Jen Siaca Curry, Ed.D. (she/her) grew up in Queens, NY and attended New York City public schools. She is a first-generation college graduate, also earning a masters in non-profit management and doctorate in education leadership from NYU. Through studying school/community partnerships in her dissertation, Jen became particularly interested in the intersection of non-profit program management, policy enactment, and human nature. She has held a range of roles in the nonprofit sector, including Senior Director of Samaschool, a workforce development organization helping systems adapt to the future of work, and Chief Operating Officer at ExpandED Schools where she designed and supported after-school programs.
Named one of 2018's Rising Latino Stars by the NYS Hispanic Coalition, Jen is an adjunct professor at CUNY's School of Professional Studies and Vice President of the NYS Network for Youth Success board of directors. In 2020, she was selected to participate in the Stanford University Latinx Entrepreneurship program, representing the 1% of Latinx entrepreneurs nationwide who scale a business, and in 2021 she was named one of the Next 1,000 up-and-coming entrepreneurs by Forbes Magazine. Jen is deeply committed to equity and racial justice, and her studies and career share a common thread: create opportunities, resources, and systemic change to ensure marginalized communities can thrive.
As Danielle DiMare (she/her) completed her undergraduate studies in sociology, she became fascinated by the power of arts and culture as a vehicle to teach leadership and life skills. This passion inspired her career, beginning with working at community-based organizations LEAP and The Leadership Program supporting citywide afterschool programming. Thereafter, she worked in the Office of School and Youth Development at the NYC Department of Education (DOE) administering out-of-school time and attendance improvement grants serving 400 schools. Danielle also partnered with the National Center for Community Schools to found the NYC Regional Assistance Center, a citywide training center for afterschool programs. While working at the DOE, Danielle earned a Master of Science in Change Management from Milano New School and focused her thesis on digital innovation in education.
After leaving the DOE, Danielle consulted and collaborated with social impact organizations such as Children’s Aid, United Community Schools, Creative Connections, ExpandED Schools, NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, NYC Center for Youth Employment, and the NY State Department of Education. Most notably, she helped build Your Dream, Your Team, a web-based toolkit to help youth with disabilities find a job, and launch the CareerCLUE initiative, a credit-bearing, career-readiness program for high school students.
Nicole Hamilton, who is also the Founder of Culturvate Consulting, is a radical educator, trainer, curriculum designer, youth worker, circle keeper and community builder. Nicole believes that working in close partnership with schools and organizations builds the trust, transparency and accountability needed to do the hard work of shifting culture. Nicole brings ten years of experience in direct service provision from her roles as the Program Director of a multi-site after school program, Director of School Based Programs and Partnerships and currently as the Director of Community Partnerships for a nonprofit organization in Brooklyn, NY. In her work, she has supported the positive transformation of organizations, programs and schools by leading staff and young people towards a common goal of creating a safer, more equitable and affirming anti-racist and inclusive culture.
Blending the disciplines of circle keeping and coaching, Nicole focuses on laying the preliminary groundwork of shifting hearts and minds through the development of critical consciousness in order to co-create environments that are prepared to embrace the principles of culturally sustaining restorative practice. Nicole works in collaborative partnership with schools and organizations to create pathways leading from punitive, racial and gender biased disciplinary practices towards methods that are more restorative, trauma informed and culturally affirming. Through experiential modeling, development of personalized tools and coaching administrators through the processes of building infrastructure, providing meaningfully resonant professional development, leadership capacity building for all stakeholders through circle keeping and restorative practice, Nicole mobilizes partners to engage in school/organization wide initiatives that engage all stakeholders in cultivating the sustainable practices needed to create lasting changes in school climate.
Darise JeanBaptiste (she/her) recognizes the power of language to inspire, mobilize, and inform audiences. Born and raised in the Bronx, NY, Darise graduated from public schools, played Double Dutch in her community, and attended local afterschool and summer programs. In high school, she participated in the city's Summer Youth Employment Program, gaining a first glimpse into the ways city agencies partner with nonprofit organizations for the benefit of young people. Invested in telling compassionate and complex stories about her community and the communities she serves, Darise has worked as a grant writer, training facilitator, and college readiness program director with community-based organizations and schools.
Darise is also a devoted educator who has taught high school reading intervention and pre-college seminar, as well as English composition at CUNY. She holds an MFA from Rutgers-Newark, MA in English from Brooklyn College, and BS in business management from Stony Brook University. She is a board member with Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center.
Kate Miller (she/her) is driven by a passion for activating intergenerational support to meet the complex challenges faced by our communities. Born and raised in small-town Upstate New York, she treasured close relationships with her grandparents, older relatives, and neighbors. She was inspired by their experiences to pursue a career focused on meeting the needs of older adults, their caregivers, and families. Kate is an experience project manager. She has provided operations support to the University of California at San Fransisco Geriatrics Division as well as case management and analytics for a nursing home negligence civil litigation firm. As a consultant, Kate has collaborated with mission-driven organizations in the non-profit health and human services sector to deliver market and policy research, data analysis, financial models, strategic plans, development initiatives, and grant writing and administration.
Kate holds a B.A. in Human Biology, Health and Society from Cornell University's College of Human Ecology. She is currently pursuing an M.B.A. in Health Services Management at Hofstra University.
Katie Mobarak is focused on bringing relevant and meaningful learning to students, teachers, school districts, and educational communities. She began her career teaching for eight years in NYC public high schools. Katie moved on to serve as Literacy Manager at ExpandED Schools where she supported literacy initiatives in school programs across the five boroughs, Baltimore, and New Orleans. Katie also mentored new teachers as an instructor in the Hunter College Urban Teacher Residency program and as the facilitator of the Middle School Quality Initiative Teaching Fellows. Most recently, she served as an instructional coach and Director of Professional Learning for 170 middle schools at the NYC Department of Education. Katie has extensive experience in training, coaching, and designing curriculum for educators, school leaders, instructional coaches, and youth development professionals and is dedicated to building joyful learning spaces which allow educators to celebrate and empower students of all ages.
Katie earned her BA in Adolescent English Education and MSEd in Adolescent Literacy from Hunter College. She also holds a dual certification MSEd in School Building/School District Leadership from Touro College.
Amy Oberdorf (she/her) has a passion for helping people realize their vision by offering logistic and administrative support behind the scenes. After spending her childhood in northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio, she attended Ball State University and earned a BA in General Studies with an emphasis in Business, Sociology, and Philosophy. Shortly afterward, she completed a Master's degree in College Student Personnel Administration (Student Affairs) from Illinois State University.
After working hands-on with students as a Residence Life Area Coordinator at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, she realized she'd be happier working behind the scenes rather than in residence halls and transitioned into administrative work. Over time, that skill for administration became freelance office management at several local companies in and around Indianapolis before deciding to work from home as an Administrative Freelancer. For the past 8 years, Amy has shared her talents for organization and logistics with companies around the country, serving as the "wizard behind the curtain" that keeps everything on track. She truly enjoys the satisfaction of solving problems and engaging meaningfully with clients to the benefit of the companies with whom she works.
Jo-Ann Pratts (she/her) is passionate about working with social impact organizations helping underserved communities. Born and raised in NY, she attended New York City public schools and is a first-generation college graduate. With over 15 years of providing high-level administrative support to CEOs and other executive-level managers at large and small organizations, she is extremely effective at ensuring that organizational operations run smoothly on a day-to-day basis. Jo-Ann previously worked as the executive assistant in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion office at Barnard College, ExpandED Schools as a STEM coordinator as well as the executive assistant to the president, and at the Legal Aid Society as a paralegal.
Jo-Ann holds a B.A. from Hunter College in Africana and Puerto Rican/Latino Studies.
Ali Wittenberg (she/her) has always had a passion for helping others and enhancing communities. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education, she served as a teacher and enrichment specialist in Westchester, New York. Her interest in youth development and desire to learn more about the non-profit space led her to the American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey. As the Director of Member Services, Ali spent eight years connecting with individuals and organizations in camping and youth development. She devoted resources to assessing community needs as well as growing and diversifying the membership. During her time at ACA, NY & NJ, Ali developed a robust training and consulting program, with an emphasis on programming, staff culture, and operations. Focusing on experiential learning and engaging curriculum, she designed and facilitated workshops for countless youth-serving organizations. Delivering customized sessions for numerous clients and presenting at professional conferences allowed Ali to collaborate with thousands of youth development professionals annually.
Utilizing her background as an educator, facilitator, and consultant, Ali offers a unique perspective while providing meaningful support to programs. She has received certifications in Mindfulness Fundamentals and Mental Health First Aid, as part of her commitment to expanding her knowledge of social and emotional learning. She enjoys developing tools to help organizations enhance the positive impact on the audiences they serve. In addition to her professional role, Ali volunteers for a number of organizations throughout New York City, allowing her to channel her enthusiasm for relationship building and the summer camp experience.
Therese Workman (she/her) has dedicated her career to supporting communities through economic development, higher education, and youth development initiatives. Her most recent experience was developing future-of-work education programs for low-income individuals at Samaschool, where she designed and delivered in-person and web-based curricula and workforce training programs. In this role, Therese partnered with over twenty community organizations, CUNY central and campus staff, and government agencies to enhance their job readiness programming. She has an array of previous experiences in learner support in higher education, from her posts with the Fulbright Program at the Institute of International Education and with Columbia University's Office of Global Programs.
Therese is also a skilled communications professional, having managed online content including websites, blogs, and social media as Senior Manager of Digital Content Strategies at ExpandED Schools. She has an AB in Visual and Environmental Studies and a Master of Education, both from Harvard University.