TEAM

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.

Executive Staff

Ruth Rathblott

Ruth Rathblott

President & CEO

rrathblott@heaf.org
Ms. Rathblott has been a leader in the nonprofit sector for nearly 20 years, 15 of which she spent at Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City where she played a central role in its expansion. There she held a series of progressively responsible positions, ultimately serving as associate executive director where she managed a $10 million annual budget and oversaw six major agency departments and corresponding board committees ranging from finance to public relations /marketing to operations. Ms. Rathblott holds a B.A. from Goucher College and an MSW from Boston University. She was the youngest alum awarded the Goucher College Excellence in Public Service in 2005. Ms. Rathblott joined HEAF in January 2013.
Lauren Girshon

Lauren Girshon

Director of Development

lgirshon@heaf.org
Lauren Girshon is a strategic thinker with diverse experience who fuses creativity with strong business acumen to achieve results.  She was born in the Bronx, raised in the suburbs of New York City and currently lives with her family in Manhattan.  She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.A. in Art History.  She started her career after graduation at Goldman Sachs in London and has subsequently worked in various industries, including non-profit.  Raising her children in the NYC public educational system, she understands the challenges involved in navigating the system and how daunting it can be without the proper resources.  She loves being part of an organization that believes in the potential of every child and which aims to provide equal educational and college access.
Deirdre Bennett

Deirdre Bennett

Director of Finance and Administration

dbennett@heaf.org
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 non profits offering healthcare and educational services. Ms Bennett brings an expertise in all aspects of not for profit accounting. She has a lifelong dedication for helping others and feels working with non profits allows her to fuel this passion. Ms. Bennett is a CPA and earned her BBA at Baruch College.
William Mitchell

William Mitchell

Chief of Programs

wmitchell@heaf.org
William Mitchell comes to HEAF with 20+ years of experience working in the educational nonprofit world. Spending most of the time as the Associate Director at the Boys’ Club of New York, and as the Director at Henry Street Settlement. Mr. Mitchell is a firm believer in meeting students where they are and providing those extra resources that will improve the student and make them successful. He brings along expertise in educational psychology, parent involvement and engagement, as well as great leadership to our program staff. Mr. Mitchell holds a B.A. from York College of Pennsylvania and a Masters from University of Wisconsin.

Staff

Krystal Bostick

Krystal Bostick

Associate Director, Youth Development

kbostick@heaf.org

Krystal was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. and is the youngest of five boys and the only girl. She is a first-generation college student with a BS in Criminal Justice and a Masters in Social Work and attended both an HBCU ( Lincoln University) and an Ivy League ( Columbia University). Her passion has always been to work with youth and increase youth voice in their communities. In her free time, she enjoys going to brunch, traveling, Netflix and sleeping.

Kinyanna Evans

Kinyanna Evans

Youth Development Facilitator

kevans@heaf.org

Kinyanna Evans grew up in Brooklyn but later moved to Queens. She graduated with a Major in Education Studies and a minor in women studies from DePauw University. She is passionate about providing space for young people of color to feel empowered and live unapologetically. In her spare time, Kinyanna loves to read poetry and work on her baking talent.  

Kelli Goodman

Kelli Goodman

Manager of Volunteer Initiatives

kgoodman@heaf.org
Kelli is a Philadelphia native and has been in New York for just over two years.  She has a BA in Media Studies from The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, DC, and a Master of Education in Higher Education and Student Affairs from University of South Carolina.  Kelli first became passionate about working to provide greater access to higher education while serving as a member of Jesuit Volunteer Corps, where she worked with the Corporate Work Study Program at Verbum Dei High School, part of the Cristo Rey Network of schools, in Los Angeles, CA. Kelli has spent her career building volunteer and student programs with Fordham University, Jesuit Volunteer Corps, and LaSalle University.  She brings to HEAF a passion for relationship building and connecting community and corporate partners to the HEAF students and programs in order to raise awareness and deepen our impact.
Terryann Jackson

Terryann Jackson

Program Assistant

tjackson@heaf.org
“The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose.” – Richard Leider. Terryann Jackson is a Harlem native with a B.A. in Communications from City College. Along with her love for marketing and event planning, she brings to HEAF her passion for empowering students to sustain academic excellence and foster their creativity while working towards discovering their purpose.  Terryann believes as global citizens if we all invest in education we are one step closer to making a difference in the world.
Alaine Johnson

Alaine Johnson

Associate Director, High Expectations

ajohnson@heaf.org

Alaine has a B.A. in Italian and anthropology from Mount Holyoke College and an M.S.Ed. in literacy from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, where she received the RWL master’s program award for outstanding service to research. She is a former middle school teacher, and has spent the last few years of her career as an educational research assistant, master’s program coordinator and curriculum writer. Most recently, she was the assistant director of curriculum development at a New York CMO, where she had direct responsibility for pacing, writing, revising and implementing all 5-8 humanities (English, social studies, writing, art history, close reading) curriculum. Alaine has a deep interest in educational research and has presented her work at the African American Intellectual History Society’s annual conference, as well as ethnography conferences in Philadelphia, Chicago, and at Columbia University. She is invested in HEAF’s mission to provide college access to all students and looks forward to growing with and learning from this vibrant community.

L’Toya Jones

L’Toya Jones

Program Coordinator, High Expectations

ljones@heaf.org
L’Toya hails from upstate New York. Her desire is to help students discover their full potential and empower them to be influencers in their local and global communities. L’Toya is a graduate of New York University and has a diverse background, working in museum education, charter school education and various after-school programs.
Shatia Mckinnon

Shatia Mckinnon

Finance Associate & Administration Manager

smckinnon@heaf.org

Shatia Mckinnon is a New York Native who has resided in four out of five boroughs of New York City, and currently lives in the Bronx. Shatia has always had a passion for helping people. She started her career at John Jay College of Criminal Justice majoring in Legal Studies, but later found interest in Finance and Human Resources. Shatia earned her degree in Criminal Justice, and is still pursuing her education in Legal Studies while at the same time looking to become a certified Human Resource Manager.
Damaris Mercado

Damaris Mercado

Manager, Onward

dmercado@heaf.org
Damaris Mercado is a native New Yorker and a graduate of Syracuse University in 1992 from the School of Visual and Performing Arts with a BS in Communications. Her background is in the entertainment industry working on productions at the age of 15 alongside her family including her legendary father Ralph Mercado. She has worn many hats, creating, producing, hosting and facilitating all kinds of projects and programs including TV, film, music videos, concerts, music festivals, expos, seminars, workshops and more. She also has attained multiple certificates in yoga, nutrition, and life coaching to help entertainment clients, the community at large, and youth with balancing their lives physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Damaris has two children in college currently and has the passion for education that we look for at HEAF and she is excited to share her experiences with our students in helping them get to and through college!
Phylicia Mussington-Matthews

Phylicia Mussington-Matthews

Associate Director of Admissions & Community Outreach

pmatthews@heaf.org
Phylicia Mussington-Matthews received her B.S. in Psychology with a concentration in neuroscience from Brooklyn College. She always hoped to make a significant contribution to the scientific community but realized the biggest contribution she could make was helping to shape the leaders of tomorrow. The Brooklyn native has 9 years of experience working with youth in both for profit and not-for-profit sectors.
Khin Lay Nwe

Khin Lay Nwe

Senior Manager Finance & Administration

knwe@heaf.org

Khin Lay Nwe  is Budget and Finance Specialist with MBA and BS (Mathematics). Before joining HEAF, she worked for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and United Nation Agencies for health development programmes. She has considerable experience in US Government fiscal, multi-year budget planning, contracting, grants  and cooperative agreements process and policies.

Delasia Rice

Delasia Rice

Volunteer Engagement Coordinator

volunteer@heaf.org

Delasia Rice was born and raised in the Bronx, NY. She received her BS in Psychology with a minor in African and African American Studies from The College at Brockport, SUNY. From a young age she knew the conditions in her area were not great especially regarding education and hoped to use her career to improve it, not just in the Bronx but in all underrepresented areas across the country. She will soon be going back for her Masters in Higher Education Fall 2019 and hopes to receive her Doctorate degree in Educational Policy. Through HEAF, she hopes to not only give back to the community she loves so much but to also gain knowledge on serving the community and utilizing it throughout her career and reaching many more students.

Joseph Rochez

Joseph Rochez

Program Coodinator, College Quest

jrochez@heaf.org

Coming Soon

Annalee Sakun

Annalee Sakun

Receptionist, Office Assistant

asukun@heaf.org

Annalee is a native of the Bronx. She was born and raised in NYC. Growing up she did well in the math and sciences. She started her college career at City College of New York studying Chemical Engineering but then found more interest in finance. She is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in Baruch College for Accounting. After that she plans to pursue her masters in the same field.  Annalee loves trying new activities and foods. She has a passion for education, mathematics, and keeping up with the latest films. She also enjoys helping people, no matter how difficult the task is.

 

Glenda Smiley

Glenda Smiley

Project Planner

gsmiley@heaf.org

Coming Soon
Charolyn Valdes

Charolyn Valdes

Receptionist, Office Assistant

cvaldes@heaf.org
Charolyn was born and raised in the Bronx and graduated from Lehman College with a BS in computer information systems.  She has many years of experience in non-profit organizations where she has worked with many diverse groups and environments.  She’s worked with seniors, people with chronic illness and HIV as well as people with mental illness. She is also a certified E.K.G technician and enjoys exploring and learning new things.
Verna Wade

Verna Wade

Associate Director, College Quest

vwade@heaf.org
Verna Wade is a Chicago native who’s lived in New York for the Past 6 years. She received her Bachelors of Science in Psychology from College of Staten Island and a Masters of Urban Studies from Queens College. Verna always wanted to work in youth advocacy and youth development, but it was not until her move to New York that she began to pursue he career in this field. Her experiences range from youth development programming in New York’s juvenile detention facilities to college access counseling in high schools. She brings to HEAF a passion for youth development and youth empowerment.
Terrence Weeks

Terrence Weeks

Youth Development Facilitator

tweeks@heaf.org
Coming Soon
Stefin Woolever

Stefin Woolever

Development and Communications Associate

swoolever@heaf.org
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!
Jada Young

Jada Young

Brooklyn Site Coordinator

jyoung@heaf.org
Coming Soon