Forest Trees

Background & Experience

I've always had a passion for public service and have been volunteering my time to causes and communities that I care about for as long as I can remember. I graduated from Loyola University New Orleans in May 2003 with a BA in both Political Science and Sociology. I continued my education a couple of years later by receiving a Master's of Public Administration from NYU's Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service with a focus in non-profit management and policy. Nearly 20 years of operational experience has left me equipped with a number of skills that leave me ideally suited to serve as a member of Pleasantville's Board of Education:

  • Extensive budgeting, financial management and forecasting experience: I currently oversee an annual budget of $150+ million and have managed the full spectrum of revenue resources, including government grants and contracts. I have real-world experience in thinking creatively about budget management, mitigating risk and identifying opportunities to use resources in the most effective and efficient manner possible.

  • Deep knowledge and experience with HR practices: I have managed staff directly and indirectly for nearly 15 years. Through that experience, I've learned about not only legal practices but also best practices in managing and developing staff. Additionally, I have navigated the administration of benefits packages and even actively worked to negotiate more competitive benefits at lower employer cost. I have also worked in an environment with unionized workers and am familiar with the union negotiation process.

  • Background in advocacy and legislative action: In my prior work, I have been directly responsible for advocating at the state level for legislative change, including working with lawmakers to draft and sponsor legislation, changing the way that resources are allocated in the state budget and- perhaps most importantly- building coalitions with other stakeholders.

  • Experience developing and implementing strategic plans: A key element of many of my roles has been the development of key strategic priorities and ensuring the implementation (or adaptation) of those priorities. Furthermore, I was actively involved in the District's most recent strategic planning process so I'm very familiar with our goals and how they came to be developed.

  • Expertise in physical safety and security protocols: Developing our physical security infrastructure and best practices for security protocols is a critical part of my current role. I've had the opportunity to work closely with some of our nation's most respected security experts and I would truly welcome the opportunity to lend that expertise and fresh perspective to our District's safety planning process.

  • Consensus building, collaboration and strong communication: These are all critical elements of my past and current roles. An effective leader must be able to listen and understand a variety of experiences and perspectives in order to come to the best possible solutions, particularly when the path forward isn't clear. As a member of the Pleasantville BOE, this would also be a vitally important skill. The role of the board is to listen to the students, the faculty and staff, and the community in order to produce the best possible outcomes for the District. In addition to that, it is critical that the board be accountable and transparent to the voters so that the lines of communication remain clear and trust is maintained.

  • Understanding the teacher perspective: Outside of my professional experience, I have been lucky to spend the last decade married to a gifted special education teacher and artist. She has taught me about the joys and challenges of being a teacher- both before COVID and during. Watching what she is able to accomplish for her students leaves me both in awe of that impact that teachers are capable of having on their students but also accutely aware of the burden that they carry and the number of roles that we ask them to fill each day. I am so grateful for everything that our teachers bring to their work and I would welcome the opportunity to ensure that we do everything possible to set them- as well as our students- up for success.

Throughout my career, I've held a number of positions as an operational leader in the non-profit sector, including (but not limited to):
 

  • Chief Operating Officer, NEO Philanthropy (current role): Oversight of $150 million annual budget with an organization of 275+ employees, leads the finance, operations, HR and legal functions, as well as two of our core programmatic initiatives. During my tenure, we have successfully grown our budget by almost 400% and increased our staff size by even more while also implementing new operational systems and improving our physical security.

  • Division Administrator- Division of Comparative Effectiveness and Decision Science, NYU School of Medicine Department of Population Health: Served as primary financial and operations lead for research department at NYU SOM with a budget of over $15 million with 40+ grants of varied sizes and sources with a team of 50+ faculty and staff.

  • Director of Operations, Bellevue/ NYU Program for Survivors of Torture: Served as primary financial and operations officer for direct service and advocacy organization with a budget of $2.5 million with revenue sources coming from individual donors, foundation grants, corporate grants and government grants and contracts; managed the day-to-day operations of treatment center, including facilities, IT & telecommunications, vendor and consultant relationships, etc., oversaw relationship with both the advisory and fiduciary boards, and managed a staff of 20+ researchers and direct service providers.

  • Director of Incubator Management, Fund for the City of New York: Maintained a portfolio of projects and served as direct supervisor for other portfolio managers. Lead the creation of system and resources to serve the needs of a growing program. Managed the financial sustainability and planning for 15+ projects during a national recession and ensured that those organizations were able to survive and continue providing much-needed services.

  • Portfolio Manager, Fund for the City of New York: Worked closely with a number of direct service and advocacy organizations that did not have their own 501c3 status. Supported them in creating and managing their budgets, oversight of government contracts and invoicing (federal, state and local), tracking of all lobbying activity, liaised with their advisory boards and managed other operational needs.