MEET THE TEAM

A group photo of HEAF staff on Broadway

In carrying out the work of its mission, HEAF draws on a breadth of experience and dedication to the core values that inform its unique approach to academic enrichment, youth development, and career preparation. HEAF’s staff is comprised of diverse individuals working diligently and collaboratively to carry out its mission of empowering underserved students through a comprehensive array of educational programming and learning opportunities.

Portrait of Jacqueline Adorno

Jacqueline Adorno

Chief Human Resources Officer

Pronouns: She Series
[email protected]

Jacqueline Adorno brings to Harlem Educational Activities Fund, Inc. (HEAF) a record of 30+ years of Human Resources experience in organizations across business sectors. Ms. Adorno has extensive experience in various functional areas of Human Resources, including but not limited to recruitment, talent management, union and non-union employee relations, compensation, benefits, employee development, training, and workers’ compensation. She is a prominent pioneer in engaging in proactive outreach and engagement to mitigate the escalation of employee relations and employee engagement matters as well as meticulous in safeguarding compliance with company policies and procedures. Prior to joining us at HEAF, Jacquie was the Director of Human Resources at Savvy Intrapreneur. A strategic and prominent visionary with a proven track record in developing positive business relationship outcomes with employees and key stakeholders. Jacqueline’s hallmark is ensuring employee issues are addressed in a comprehensive and collaborative manner. Ms. Adorno earned her bachelor’s degree from DeVry University and her master’s degree in Human Resources Management from Keller Graduate School of Management.
portrait of Alina Augustin

Alina Augustin

Youth Development Facilitator

Pronouns: She Series
[email protected]

Alina Augustin is originally from the Hudson Valley and moved to New York City after graduating from Bard College, to get her Master’s at Silberman School of Social Work. She has experience coaching youth soccer, facilitating parenting classes, and conducting research. In her spare time, she loves learning about genderless fashion, playing pick-up soccer, and doing creative DIY projects.
portrait of Natalie Baez

Natalie Baez

Director, Onward (College)

Pronouns: She Series
[email protected]

Natalie was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and emigrated to the United States at the age of eleven where she resided in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York. While in high school, Natalie became an activist for college access and community development by creating opportunities for upward mobility through college access. Natalie has since guided over 4,000 students from low-income communities through the college application process. She is passionate about giving back to her community and helping to foster positive mentorship for disadvantaged youth. She holds a BA in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic and is currently working on her Masters in School Counseling from Alfred University.
portrait of Deirdre Bennett

Deirdre Bennett

Chief Finance & Administrative Officer

Pronouns: She Series
[email protected]

Deirdre Bennett comes to HEAF with several years of nonprofit experience. Before coming to HEAF as Director of Finance and Administration she worked at several nonprofits offering healthcare and educational services. Ms. Bennett brings expertise in all aspects of not for profit accounting. She has a lifelong dedication for helping others and feels working with nonprofits allows her to fuel this passion. Ms. Bennett earned her BBA at Baruch College.
portrait of Jeffrey Fisher

Jeffrey Fisher

Onward Program Manager

Pronouns: He Series
[email protected]

Born and raised in Harlem and a lifelong resident of New York City, Jeffrey Fisher brings a unique perspective to our team. He comes to HEAF after serving the youth of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Bushwick, Brownsville and Harlem in various capacities. He has employed a strength-based model as a Prevention Educator, Counselor, and later as the founder and director of a parallel-family system, service-based youth mentorship program called Ali’s Men. After watching the program flourish, Jeffrey has left it in good hands to bring his experience, knowledge, and passion for serving youth back to Harlem, the community he calls home.
Our Team Page Placeholder

Natalie Figueroa

College Quest Program Coordinator

Pronouns: She Series
[email protected]

Natalie Figueroa is from the boogie down Bronx with a passion for helping others succeed. She double majored in Creative Writing, Sociology, and has a minor in theater. Her deep appreciation for the arts, having taught dance, tutored, and counseled youth ages K-5th grade for six years has allowed her to approach teaching and guiding students in a way that keeps the youth engaged. In her spare time, you can catch her nose in a good book, writing poetry or short stories, and binging movies that she’s all too prepared to predict the plot to.
portrait of Yanisha Germain

Yanisha Germain

Youth Development Facilitator

Pronouns: She Series
[email protected]

Yanisha Germain is a Brooklyn native. She received her undergraduate degree in Social Work from CUNY York College and is currently pursuing her Masters at CUNY Hunter College, Silberman School of Social Work. Yanisha has experience working with various age groups, from toddlers to youth, to the elderly. Over the years, she has tapped into multiple fields to work with the community, from social work and dentistry to broadcast media, as she is eager to learn while also sharing her skills with others. Yanisha firmly believes in connecting the youth to resources to aid in their personal and professional development. She is passionate about learning from the youth while providing them a safe space to learn and grow. Yanisha brings to HEAF compassion, enthusiasm, and creative ideas.
portrait of Sean Harrell

Sean Harrell

Chief Programs Officer

Pronouns: He Series
[email protected]

Sean Harrell believes firmly in inspiring every scholar to dream bigger, work harder, and care more. With over a decade of experience as a school-based and district leader, Harrell has honed his nurturing approach in providing educators with the operational, curriculum, and youth development supports needed to maximize the organization’s mission and vision.  While serving in his various roles, Harrell founded and serves as executive director of the Progressive Educators Group, which is a consortium of educators charged with rethinking education and developing culturally relevant curricula and school processes to drive student achievement. Through Progressive Educators Group, Harrell has served as a thought-partner to over two dozen charter schools and youth development based non-profits. Harrell is trained in the Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Program, Reggio Emilia, Wilson Reading, and Children’s Defense Fund’s Restorative Practices.
Our Team Page Placeholder

Nick Heim

Finance & Administration Manager

Pronouns: He Series
[email protected]

Nick was born in England and moved to the US when he was very young. He grew up in a small town in Connecticut not far from New York City. Nick earned his degree at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business, graduating with a BS in Finance. Nick has previously worked in a variety of different roles including Finance, Retail, Customer Service and Landscaping. Outside of work he enjoys skiing, soccer, cooking, and travel. Nick has a passion for work that brings meaningful change to people and always tries to contribute as much as he can.

portrait of Deandra Hernandez

Deandra Anjahlee Hernández

Youth Development Facilitator

Pronouns: She Series
[email protected]

Deandra Anjahlee is a Brooklynite with Caribbean roots. The themes of life skills, personal wellness, and advocacy are the common threads in her career.  At the core of those themes are the relationships she builds and nurtures with students, families, and communities. She believes education is a vehicle to social justice and can combat the many systemic inequities faced by marginalized populations. Before her years in education, and workforce development, she studied Psychology at Medgar Evers College CUNY, spending time wearing many hats including crisis counselor, custom closet designer, and activity specialist for elderly populations.

portrait of Fern Khan

Fern Khan

Interim Executive Director

Pronouns: She Series
[email protected]

Fern is a HEAF Board Member and Dean Emerita of Bank Street College’s Division of Continuing Education. As Interim Executive Director, Fern works closely with HEAF’s program team and the staff broadly to continue to drive innovative solutions for HEAF students that bridge education and opportunity gaps, and open doors to college, careers and success. At Bank Street College, Fern developed and supervised a wide range of continuing education programs including: a college access program for students who are at risk of dropping out of school; a Head Start program and other family support and education programs; and programs focused on school reform. Prior to Bank Street College, Fern spent nearly two decades at LaGuardia Community College, where she was the Associate Dean for the Division of Adult and Continuing Education. Many of the programs she has developed, including a program providing access to education for deaf adults, have been replicated throughout the city, and state.

portrait of Vicky Liburd

Vicky Liburd

Director, High Expectations

Pronouns: She Series
[email protected]

Born and raised in St. Kitts and Nevis, Vicky considers herself to be a true Caribbean girl. Her love for traveling, learning about cultures, and helping others propelled her towards obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Human Geography and a Master’s of Education in School Counseling. Since migrating to the U.S a decade ago, Vicky planted her feet in education and is a fierce advocate for education equity and college and career access for students in the NYC area. She firmly believes that all students have the potential to create, define and achieve success when equipped with the resources they need to succeed. She brings with her an extensive background in college and career access and is ready to serve the HEAF community. Vicky is passionate about being part of an organization that focuses on every student’s academic, socioemotional, college, and career success.
portrait of Sasha Linney

Sasha Linney

Youth Development Manager

Pronouns: She Series
[email protected]

Sasha is a southern belle in the concrete jungle! Originally from Houston, Texas, Sasha moved to New York to attend college. Sasha received her Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Relations. Sasha has a true zeal for youth as she is an only child and regards the youth she serves as the little brothers and sisters she wished she had. Sasha has been working within the nonprofit sector for the past 6 years in Youth Development. Sasha’s experience includes
the Mary J Blige Center for Women and Children and Goddard Riverside as an Outreach Coordinator. Sasha is passionate about HEAF’s mission to provide equity and looks forward to continuing her journey servicing the youth of New York City.
portrait of Calvin Luo

Calvin Luo

Senior Manager of Finance & Administration

Pronouns: He Series
[email protected]

Calvin Luo is a New York State Registered CPA. He has an MBA in Accounting from SUNY New Paltz in upstate New York. Prior to joining HEAF, he worked at PwC, a Big 4 public accounting firm, where his focus was for-profit taxes and accounting. Subsequently he worked at Lighthouse Partners, a private hedge fund with $8 billion in Assets Under Management. He worked at Citco Financial Services as a supervisor. He started out at HEAF in the Finance department as a volunteer. His goal is to use his talents and skills to help underserved youth and communities.
Our Team Page Placeholder

Christabel Martinez

College Quest Director

Pronouns: She Series
[email protected]

Christabel is Director of College Quest.

portrait of Yoheidy Mora

Yoheidy Moya Peguero

Program Coordinator, Queens

Pronouns: She Series
[email protected]

Yoheidy was born in the Dominican Republic and migrated to the United States at age 9 and has been living in NYC since. Over the years, she has obtained extensive experience working with children and their families, in both schools and private settings, in the roles of Childcare Provider, Teacher, Camp Director, and Nanny Referral Specialist. She is experienced in designing programs and activities to cater to the development of individual children and their families and providing educational and emotional support. Yoheidy comes with a wealth of knowledge in parent and student engagement.

She is very passionate about being a part of a support system that caters to the educational and personal growth of young children and their families. She’s currently enrolled in CUNY School of Professional Studies for Psychology.

portrait of Emily Ortega

Emily Ortega

Interim Manager of Harlem

Pronouns: She Series
[email protected]

Emily is Program Coordinator for our Harlem programs.

portrait of Emani Palma

Emani Palma

Queens Program Manager, High Expectations

Pronouns: She Series
[email protected]

Emani is a Bronx native and has resided there her whole life. She recently graduated with a MA in Youth Studies from the CUNY School of Professional Studies. Prior to that, she received her BA in Forensic Psychology from CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Her passion for youth development is evident in the diverse roles she has experienced over the years. Those roles include middle-school girls basketball, volleyball, and softball coach, youth advocate, professional mentor, group leader, teacher’s assistant, and elective teacher. She is very diligent about putting young people first and enjoys supporting their growth and development.
portrait of Michelle Parague

Michelle Parague

College Quest Manager

Pronouns: She Series
[email protected]

Michelle Parague has 26 years of experience in the education sector including at the City College of New York as an instructor and 16 years as a senior instructor and academic coordinator at the Upward Bound Program – a part of the US Department of Education Federal Trio Programs – which identifies and provides enrichment/ academic services to high school students from underserved communities to help prepare them for college.

In her extensive career, Michelle taught thousands of college students the art of
public speaking, accent reduction, writing, and literature. Informally, she served as a mentor, advisor, and advocate for many of her students and helped them access support services/ opportunities on campus and in the workplace.

Michelle’s work with high school students from underserved and underperforming target schools in Harlem has been the highlight of her career because of her unwavering belief that equity and access to educational opportunities is a transforming force, levels the playing field, and serves as a conduit for generational change.

In her role as a senior instructor and academic coordinator, Michelle helped
hundreds of students build strong scholastic foundations through individualized assessments, and rigorous curriculum so that they were aptly armed for collegiate work. Additionally, she collaborated with the program staff to support and build a variety of pre-college opportunities such as providing standardized test preparation, workshop series on selecting colleges, financial aid, college information sessions, college tours and summer college residential experiences and career service for students.

Michelle holds a B.A. in Journalism and an M.A. in Language and Literacy. She is
currently working on a MSEd in higher education administration.

portrait of Raven Satterfield

Raven Satterfield

Program Coordinator, Brooklyn

Pronouns: She Series
[email protected]

Raven is Program Coordinator for our Brooklyn programs.
portrait of Steven Velez

Steven Velez

Youth Development Facilitator

Pronouns: He Series
[email protected]

Steve is a Youth Development Facilitator at HEAF.

portrait of Leighton Williams

Leighton Williams

Brooklyn Program Manager

Pronouns: He Series
[email protected]

Leighton is new to NYC, but not new to education. He is a recent graduate of Bowie State University where he received his bachelors degree in Elementary Education. Prior to joining HEAF, Leighton spent time teaching 4th grade in Brooklyn and firmly believes in the ability of all children. Leighton’s philosophy is that all students can and will learn when provided the resources to do so. Leighton believes that education is an undeniable right and all children no matter race, gender, or socio-economic status should be given access to a quality education. Leighton truly believes in a world where all children thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.
portrait of Stefin Woolever

Stefin Woolever

Senior Manager, Data & Development

Pronouns: He Series
[email protected]

Stefin Woolever is a native Coloradan and a graduate of the University of Denver with a B.A. in Theatre. Stefin has pursued a career in acting, in Denver and now here in NYC, while accidentally stumbling into the world of Educational Nonprofits and development work. Prior to HEAF, Stefin was the Executive Assistant and Development and Communications Coordinator at Family Star Montessori in Denver, CO. Stefin brings with him a passion for education and for elevating students to be better and strive for more. Stefin loves to learn and brings with him a passion for HEAF, charisma and theatricality, and a daily smile!