rutgers University where he was the recipient of the Deans Award for Academic Excellence and Community Service and served on the Rutgers University Presidential Search Committee, the nominating committee that selected the current president of Rutgers University. At Rutgers University Chike served as a member of several community service organizations and as an AmeriCorps service member where he worked with low-income residents in the central NJ area on the issues of homelessness, food insecurity, and local economic development. Chike is a NJ native and in his spare times enjoys reading, watching basketball and researching technology startup companies.
Ronald Bautista, Digital Marketing Strategist, Grupo Parada, LLC
Ronald learned at an early age that government can affect a community for the better or for the worse. After all, that was the reason why he and his family moved from Ecuador to Hoboken in 1999; to search for better opportunities. Ronald's purpose has always been focused on working for a stronger community, and he has followed that mission throughout his career in New York City.
He began his experience with local organizations and nonprofits, performing the role of Executive Director of Organizaci—n Juventud Ecuatoriana (JUVE), with initiatives to promote higher education and the Ecuadorian Scholars Fund. At Grupo Parada, Ronald has designed strategies to get the Hispanic community on board for projects by the New York State Department of State, the Association of Hispanic Healthcare Executives (AHHE), the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, among others. His focus now is to motivate community solutions for a more innovative, connected, and involved Hoboken.
Sean Brown, Director Young Urban Leaders
Sean Matthew Brown is the son of a public school teacher and Camden, NJ native. He lived in Camden until he was 8 and moved back when he was 20 to serve the city. He grew up in the Baptist church and served as a youth leader. He graduated from Pennsauken High School in 2000. Sean served in AmeriCorps VISTA in Camden (2005-2006) and New Orleans (2007). In Camden, he worked at CamConnect doing community outreach, sharing the data and reports with community organizations and the residents of the city. After his AmericCorps 2005-2006 term, he worked at Camden Community Connections, where he was responsible for database management, training students in the after school program, and assisting with intake and training for the STRIVE program. Sean has served on the CamConnect board of trustees since 2006. In 2007, Sean worked in New Orleans with different organizations, helping with the recovery. Young Urban Leaders was founded while Sean was an undergraduate student at Rutgers University. As its volunteer director, the organization supports leadership development for young adults.
He received his BA is Urban Studies in 2010. Sean is working on a Master's degree in Public Policy with a concentration on Community Development at Rutgers University, graduating in 2015. While in school, Sean has been to South Africa to do community service and The Netherlands, including Amsterdam where he studied housing policy. The youngest ever to be appointed, Sean served on the Camden school board 2010-2013. He served as the chairman of the policy committee. Sean has been featured in the Courier Post's Top 35 leaders under 35 years of age. In 2010, Next American City included him as of the ""Best and Brightest"". He is a prominent guest speaker and panelist, sharing his knowledge of local government, politics, organizational innovation, contemporary urban culture, and public education. Most importantly, he is the father of two young boys. One day, he hopes to release his urban folk album.
Rashawn Davis, Public Policy Organizer, American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey
Rashawn Davis is a former Newark City Council Candidate, and the youngest person to ever be certified on the municipal ballot in Newark, NJ at the age of 21. In 2012, in an unprecedented move, Rashawn announced he would seek a seat on Newark's City Council. Creating a team full of smart, innovative, and committed milennials, Rashawn was able to outraise many of his opponents and attracted national press to the Davis campaign. During his two years on the campaign trail, Rashawn worked with hundreds of residents across Newark to build stronger communities. He won several prestigious awards including the 2013 Unilever Legacy of Leadership Award. Rashawn also graduated from Georgetown University four days after the election. Although, he ultimately fell short of a City Council seat, Rashawn's campaign will be remembered as historic, and it laid the groundwork other millennial candidates who are ready to lead and serve.
Today, Rashawn continues to counsel young candidates across the country on campaigning, fundraising, and public service. In 2014, Davis joined the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey as an organizer, working on urban policy to help create prouder and stronger communities across New Jersey. Rashawn is a third generation Newarker where he continues to reside today. Guided by the wisdom of his family, friends, and mentors, Rashawn continues to fight for underserved communities and believes that in America, there is nothing we can't accomplish together.
Michael DeLamater, Legislative Director, Assemblyman Joe Lagana
Michael DeLamater has been working in New Jersey Government and Politics since 2011. He began his career working for Assemblymembers Connie Wagner and Tim Eustace as well as managing the Paramus Democratic campaign. Currently Michael is the Legislative Director for Assemblyman Joe Lagana in the ultra competitive LD-38. Some of the issues he has worked on in this capacity are Anti-SLAAP, A Prescription Monitoring Program for Schedule 2 Drugs, and bringing up to date the Uniform Trust Code in NJ. He has also started his own company, AMD Strategies, where he aids local Democratic candidates with field strategy, fundraising, and overall providing them with the tools to win elections. The company also helps small businesses find solutions for their marketing and technological needs.
As of 2013 Michael has been the President of the Young Democrats of Bergen County where he continues to work with other like minded individuals in the organization to get younger people more involved in the political process and ultimately, run for office themselves. Michael is a graduate of Rutgers University and currently resides in Paramus.
Sarah Geiger, Associate Director, Research and Economic Services, New Jersey Education Association
Sarah Lynn Geiger is an Associate Director in the Research and Economic Services Division at the New Jersey Education Association. At NJEA, she is a member of the Pensions and Benefits Unit where she primarily focuses on health benefits. Her work includes state legislative analysis, monitoring the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and other federal legislation, collective bargaining assistance, member assistance, and ad hoc employee benefits research. Immediately prior to joining NJEA in 2013, Sarah worked for Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (NY-04) in her Washington, DC office. During that time, she also worked as a membership and research consultant for the WomenÕs Information Network (WIN), a professional and political development organization for pro-choice, Democratic women in Washington, DC. Sarah has also worked for Congresswoman Diana DeGette (CO-01) and the late Congressman John Adler (NJ-03).
Sarah received a BA from Rutgers University in Planning and Public Policy and Statistics. While at Rutgers, she studied transportation and land use planning policy and its relationship to the social and cultural structures of metropolitan areas. Sarah has an MPA from the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at the George Washington University where she concentrated in program evaluation and legislative management.
Sergio Granados, Managing Assistant, City of Elizabeth
Freeholder Sergio Granados, a native of Elizabeth and community activist who has experience working with various non-profits and volunteer organizations, was elected to his first full term in office in 2013. Among his priorities, Granados has emphasized community outreach and charitable service in addition to supporting workforce initiatives, parks and educational improvements, and fiscal reforms. Granados served this past year as the Freeholder Liaison to the Workforce Investment Board, overseeing a $2.3 million contribution the Freeholder Board made that greatly expanded employment and training opportunities for job seekers. During his term, the WIB also created a new citizenship program. Granados also served on the Fiscal Committee which oversaw the formation of a strong County budget that once again achieved one of the highest bond ratings available, according to all major ratings houses. As a member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Granados worked to expand the County's smoking ban throughout the County park facilities and place signs up. Granados supported environmental initiatives that helped lead to the County's ordinance banning fracking on County properties, and he encouraged local municipalities to adopt measures stopping the flow of fracked waste through their towns. Granados works as a Supervisor in the City of Elizabeth's Health Division where, among his responsibilities, he conducts budget review and fiscal analysis, policy implementation and training. He is also responsible for the supervision of a staff of housing and health inspectors. He had previously served in other areas for the City of Elizabeth, including the Public Information office, the City's Bureau of Tourism, Cultural and Heritage Affairs, where among his duties, he conducted meetings with various ethnic organizations to find ways the City of Elizabeth could better assist residents.
Granados has a long record of activism in Elizabeth, where he has served with many organizations, including Hispanos Unidos, the Elizabeth Portuguese Lions (serving as President this year), the Portuguese Instructive Social Club (served as Vice President), and the Elizabeth Portugal Day Committee (served as President and Vice President). He also has experience working with cultural organizations such as the Consulate of El Salvador, Peruvians for Progress, the Juneteenth Committee, the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Committee, and the Union County Dominican Parade and Festival. Granados is of Portuguese and Salvadorian descent (he is tri-lingual), and is a graduate of Kean University and Elizabeth High School. He has a Bachelor of Science with a major in Business Management.
Leonard Jones, Law Clerk, State of New Jersey-Judiciary
Leonard V. Jones is currently a law clerk for Judge James P. Wilson, of the Superior Court of New Jersey in Union County. Mr. Jones graduated Rutgers School of Law-Newark in May 2014. He is admitted to the bar of the State of New Jersey, and his admission to the bar of the State of New York is currently pending. Leonard was born in Monrovia, Liberia. On January 6, 2000, at the age of eleven, he, his mother, along with his sister moved to Hillside, New Jersey. Leonard attended the Hillside Public Schools. He was the President of the Student Council and National Honor Society during his senior year at Hillside High School. In addition, he was very active with local elected officials and worked on numerous campaigns.
After graduating high school in 2006, he attended Seton Hall University, where he studied Political Science and English. Leonard graduated from Seton Hall in 2010 with his B.A. in political science with a minor in English, and in 2011 with his Masters in Public Administration, with a concentration in Public Service. Leonard was very active while at Seton Hall, he served as Senator for the College of Arts and Sciences for four consecutive semesters and as Vice-President of the Black Student Union. For the 2009-2010 academic year, he served as the President of the Student Government Association. In the spring of 2010, Leonard was initiated into the Iota Rho chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity Inc., the first black intercollegiate Greek letter fraternity founded for African-Americans. Leonard is devoted to community service, and civic and political engagement, much of his spare time is spent participating local service opportunities. He remains committed to serving underrepresented communities.
Tejas Kadia , CEO , Reliance Property Management Group
Mr. Kadia is a recognized Association Management Specialist (AMS), and a Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA). He holds an active real estate salesperson license in the State of New Jersey, and specializes in residential property management.
Mr. Kadia is also a proud alumni of Rutgers University, from where he holds a B.A. in Urban Studies, and a Masters in Public Policy (MPP).
Andrea Katz, Chief of Staff, Office of Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, State of New Jersey
Andrea Katz, Esq. Andrea Katz serves as Chief of Staff to Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle in District 37. Since 2010, she has managed the legislative, policy, and communications operations for the assemblywoman. She also oversees the agenda process for the Assembly Human Services Committee, chaired by Asw. Huttle. Andrea was a key participant in the drafting and passage of landmark anti-bullying and human trafficking laws in New Jersey. In addition to her policy work, Andrea is actively involved in state and local Democratic politics. In 2014, Andrea was elected to the Englewood Democratic Municipal Committee and was appointed as Treasurer for the New Jersey Young Democrats. She also serves as Vice-President of the Young Democrats of Bergen County. In 2012, Andrea represented New Jersey as a Delegate at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In 2014, Andrea graduated from Seton Hall Law School, which she attended as an Evening Chancellor Scholar. She is a frequent guest lecturer at Rutgers Law School's Legislative Advocacy Course. Andrea graduated from the George Washington University in 2009 with a B.A. in International Politics from the Elliot School of International Affairs. During her time at GWU, Andrea worked at Washington D.C. immigration law firm Maggio & Kattar and was a Yitzchak Rabin Memorial Fellow with Embassy of Israel. Andrea was recognized for her commitment to social justice by Garden State Equality in 2011 with the organization's Pillar of Progress award. In 2006, she was selected to be the Lead Presenter for the George Washington University at the International Women's Leadership Conference in Abu Dabi. Andrea was born and raised in Bergen County, New Jersey, and resides there now. While she appreciates the many offerings of modern technology, she prefers printed books and newspapers. Andrea also enjoys sports movies and trips to the Jersey Shore.
Stephanie Lagos, Legislative Assistant, The Office of NJ Asm. Gary Schaer
Stephanie Lagos works as a Legislative Aide for New Jersey Assemblyman Gary Schaer. Prior to this she worked as the Finance Director for the Roy Cho for Congress campaign, a campaign that aggregated $1.3M during the campaign cycle. Stephanie also served two years in Ghana with the United States Peace Corps where she lived and worked in a remote farming village with no running water or electricity. In Ghana, she was placed as a Development Specialist, charged with creating projects to promote environmentally sustainable practices in rural communities. Over two years, she brought 360 bicycles to her farming community, secured two grants for a large-scale HIV/AIDs awareness campaign and built 10 compost latrines to support her communities' sanitation needs.
She holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science, and a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.
Kylie Patterson , Consultant , BCT Partners, LLC
Kylie Patterson is committed to workforce equity and the elimination of poverty. She is an emerging leader in the field of workforce development. Her life work focuses on empowering under-served communities and those facing multiple barriers to employment. She believes that the best social program is a living wage job. Kylie has over four years of program and project management; strategic planning; fund development; and research and evaluation experience. Kylie currently works at BCT Partners, a Newark-based consulting firm, working with some of the nationÕs largest foundations, innovative nonprofits, and local, state and federal governments. She has worked for the AFL-CIO, the Pew Charitable Trusts, small nonprofits, university systems, and the City of Minneapolis. Her work has included the evaluation of a nationally recognized program to reduce gang violence in Minneapolis, MN, the effects of strain in the African American community of Philadelphia, PA, and fiscal policy research of the United States and 60 of its largest cities. Her projects have led to the expansion of a high performing charter school in Trenton, NJ, the publishing of three major reports related to pensions and state's revenue estimating, and the annual employment of over 1,600 youth in the City of Minneapolis.
She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and African American Studies magna cum laude at Temple University. While at Temple, Kylie served as student body president representing 32,000 students and established the Council of Philadelphia Student Governments, a student advocacy organization, which represents over 120,000 students. Kylie earned her Master in Public Policy from the University of Minnesota., Hubert Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She is also a Harry S Truman Scholar, a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow (Princeton University), and Rhodes Scholar Finalist. To further her commitment to community development, Kylie is a board member of Essex County Workforce Investment Board and member of the Essex County Urban League. Kylie is originally from San Diego, CA, but now calls Brick City (aka Newark, NJ) home. In her free time, Kylie participates in Toastmasters International, paints, dances the salsa, and mentors.
Crystal Pruitt, Assessment Counselor, CEC Albert "Bo" Robinson Assessment & Treatment Facility
Crystal Pruitt was born and raised in Somerset County, New Jersey. After graduating from Franklin High School in 2003 she attended North Carolina State University located in Raleigh, North Carolina where she would graduate with Bachelor's of Science in Criminology in 2007. Upon her return to New Jersey, Ms. Pruitt applied to and was accepted into New York University's Clinical Psychology Masters Program as well as CUNY: John Jay College of Criminal Justice Forensic Psychology Masters Program both located in New York City, New York. Ms. Pruitt would ultimately chose the more criminal justice related program and attend John Jay College of Criminal Justice. During her time at John Jay, she was afforded an opportunity to intern as drug and alcohol evaluator for the Forensic Intensive Recovery Program, a prison deferral program, that operated within the First Judicial District Court of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. That internship quickly developed into full time employment and Ms. Pruitt would move to Philadelphia, commuting back and forth to Manhattan to complete her last year of graduate school. She would graduate with honors from John Jay College in 2009 receiving her Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology.
Soon after her graduation, Ms. Pruitt was hired by Philadelphia's Department of Behavioral Health and Disability Services as a Criminal Justice Clinical Specialist within the Specialized Clinical and Criminal Justice Unit. Ms. Pruitt would work with the severely mental ill hospitalized population in Norristown State Hospital assessing and recommending step down treatment as well as act as county representative within the civil commitment courts in Philadelphia. Ms. Pruitt would work in this position for just under three years before returning to John Jay College of Criminal Justice to work on her second Masters Degree, this time in Forensic Mental Health Counseling. In December of 2013, Ms. Pruitt would graduate with a 4.0 GPA and in August of 2014 she would be hired as an Assessment Counselor at Albert "Bo" Robinson Assessment and Treatment Facility in Trenton, NJ. Ms. Pruitt has returned to her Central New Jersey home and looks forward to completing her Fellowship with the New Leader's Council.
Pamela Razo , Business Liaison , Workforce Investment Board, County of Union
Born in Brooklyn, NY, raised in Mexico until the age of 5, Pamela's family returned to the U.S. to reside in New Jersey. Pamela became the first person in her family to graduate college. Her passion for Political Science stems from personal experience with public policy and belief that policy is a tool to influence people positively. Currently, as the Business Liaison, for the Workforce Investment Board, she serves as a point of contact for business leaders. Her outreach involves directing businesses and entrepreneurs to employer services. Prior to this position, Pamela served as Chief of Staff for Assemblyman Green, Speaker Pro Tempore of the New Jersey Assembly. She assisted in management, case work and gained extensive knowledge in the New Jersey legislature and political campaigns. In government, she handled the Assemblyman's communications and constituent outreach. In addition, she assisted in a variety of policy positions in Housing and Community Development Committee.
In politics, she has worked on statewide and local races where she specializes on targeting minority votes. After graduating, Pamela became an Organizing for America Fellow where she helped establish the OFA chapter on the Penn State Campus during President Obama's reelection. Pamela's knowledge in affordable housing and economic development has inspired her to pursue a Master's Degree in Urban Planning in the near future. She hold a Bachelors of Arts degree in Economics and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Penn State University. Away from the office she is active in her community through youth mentorship, community organizing, and is involved in statewide and local organizations such as Union County Democrats, and the Plainfield Democratic Organization.
Shane Smith, Executive Director, Democracy at Work
Shane Smith is the Executive Director of Democracy at Work, a nonprofit organization that conceives, produces, and distributes media that demonstrates why and how democratizing the workplace is a viable solution for a new and better economic system. Shane's role is broad, encompassing day-to-day operations, fundraising, communications, content development, and medium- to long-term strategy. Shane has been instrumental in defining the mission and identity of the organization and is excited to be growing alongside it. Shane has over a decade of leadership and program experience in a variety of settings, including grassroots advocacy and direct-service organizations, a Trenton-based policy research institute, New Jersey's largest hospital, a UN outpost in Colombia, and other international NGOs. His entrepreneurial streak and an interest in municipal policy led him to become the founding publisher of the Jersey City Independent, an online newspaper covering politics, culture, and community news in Jersey City. Shane also moonlighted as a bartender for several years to make ends meet, and he has a secret desire to be a standup comic.
Shane holds an MA in International Affairs from the New School University in New York City. In addition to classroom-based studies, he did fieldwork in Bogota, Beirut, Israel, and the West Bank. He is always looking for opportunities to improve his Spanish and Portuguese language skills. Shane is passionate about the question of how to mobilize local and hyperlocal reform movements and leaders, giving them the tools and perspective to work together for broad social change. While Shane travels frequently to explore new places and to visit family up and down the East Coast, he happily resides in his hometown of Jersey City.
James Solomon, Founder, JC Future
James Solomon is the founder of JC Future, a non-profit whose mission is to provide Jersey City high school students with the tools necessary to gain admittance to and succeed in college. He recently left Boston's Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics which utilized technology and constituent engagement to improve city services. He implemented Street Bump, a first-of-its-kind mobile app that combines crowdsourcing with "big data" to detect potholes.
James earned his Master in Public Policy from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. During graduate school, he created a performance management system for three departments for Mayor Cory Booker in Newark, NJ. He has also been a teacher and community organizer.
Marshall Spevak, Deputy Chief of Staff to Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo, State of New Jersey
Marshall Spevak is the Deputy Chief of Staff to Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo in the 2nd Legislative District. His responsibilities include managing the Assemblyman's legislative and policy portfolio in one of New Jersey's top targeted legislative districts. Furthermore, Spevak serves as spokesperson and press liaison to Mazzeo while coordinating policy with public officials, interest groups and constituents. Prior to joining Mazzeo's office, Marshall worked in electoral politics serving in the press departments on the campaigns of the late Congressman John Adler, U.S. Senator Chris Coons and State Senator Jim Whelan. He also spent two years as a Senior Associate at Kennedy Communications, providing direct mail for political campaigns across the country including the New Jersey Democratic Legislative Majority - the campaign arm of the New Jersey Senate and Assembly Democratic Caucuses. Additionally, Spevak previously served as Social Media Director for the New Jersey Democratic State Committee during the 2014 Election Cycle and currently serves as the President of the New Jersey Young Democrats.
Marshall graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs at Syracuse University. During his time at Syracuse, he served as Campus Director for then Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign during the Super Tuesday primary, and was a Political Columnist for the nationally recognized student newspaper The Daily Orange. Spevak was born and raised in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and is still a South Jersey resident. He currently serves as President of the New Jersey Young Democrats and is a Co-Chair of the Annual South Jersey Thanksgiving Day Dinner for the Troops in Camden. In his free time, Marshall continues his love/hate relationship with fantasy football and obsesses over Philadelphia sports. A diehard soccer fanatic, he also likes to compare any real-life situation to HBO's critically acclaimed series The Wire.
Rebecca Symes, Head of Legal and Government Relations, Dixon Advisory USA
Rebecca Symes is the Head of Legal and Government Relations for Dixon Advisory USA, a residential Real Estate Investment Trust operating in the New York Metropolitan area. Rebecca manages relationships with elected officials, government agencies, and community stakeholders with the primary objective of identifying shared interests and maximizing opportunities for collaboration. She also handles the day-to-day legal affairs of Dixon Advisory USA and supervises outside counsel.
In her free time, Rebecca serves on the Board of Trustees of the Waterfront Project, a nonprofit organization that provides civil legal assistance to low-income, homeless, and other vulnerable and disadvantaged people of Hudson County, NJ. Prior to joining Dixon Advisory USA, Rebecca was the Counsel and Director of Constituent Affairs for U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), managing a statewide constituent services department that assisted municipalities, businesses, nonprofits, and households with matters related to the federal government. As Director, Rebecca focused her attention on building relationships with state and local government officials, nonprofit organizations, and federal government agencies. After identifying under-utilized partners, she traveled the state holding workshops and introductory meetings to build strategic, mutually beneficial relationships. In the wake of Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, Rebecca developed an expertise in federal disaster recovery funding and acted as a resource for municipalities with complex inquiries related disaster assistance.
Rebecca began her career as an attorney with Housing Conservation Coordinators, a nonprofit dedicated to partnering with the residents of Hell's Kitchen neighborhood to save their homes, improve living conditions, and fight for legislative reforms to keep their community affordable and diverse. In addition to providing free legal services to low-income New Yorkers, Rebecca also lobbied for increased city and state funding for civil legal services and planned fundraising events. Rebecca received her Bachelor of Arts from Ithaca College and her Juris Doctor from the Catholic University of America, where she was the Dulin Haynes Memorial Fellow.
Stathis Theodoropoulos, Field Operations Coordinator, Schwinghammer Lighting
Stathis Theodoropoulos Stathis Theodoropoulos is a first generation Greek & Cypriot American, born in NYC and raised in the Kearny, New Jersey. Stathis attended Rutgers University where he earned a BS in Environmental Business Economics. During his time at Rutgers, Stathis was involved in community leadership and event planning. For the past 3 years, Stathis has been working in lighting industry working with client such as Ralph Lauren, Intermix, the Plaza Hotel and many other global brands.
Stathis over the past 10 years has served in various leadership roles in organizations focused grassroots and local community issues. Stathis is very active in advocating Greek American issues, dealing with issues of Human Rights, Religious Freedom and Foreign Affairs. Working with the Hellenic American Leadership Council and with other members of the community, he has worked with elected officials, from US Senators to local officials, to address these issues. Stathis is a founding member and executive board member of the Cypriot Young Professionals, a grassroots young professional group focused on bringing together and developing the community's young professionals and entrepreneurs through the context of business and trade. Stathis also serves as the chairman of an annual charity event that raises money for an NGO that financially supports children that live in poverty, that are orphans, live in the enclaves of Cyprus or that come from extreme circumstances. Stathis looks to take these experiences of the past 10 years work on to work on issues that deal with economics, labor and job development, foreign policy, immigration, justice and equality issues.
Princess Williams, Lead Teacher, TEAM Schools
Princess Williams, a Newark native and innovative educator, teaches kindergarten at SPARK Academy. She attended New York University and earned a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Psychology. Princess always knew she would work with children. However, it was her experience as an America Reads Tutor that helped her realize the exigent need for quality early childhood education in underserved communities and ultimately inspired her to become a teacher. Princess joined the 2006 Teach for America corps and has taught in her hometown of Newark for 5 years. Committed to Teach for America's mission of closing the achievement and eradicating educational inequity, Princess served as Curriculum Specialist, Literacy Specialist and Corps Member Advisor at the Philadelphia Institute. In her various roles, Princess was instrumental in the professional development of new teachers by teaching courses on pedagogy, literacy instruction, classroom management, and diversity. The learning experiences she has provided corps members have maximized student achievement in Newark, Rhode Island, Philadelphia, Baltimore and DC. In 2009, Princess became a founding member of BRICK (Building Responsible Creative Kids) Avon Academy formerly known as Avon Avenue School.
Given her expertise in early childhood education, Princess played a vital role in the development of BRICK's K-2 curriculum. In 2010, Princess was honored by CNN anchor and talk show host Anderson Cooper for being a dynamic leader in the classroom and having 90% of her kindergarten scholars perform on grade level. She works relentlessly to move scholars who enter kindergarten below grade level to first grade reading, writing and math levels. This past summer Princess graduated from the Summer Principals Academy at Columbia's University. It is her desire to become a principal in the city of Newark. Ms. Williams prides herself in being a visionary who provides a learning environment that stimulates, challenges and empowers young scholars to become future leaders.