Before taking the role as Executive Director in August 2013, Christopher Hanway oversaw Riis Settlement’s fund development and marketing strategy and implementation. He began his career at Riis Settlement as grants manager and has been development director since September 2010. He has more than 11 years of fundraising experience, most notably at New York Weill Cornell Medical Center/New York-Presbyterian Hospital. A graduate of Hunter College of CUNY, Mr. Hanway holds a Masters of Public Administration at Baruch College’s Executive MPA program.
Carol Nurse has nearly three decades experience in non-profit accounting, finance and fiscal management. After working for 10 years in the non-profit sector, Ms. Nurse joined Riis Settlement in 1993 to manage an organizational budget of $600,050. Today, with an organizational budget over $3 million, she provides leadership in accounting, financial reporting, budgeting, human resources and internal operations. Ms. Nurse holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Brooklyn College.
Gary Phillip Anthony
Gary Phillip Anthony provides critical administrative support to the Executive Director of Riis Settlement. Having previously interned with U.N. Watch in Geneva, Switzerland and the New York State Senate in St. Albans, NY, Gary joined Riis Settlement in September 2011 as a Volunteer Coordinator from NYC Civic Corps and was rehired for his current position in August 2012. Gary graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 2010 with a B.A. in International Relations and Political Science.
Human Resources Associate
Linda Ramirez joined Riis Settlement as Human Resources Associate in May 2013. She has worked in various capacities at numerous non-profit and human services organizations including Reading Area Community College in Pennsylvania, Justice Works Youthcare and the Council on Chemical Abuse. Linda also has a strong background in administration in the for-profit sector, including for such organizations as L’Oreal USA amd Peter E. Greenberg & Associates, where she assisted Latin American professional baseball players with their immigration applications. Fluent in Spanish, she studied Early Childhood Education at Long Island University.
Aimée Maude Simpierre
Director of Development and Communications
Aimée Maude Simpierre joined the fund development team in September of 2011. She completed non-profit management training with the Arts and Business Council, worked as a development officer for Manna House Workshops (East Harlem’s longest running cultural arts organization) and currently serves on its board. She holds a B.S. in urban affairs/political science from Barnard College and an M.S. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She spent nearly a decade working on the national news desk of The Associated Press before starting the independent, open-and-affirming Christian book publishing company, NuWine Press.
Senior Director of Youth Services
Judith has over 10 years experience in the non-profit social service world and was the Director of Youth Services at Grand Street Settlement’s Pitt Street site since 2007. In that capacity, Judith oversaw multiple youth programs with a budget of over $1.2 million funded by numerous government contracts and private grants. Judith received her B.S. in Community Health Education from the College of Mount Saint Vincent and has particular experience in HIV/AIDS, STD, and Pregnancy Prevention, at such organizations as Prison Health Services and Bronx AIDS Services, Inc. She will complete her Master’s in Public Administration at Metropolitan College of New York later this year. Judith is passionate about transforming young people’s lives and brings a strong track record and solid experience in youth development principles, program design, personnel development, and contract & budget management.
Teen Services Program Coordinator (Queensbridge)
Natalie Durand has provided administrative and programmatic support for Adolescent Services since 2009. During her tenure at Riis Settlement, she has advanced from administrative assistant to the Program Coordinator of the Riis Academy Queensbridge Teen Services.She currently oversees the day-to-day operations of our teen programs which includes high-school evening programs, our SYEP program and the College Access program. Natalie brings a wealth of knowledge, skills, and ability in Youth Development practices and principals. With a Bachelors degree in Business Administration from York College of CUNY, Natalie is well equipped to handle contractual obligations for Teen Services.
Program Data Specialist
Ngalula Fleurant is responsible for the maintenance and quality control of Riis Settlement’s client reporting and evaluation systems. Her expertise includes over three years in broad-based research in various fields such as Education, Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Coping Mechanism. Ngalula is currently completing her Masters in Psychology at Hunter College.
OST Elementary Program Coordinator, Queensbridge
Veronica Franklin started her career at Riis Settlement as a tutor in 1997, and has climbed the career ladder to a leadership role overseeing the elementary school program. She oversees our OST Elementary after-school, summer camp and holiday/weekend programs. Under her leadership, she has improved youth’s performance in reading and math, maintained high program retention rates and has helped create a true continuum of services so students can remain at Riis Academy from elementary through high school. Ms. Franklin was awarded the 2011 PASEsetters Award, NAACP Martin Luther King Jr. Service Award and the Bank of America Local Hero Award in 2007.
Riis Academy Program Director (P.S. 166)
Iftikhar Mahmud started as a participant at Riis Academy in the 6th grade. After graduating in 2001, he joined the Riis Settlement team as a Program Aide. Throughout the years, Iftikhar moved up through various leadership positions, including being an instrumental leader in holding down the 2013 summer program at our Ravenswood campus. Iftikhar is now directly responsible for for the oversight of our OST Elementary after-school and summer camp programs at P.S. 166. Iftikhar received his B.A. in Psychology from Queens College and hopes to pursue a Masters program next year.
Riis Academy Center Director (Ravenswood)
Lavern Maison served as program coordinator at various Riis Academy sites for over seven years. She is now responsible for the oversight of all youth, teen & community programs at Ravenswood. This includes oversight of our Cornerstone and YMI programs as well as the implementation of our Riis Academy core components such as gender-specific, STEM and College Access Programs. She has worked in the non-profit sector for nearly a decade and has experience in international relief and HIV/AIDS programming. Ms. Maison has a B.A. in economics and anthropology and an M.A. in international development.
Riis Academy Center Director, Queensbridge
Pleshette McKnight, who has been serving as Director of Adolescent Services since May 2011 has now transitioned into our Riis Academy Center Director at Queensbridge. Pleshette is responsible for the management of all youth services programs and program coordinators at our Queensbridge Community Center. This includes oversight of our OST Elementary, OST Middle School, and teen programs which is aligned with our continuum of change model as well as the implementation our Riis Academy core components such as gender-specific, academic and STEM. Over the past 12 years, Ms. Pleshette has worked in the non-profit sector at various community-based organizations such as TASC and East Side House Settlement. She was awarded the 1999 fellowship honor from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, where she received a BFA and MFA.
OST Middle-School Program Coordinator, Queensbridge
Maurice Rawls is directly responsible for the after-school and summer programs for our middle school youth. He also assists with the implementation of our Gender-specific and STEM initiatives for our middle school-age youth. During his three and a half years in youth development, he has served as a tutor (Champion Learning Center), a youth facilitator (Camba) and education coordinator (Grand Street Settlement). Maurice received his B.A. in History with a minor in African-American studies at Oswego State University and is currently perusing his Masters in African- American History at Brooklyn College.
Riis Academy Program Director (Information Technology High School)
Sheirly is responsible for the day- to- day operations of our Info-Tech high school program. She has a wide range of experience with over seven years working in non-profit and youth programs. After earning her Bachelors in Psychology from SUNY Old Westbury, Sheirly went on to receive her M.S. in Educational Counseling from Alfred University. She has worked with companies such as Harlem Children’s Zone and Goodwill Industries and is dedicated to providing guidance to at risk inner city youth. Prior to her role at Riis Settlement, Sheirly was the Director of a beacon community-based program where she was responsible for contract & budget management and oversaw all responsibilities of servicing a minimum of 150 participants.
Director of Immigrant Services
Karina Wegman has several years experience working with immigrants in the U.S. and filing immigration documents and maintaining client records. She worked with the International Rescue Committee in Seattle, Washington, to implement a successful legal services program for their immigrants. Ms. Wegman has a B.A. in international studies with a focus on human rights from the University of Washington.
Driftnery Martinez spent several years working with immigrants from diverse cultures and backgrounds prior to taking on the role of Program Coordinator/Paralegal at Riis Settlement. She worked with the International Rescue Committee in New York, NY and Elizabeth, NJ providing direct services to refugees, asylees, parolees, and other eligible immigrants applying for immigration related benefits. Driftnery also traveled to Sierra Leone as a KidsGive intern and assisted refugees and internally displaced people by distributing school supplies and educational scholarships to children in Freetown and Mattru Jong, Sierra Leone. Ms. Martinez holds a B.A. in Government from Lawrence University.
Immigrant Community Advocate
Monique Owens serves as the Immigrant Community Advocate/Organizer for Riis Settlement. She works in depth with the local immigrant population and Riis Settlement’s Community Action Group to develop a comprehensive and relevant agenda for action based on community needs. Monique also provides assistance to immigrant families by connecting them with available resources and services. Prior to working with Riis Settlement, Monique served as the Legislative Aide for council member David A. Rivera in Buffalo, NY. She has a B.A. in international studies with a joint degree in global gender studies from the University at Buffalo.
Director of Senior Services
Robert Madison is responsible for the overall management of the senior center. Since joining the Riis Settlement team in February, 2011, he has established an innovative vision for the future of the center by introducing new projects, such as a community garden and a cultural program, Jazz At Riis, that brings live music concerts to the senior center. Before joining Riis Settlement, he served as senior manager for Harlem Children’s Zone and as the executive director for Project Reach Youth, Inc. He holds a Masters in Public Health from Hunter College.
Felicia Artis comes with to Jacob Riis with work experience from across a variety of human service fields and a broad client base. Ms. Artis will be working with seniors to provide resources that will help participants navigate through various life challenges with less difficulty. She will use her inherent compassion, empathy and prior experience working at a NORC senior center, to help Riis Settlement’s participants achieve their potential. She is looking forward to helping our older adults strengthen their social support systems, improve their quality of life and become stakeholders in their own communities. Felicia has a special interest in working with seniors as she feels they are the forgotten generation. She considers herself to be an encourager and likes to lift people up and help others to enhance their personal and professional development. Ms. Artis recently completed training at Out Reach Institute and received a Certificate to complete her requirement for certification in Substance Abuse Counseling. She holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from Hunter College and is a member of the National Association of Social Workers.
Robbin Davis has been with Riis Settlement for 13 years, and has extensive experience providing support services to senior programs. Ms. Davis’ responsibilities include providing coordination and scheduling of program activities and critical clerical support. Ms. Davis previously worked as a school aide with the NYC Department of Education and as a clerical aide with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development.