Kristin Morse | Executive Director
Kristin brings a 25-year commitment to poverty reduction to her leadership role at the Center. She spent much of the last decade leading New York City’s Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO), an incubator of cutting-edge anti-poverty initiatives in the Mayor’s Office that won the prestigious Kennedy School Award for Innovations in American Government. She had a major role in developing programs that doubled the community college graduation rate, dramatically increased services for disconnected and justice-involved youth, and changed the way poverty is measured. She previously worked with local government leaders in Russia and co-authored a textbook on public policy in economies in transition, piloted education reforms in Brooklyn that were adopted by the New York City Department of Education, researched housing and homelessness issues, and developed and administered programs for battered women. Kristin holds a bachelor’s degree from Simon’s Rock of Bard College and is a proud alumna of Milano’s urban policy graduate program at The New School.
Sarah Bancone | Visiting Researcher and Advocate, Gender Equality
Sarah is a visiting researcher and advocate for gender equality at the Center for New York City Affairs. She is committed to creating meaningful change in communities, and her research work focuses on the gender pay gap in the United States. In addition to writing and organizing at the Center, Sarah works full-time in the finance department at a top tier global law firm. In her graduate work, Sarah specialized in policy analysis and evaluation and participated in a variety of competitions including the UNICEF Global Design Challenge and the CUNY-IMB Watson Case Competition. Her masters’ thesis focused on microfinance in New York City. She graduated from Baruch College, CUNY with a M.P.A. and from SUNY Geneseo with B.A. in Mathematics.
Rachael Bongiorno | Website Editor, Feet in 2 Worlds
Rachael is a New York City-based multimedia journalist and community media practitioner from Melbourne, Australia. She has produced pieces for Deutsche Welle, ABC Australia, Democracy Now!, SBS Radio Australia, Free Speech Radio News, and 3CR Radio. Before coming to New York, Rachael worked for many years as a project manager in multilingual and multicultural community broadcasting throughout Australia as well as in community development more broadly. She has an Arts (Honours) degree from the University of Melbourne and is currently completing a master’s in media studies at the New School, where she is also a collaborator with the Engage Media Lab.
Ashley Buchalter | Event Coordinator
As event coordinator at the Center for New York City Affairs, Ashley helps to plan, organize, and host the Center's public events. She is working towards her master’s degree, studying governance and rights at The New School for Public Engagement. She is interested in the intersection of civil society organizing and public policy formation, especially within urban environments. She has over five years’ experience as a community organizer, domestically and abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer. Before moving to New York for graduate school, Ashley was working in Atlanta with the Dance 411 Foundation, an arts-based education provider serving schools with limited arts programming resources.
Anton Cannatella | Participatory Research Assistant
Anton is a Youth advocate with personal experience in the criminal justice system. He is working with the Center to develop the Incredible Messenger Institute.Anton is a mentor/advocate at South Bronx AIM-Youth Advocate Programs. He is a restorative justice practitioner and has experience facilitating workshops on conflict resolution, “know your rights”, and songwriting. He has worked with many system involved youth, advocating for them in court and helping them to attain their employment and education goals.
Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang | Manager of Engagement and Technology, Feet in 2 Worlds
Keira manages fundraising, development, the website and social media platforms at Feet in 2 Worlds. She was a triple-major in ballet, astrophysics, and philosophy at the University of Utah before pursuing cultural and arts management at American University in Washington, DC. After graduation, Keira worked at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters. She then came to New York to work at City Center Theater, followed by a two-year stint in venture capital. Moving to San Francisco, she served as executive director of Yannis Adoniou’s KUNST-STOFF dance company for several years before becoming a full-time freelance photographer, graphic designer and web developer. On returning to NY in 2010, Keira became executive director of the Kate Weare Company of dancers and continues to pursue projects at the intersection of technology and the arts.
Seaira Christian-Daniels | Project Coordinator, Insideschools.org
Seaira supports all aspects of Insideschools operations, from website updates to visiting and writing about New York City public schools. She is currently a master’s degree candidate in International Affairs at The New School, specializing in international development. Prior to joining Insideschools, Seaira worked in the fellowships and grants department at the American Association of University Women in Washington, D.C., and led study abroad trips for college students in Costa Rica and Ecuador. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and Spanish from Ohio University’s Honors Tutorial College.
Bruce Cory | Editorial Advisor
Bruce provides editorial advice for all the Center’s projects and events. He has written for and about New York City government for close to 30 years. From 2002 until 2014 he was senior speechwriter for Mayor Michael Bloomberg and, briefly, Mayor Bill de Blasio. Before that, he was chief speechwriter for Manhattan Borough Presidents Ruth Messinger and C. Virginia Fields. His extensive knowledge of New York City and its government is rooted in his work on “Immigration in New York,” a path-breaking report for the New York Department of City Planning, and for the 1987-89 New York City Charter Revision Commission, for which he wrote and edited newsletters, op-eds, and other publications explaining the most extensive overhaul of city government in a generation. His reporting has appeared in the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Houston Chronicle, Texas Monthly, Texas Observer, and other publications. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, with a bachelor’s degree in history.
Von Diaz | Food Editor, Feet in 2 Worlds
Von is a writer, radio producer and self-taught cook who explores Puerto Rican food, culture and identity through memoir and multimedia. Her work has been featured on NPR, American Public Media, StoryCorps, WNYC, PRI’s The World, BuzzFeed, Colorlines, and Feet in 2 Worlds. She is currently a producer at StoryCorps. Previously, she was editor of Feet in 2 Worlds, which brings the work of immigrant and ethnic media journalists from communities across the U.S. to public radio and the web. Von holds a dual master’s in journalism and Latin American and Caribbean studies from New York University, and a bachelor’s in women’s studies from Agnes Scott College. She was born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia.
Shagana Ehamparam | Research Assistant, Digital Media and Public Engagement
Shagana is a research assistant at the Center, focusing on enhancing its digital media and public engagement. She is also currently pursuing her master’s degree in Urban Policy Analysis and Management at the New School. Before moving to New York, Shagana worked as a communications and events coordinator for Social Innovation Exchange, a global network based in London; she was also a communications assistant for the Wellesley Institute, a research and policy think tank in Toronto. Shagana completed a bachelor’s degree in international business at the Schulich School of Business in Canada, during which she also completed an international management and business communications stream at the Toulouse Business School in France.
Monae Evans | Research Assistant, Children and Families Project
Monae Evans is a research assistant for the Center’s Children and Families project. A native of Philadelphia, Monae has always been interested in urban communities and passionate about ways to achieve positive social change in cities. She is now pursuing a master's degree in urban policy analysis and management at The New School. Monae obtained her undergraduate degree in political science and international affairs from Gettysburg College, where she participated in and led various projects related to homelessness and education policy issues. These areas of interest are ones that Monae would like to continue developing through her work at the Center.
Jocelyn Gonzales | Senior Producer and Technical Director, Feet in 2 Worlds
Jocelyn Gonzales is technical director of Feet in 2 Worlds and co-producer of the Fi2W podcast. She teaches sound design and supervises first-year film production at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She produces The New York Times Book Review, Music Popcast and Times Insider podcasts, and was one of the sound designers for the Modern Love animated series on NYT Video. As a public radio reporter and producer, her work has appeared on WNYC, Studio 360, Soundcheck, Marketplace, Weekend America, Sound Money, Radiolab, Musicians Radio and Minnesota Public Radio. She works in post-sound for short films and film documentaries. Gonzales helped launch the Soundworks podcast network for PRI Public Radio International, and has presented workshop sessions for Feet in 2 Worlds, NYU Abu Dhabi, NYS Youth Leadership Council, School of Visual Arts, CORO Immigrant Civic Leadership Program, and the AIR Full Spectrum Storytelling Intensive at Union Docs.
Kerry Hayes | Research Assistant
Kerry conducts research on racial disparities surrounding labor and wages in New York City. As a United States Army veteran, Kerry is passionate about racial and gender equality. Kerry is currently pursuing a master's in Urban Policy and Management at The New School. He previously spent 13 years working as a Child Abuse Investigator for New York City's Administration for Children's Services.
Clara Hemphill | Director of Education Policy and Insideschools
Clara is the founder of the Insideschools website. She leads the Center's policy work on economic segregation of the city's schools, examining why there are schools with high concentrations of poverty even in mixed income neighborhoods. The New York Times called her three books designed to help parents choose good public elementary, middle, and high schools for their children “the most definitive guides” to the city’s schools. New York magazine called her one of the 200 most “influential” New Yorkers for her work “empowering parents.” As a reporter and editorial writer for New York Newsday, she shared the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting. New York magazine called her writing on the homeless “worthy of Dickens.” She was a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press and a producer for CBS News based in Rome. Clara lives in Manhattan with her husband, Robert Snyder. Their two children, now grown, attended New York City public schools from kindergarten through high school.
Kendra Hurley | Senior Editor
Kendra heads up the Center's children and families project, where she investigates child welfare, child care, homelessness, juvenile justice, mental health and other critical issues impacting New York City's families and communities. Her own writing has appeared in such publications as The New York Times, O! The Oprah Magazine and USA Today. Her reporting on teen adoption received an award from the Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism. Before coming to the Center in 2008, Kendra launched an online journal covering the youth media field for the Open Society Institute. For several years, she edited Represent, an award-winning magazine written by and for teens in foster care. While mentoring these young writers, she received a prestigious Partnership for After School Education (PASE) award. She has a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing from Columbia University.
Abigail Kramer | Editor
Abigail specializes in policy issues impacting low-income children, youth and families in New York City—especially those in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. Her research and advocacy work, along with that of her colleagues, has led to major policy reforms in child welfare and early education. Before turning to journalism and advocacy, she worked for several years with homeless youth and young people involved in the criminal justice system in California. Abigail holds a bachelor’s in comparative studies in race and ethnicity from Stanford University and a master’s in journalism from New York University. Her writing has appeared in publications such as Salon.com, the Daily News, Politico New York, City & State and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
Nicole Mader | Senior Research Fellow
Nicole manages the statistical data on Insideschools and contributes research, analysis and data visualization to the Center’s k-12 education policy research projects. Before coming to the Center, she taught high school social studies for six years at Samuel Gompers CTE High School in the South Bronx and Lyons Community School in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She holds a master’s in secondary social studies education from Fordham University and a bachelor’s in political science from Davidson College. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in public and urban policy at The Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy at The New School, where her focus is on the potential for integrated student supports to reduce the impact of poverty on educational outcomes in New York City public schools.
Dennis Mapp | Program Facilitator, Institute for Transformative mentoring
Dennis Mapp is the Program Facilitator for the ITM program. As the lead instructor for the course, Dennis delivers high-quality training to meet the needs of the Credible Messenger workforce. He brings years of experience developing curriculum and facilitating training and support programs for Credible Messengers and under-resourced youth. Prior to joining The New School, Dennis worked with youth in Southeast Queens at Life Camp Inc. He developed an entrepreneur boot camp, Glocks to Socks, for young men and women that teaches brand creation, pricing and marketing, discipline, and leadership skills. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management/Leadership from Nyack College. Dennis is a Queens’ native where he dedicates his life to helping rebuild his community by advocating equal education and youth development.
Minerva Muzquiz | Visiting Researcher and Advocate, Gender Equality
Minerva is a researcher and advocate for gender equality at the Center, and serves as the Director of Administration of The New School’s Milano School. Her research focuses on the gender pay gap in the United States and she is a research assistant for Professor Lisa Servon, author of the forthcoming book, “The Unbanking of America: How the New Middle Class Survives.” Minerva is co-founder of Women at The New School, an organization that unites women from across the University, to enable community, promote equity, and advocate for work-life balance. She is also a charter member of New School’s Staff on Race. Minerva earned her M.S. in Urban Policy Analysis and Management with a specialization in Finance from The New School and a B.A. in Sociology and Women's Studies from Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
Kim Nauer | Education Research Director
Kim founded the Center for New York City Affairs Schools Watch Initiative, a project focused on creating a more effective school system for the city’s most disadvantaged students. She also assists Insideschools with research and data analysis. Kim has co-authored major reports on New York City school administration and accountability, high school reform, chronic absenteeism, college preparation and Common Core implementation. She is the lead author of “FAFSA: The How-To Guide for High School Students,” which has been distributed to more than 85,000 students in New York City and nationwide. Before joining the Center, Kim directed strategic initiatives at The Nation Institute. Kim was also executive director of City Limits magazine and the Center for an Urban Future and an award-winning journalist for many years prior. Kim earned her bachelor's degree at the University of Connecticut and a master's degree at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
Anne Noyes Saini | Food Editor, Feet in 2 Worlds
Anne produces The Sporkful food podcast at WNYC and is co-creator of the MOTHER podcast. She covers food culture, immigration, women and the elderly in New York City — especially in Queens, where she lives. She has contributed to The New York Times, Latino USA, PRI: The World, Narratively, Serious Eats, and VICE, among others. She has a bachelor’s in English from Smith College and a master’s in journalism from New York University.
Brandon Overby | Participatory Research Assistant
Brandon is a credible messenger/mentor with personal experience in the criminal justice system. He is working with the Center to develop the Incredible Messenger Institute. He is certified in restorative justice practice and interactive journalism (a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy intervention designed for formerly incarcerated youth). He formerly worked as a youth advocate and mentor at Community Connections for Youth. Brandon has extensive experience developing curricula, facilitating group counseling sessions and delivering workshops on positive youth development. He has presented to hundreds of youth in juvenile detention centers. As a mentor, Brandon has assisted many formerly incarcerated people in developing skills to become productive members in their communities. He is a Brownsville Brooklyn native where he strives to help his community through education and positive youth development.
Sajjadur Rahman | Program Director, Institute for Transformative Mentoring
Saj Rahman directs the Institute for Transformative Mentoring, a training program for Credible Messengers who use their experience to work with young adults to reduce incarceration and violence. Saj has more than a decade of experience in youth development, community based research, curriculum development, advocacy and non-profit management. Saj has designed and implemented programs in New York City that foster personal transformation and build leadership skills among formerly incarcerated credible messengers. Saj previously served as the founding director of Arches Alumni Academy for Advancement at Community Connections for Youth. Saj graduated with a bachelor and master’s degrees in Psychology from Wesleyan University. He received the 2006 Holzberg Fellowship in Clinical and Community Psychology.
Lydie Raschka | Writer and Reporter, Insideschools.org
Lydie reviews schools and writes for the Insideschools blog. She is a graduate of Bank Street College and is interested in education in all its forms. With Clara Hemphill, she co-authored a 2015 report called “Conquering Teachers’ Math Anxiety.” Lydie is a former public school teacher (grades 1-3) and continues to work as a Montessori teacher-trainer during the summers. Her son attended public school in Manhattan. As a teacher, parent, writer and consultant she has been inside hundreds of New York City schools.
Gail Robinson | Contributor, Insideschools.org
Gail has been visiting schools and contributing write-ups and blog posts to Insideschools since 2012. An independent writer on education and other policy issues and an adjunct professor of journalism at Baruch College/CUNY, Gail was editor-in-chief of Gotham Gazette and has covered politics and environmental issues. Her article on Brooklyn’s John Dewey High School won a first prize for education reporting from the Education Writers Association. Gail’s two children attended New York City public schools.
John Rudolph | Executive Producer, Feet in 2 Worlds
John created Fi2W to bring the work of immigrant and ethnic media journalists and underreported stories from immigrant communities to audiences on public radio and online. He has been a radio journalist for four decades, working as a program host, reporter, editor and producer of documentaries, podcasts and news reports. John has covered a wide range of subjects, including presidential election campaigns and global environmental issues, for National Public Radio and Monitor Radio (the broadcast service of the Christian Science Monitor). After the attacks on 9/11 he led a team of more than 50 journalists and audio engineers to produce a series of hour-long, six-month-after documentaries. His work has won numerous journalism awards including multiple awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for programs produced by Feet in 2 Worlds. John developed a journalism course based on Feet in 2 Worlds for graduate-level students at The New School, and has taught radio journalism at Boston University.
Aimee Sabo | Reporter and Copy Editor, Insideschools.org
Aimee writes and edits content for the Insideschools website and serves as a copy editor for other Center projects and policy briefs. She has visited elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the city and continues to be inspired by the dedication and creativity of the students, parents and educators she meets. Before joining Insideschools, she served on the Board of the Lungevity Foundation, raising much-needed funds for research in lung cancer. Always a passionate writer, Aimee got her start as an associate editor at Time Out New York magazine, covering every facet of pop culture in New York City, from literary events to restaurants. She enjoys drawing on her varied background to inform her work at the Center where she hopes to be a voice for positive change in education and human rights.
Janie Ziye Shen | Research Assistant, Children and Families Project
Janie is a research assistant in the children and families project. Before moving to New York, she was based in Beirut and worked for Save the Children on a regional child protection project in Lebanon, Palestine and Yemen as well as actively organizing the local migrant workers community to fight for better rights and working conditions. Born in China, Janie grew up in Sweden and completed her undergraduate degree in the United Kingdom. Janie is currently a M.A. candidate in International Affairs at The New School where she pursues her research interest on issues related to migration, refugees, and human rights.
Jeff Smith | Faculty Fellow
Jeff is assistant professor of urban policy at the Milano Graduate School, where he teaches courses on urban political economy, policy analysis, campaign management, legislative strategy, and incarceration. He has organized and moderated a dozen Center events since 2011. Previously, Jeff represented St. Louis City in the Missouri Senate. He's written three books: Trading Places, on U.S. partisan realignment; Mr. Smith Goes to Prison, a prison memoir and argument for reform; and Ferguson in Black and White, an analysis of the Missouri town's unrest. He has published articles in various academic journals, contributed chapters to four edited volumes, and written op-eds for the New York Times, Politico Magazine, CNN.com, and others. Jeff serves on the national advisory boards of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program and American Prison Data Systems. He earned a B.A. in African-American Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and a Ph.D. in Political Science at Washington University.
Emily Springer | Manager of Finance and Administration
Emily manages the Center’s grant funds and expenses, writes grant proposals and reports, manages independent and vendor contracts, and supervises the events team. A recent graduate of the nonprofit management program at The New School’s Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy, Emily worked as teaching assistant for financial management in nonprofit organizations and research assistant for the Center. While pursuing her degree, she also worked as a live-in intern and administrative assistant at the Bowery Mission Women's Center, a residential recovery program for homeless women. Previously, Emily worked with a variety of nonprofit and community organizations dedicated to ending cycles of poverty and empowering individuals to be agents of change in their communities. She received her bachelor’s in psychology, Spanish, and international affairs at the University of California, Davis.
Rachel Stevens | Social Media Director, Feet in 2 Worlds
Rachel initially joined Feet in 2 Worlds as an immigration lab intern in 2015 to support Feet in 2 Worlds’ partnership with Americas Quarterly, a Latin American policy magazine published by Americas Society/Council of the Americas. Upon completion of the internship, she transitioned to a role coordinating Feet in 2 Worlds’ social media posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Rachel became passionate about immigration issues while working with a large number of immigrants as a case manager at Clinica Family Health Services, a community health center in Adams County, Colorado. Rachel is fluent in Spanish and has lived in Spain, Costa Rica, and Zambia. She is currently pursuing a master’s in international affairs with a concentration in media and culture at The New School.
Mahalia Watson | Contributor, Insideschools.org
Mahalia visits schools, writes reviews, and contributes to reporting for Insideschools.org. She is passionate about increasing awareness of schools that serve their communities well, despite conventional belief about their performance based on test scores. She is the founder of Let’s Talk Schools, which produces events and provides services that inform and educate parents and families so that they can make good-fit education choices from pre-kindergarten through high school. She has been a project manager and producer in print and broadcast production for more than 15 years. Her son attends a public school in Manhattan.
Jacqueline Wayans | Contributor, Insideschools.org
Jacquie is the outreach coordinator and on-camera voice of Insideschools. She offers workshops and advice for parents on school choice. She is a co-author of the “New York City Best Public School” guides and has visited more than 350 city schools. Most important, she is the mom of three children who’ve all successfully completed their education in New York City public schools. Her passion is to inform low-income and minority communities about all of the options available to them.
Pamela Wheaton | Managing Editor, Insideschools.org
Pam is one of the founding members of Insideschools. She edits the Insideschools blog, reviews schools, leads workshops about school choice and New York City public schools, and oversees editorial content. She collaborated with Clara Hemphill on a series of books about New York City’s best public schools. Pam’s background is in journalism: She was a producer of PBS television programs and a reporter and editor at the Buenos Aires Herald. Her two daughters graduated from New York City public schools.
Mick Wieland | Graphic Designer
Mick contributes to Center projects on a freelance basis. A skilled designer in both print and digital, he strives to bring style and continuity to all he does. With a B.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts, Mick’s long history of success has included design and art direction roles in creative agencies, media firms and publishing houses in New York.
Ben (Cincere) Wilson | Program Assistant, Institute for Transformative Mentoring
Ben Wilson is a Program Assistant for the Institute for Transformative Mentoring, where he leads trainings, offers college and career counseling, and coordinates program operations. He also serves as a high school equivalency instructor at Exodus Transitional Community Inc. and has personal experience with the criminal justice system. For over 15 years, he has facilitated GED, mentoring, poetry, and theater programs in correctional facilities. He designed a creative writing course with the primary focus on college prep. As a mentor, Ben has helped young men navigate the pitfalls of the street life that leads to prison by helping them focus on formal and informal educational pursuits. While helping these young men, he won an “Honorable Mention” award for his submission to the prestigious PEN Prison Writing contest (2015). Ben obtained a bachelor’s degree from Bard College.
Edward Yau | Software Engineer, Insideschools.org
Ed is a New York City parent of two young children and software engineer with over 15 years’ experience in that field. He built NYC sage, which was an award-winning mobile website (NYC BigApps 3.0) for finding New York City pre-k programs, when he was trying to find a school for his son. He has since taken NYS sage to Insideschools, where he handles the technical aspects of the website.
Laura Zingmond | Senior Editor, Insideschools.org
Laura reviews schools, writes for the Insideschools blog, advises parents on school choice, and contributes to policy research for Insideschools and the Center. She has visited hundreds of schools across the city and led the research on middle and high schools for a multiyear project evaluating science and math instruction. Previously, Laura worked as a litigation attorney and administrative law judge. Since 2014, she has served as Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s appointee to the New York City Panel for Educational Policy. Laura is a lifelong New Yorker and her two children are the fourth generation in her family to have attended the city’s public schools. She holds a bachelor’s from the University of Michigan and a law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.