LISTED IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER BY LAST NAME and UPDATED AUGUST 2023
Maria Aveledo is an operations and strategy professional with experience in startups, growth stage companies and large financial institutions. As the Chief Business Officer at Octane, a financial technology company, she leads the organization's Operations, Strategy, and Human Resource departments. During her tenure at the company, she has launched a variety of departments, hired and trained teams, and created processes and policies that have supported the company's fast-paced growth. Maria received her B.S. in Business Administration from Georgetown University and her M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Maria is originally from Caracas, Venezuela. Maria joined the Board in 2022.
Sydney Blair is a long-time educator with broad and complex administrative experience leading alternative programs and schools in the New York City Department of Education. She led Passages Academy, an educational program serving court-involved youth, and Project Quest, a $5M federal grant program for English Language Learners and teacher certification. Sydney joined the Board in 2018 and she serves on the Board Academic and Facilities Committees.
Ken Blomster (Secretary) joined the Board in 2023 and serves as Secretary of the Board.
Joanne Carris is an experienced educator with broad knowledge in special education and bilingual education. Joanne spent 12 years as a Learning Specialist in the New York City DOE designing and implementing literacy programs, training teachers, and providing one-on-one instructional support to students with special needs. In 2008, Joanne founded, and is currently the CEO of Premier Tutors, a professional service that provides expert tutors to work with students in individualized learning and guidance to enhance academic achievement. Joanne authored a book about students with learning differences entitled Ghosts of No Child Left Behind and co-authored a chapter in Teacher Evaluation: The Charge and the Challenges. Joanne earned a BA at the University of Michigan, MAs in Special and Bilingual Education, Philosophy of Education at Bank Street College and a PhD in Education at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Joanne joined the Board in 2017 and she is a member of the Board Academic and Development Committees.
Bruce Greenwald (Treasurer) has been a Senior Managing Director of AEP Capital LLC and its predecessors (AEP) since 1989. AEP is a specialized investment/merchant banking firm located in New York. Prior to joining AEP, Bruce was a partner with Arthur Young & Company (a predecessor of Ernst & Young) where in addition to managing the tax services provided to several of its largest clients, he served as the firm’s Northeast Region Director of Taxes and was a member of the firm’s National Tax Operating Committee. Bruce was a founder of the Greenwald Professional Development Grant Program under the auspices of the Montclair Foundation for Education Excellence in Montclair, NJ. Bruce currently serves as a director of Crème de la Crème Inc. and has served as a director of a number of portfolio companies held by AEP as well as various philanthropic organizations. Bruce received a BS in Business Economics and an MBA in Finance from the University of Rochester. Bruce joined the Board in 2009 and is the Treasurer and Board Finance Committee Chair, and serves on the Board Facilities Committee.
Paul Libretta (Chairman of the Board) is an experienced legal and management professional with a successful career in international banking and financial markets. His expertise is grounded in legal and business matters, including acquisitions, capital markets, asset management, strategic partnerships, corporate governance, regulatory affairs, compliance, and litigation management, as well as data privacy and security. Paul previously worked in private practice for two corporate law firms in New York City, was General Counsel for Credigy, a specialty finance company, and is currently a corporate lawyer for the National Bank of Canada, as Head of Legal and Compliance for U.S. operations. Prior to his legal career, Paul served his country in the U.S. Army achieving the rank of Captain. He graduated with a BS from U.S. Military Academy, at West Point, and obtained a JD, with honors, from Brooklyn Law School. Paul joined the Board in 2019, and serves as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees and sits on the Board Facilities and Governance Committees.
Jane Ehrenberg Rosen (Vice President) has spent her entire career in education as a teacher, a curriculum director and a principal in outstanding public and independent schools in the Midwest and on the East Coast. Most recently at Trinity School in Manhattan, she restructured the Middle School. As Director of Instruction, K-12, in the Fairfield Public Schools (Fairfield, CT), she led faculty, administrators, and parents in creating a structure for curriculum development. Prior to that in Briarcliff Manor Public Schools (Briarcliff Manor, NY), she restructured the Middle School. As a consultant, Jane coordinated and led the program for Learning Leaders, a nonprofit organization that places volunteers in New York City public schools and wrote the organization’s history. She also consulted for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and created and implemented a K-12 educational program for a newly created refugee camp school at Wahliniby in Ethiopia. Jane earned a BA in History at Northwestern University, MAs from Stanford and Pace Universities, together with an EdD from Teachers College/Columbia University. Jane authored the original charter for The Bronx Charter School for Children and has been on the Board since the school was chartered. Jane is the Vice President of the Board of Trustees and sits on the Academic, Governance and Development Committees.
Mark A. Samuel is an attorney who represents clients across a broad range of industries, including real estate, hospitality, and media. He is currently Of Counsel at Burgher Gray LLP. Mark’s principle areas of focus are Complex Litigation and IP and Technology, with an emphasis on the use of blockchain technology, regulation of cryptocurrencies, and cybersecurity. Prior to Burgher Gray, Mark worked in private practice, and the corporate law departments of Chicago Insurance Company and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. Mark earned a JD from Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law and a BA in Economics from the University of Texas at Arlington. Mark joined the Board in 2020 and is the Board Governance Committee Chair.
Nicole Schmidt is a Managing Partner, co-founder of Oberon Securities, LLC, and member of Oberon’s management committee, bringing more than 22 years of entrepreneurial experience and leadership to the firm. She spearheads Oberon’s consumer and retail group and is actively involved in the firm’s TMT practices. Prior to co-founding Oberon in 2001, Nicole was a partner in Kentech Ventures, a software incubator. Nicole is a lawyer; she earned her JD at New York Law School and a BA in political science at New York University. Nicole joined the Board in 2018 and serves on the Board Development Committee.
Michele Smith joined the Board in 2023.
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