Staff

CEO

Dr. Danielle R. Moss

(212) 430-5985

Dr. Danielle R. Moss brings a deep commitment to educational equality and social justice to her role as Oliver Scholars’ Chief Executive Officer. Before joining Oliver Scholars in January 2019, she served as Chief of Staff at The New York Civil Liberties, where she was recruited to help the organization’s leadership solidify its strategy for managing unprecedented growth and to deepen internal capacity to embed a diversity, equity, and inclusion framework to inform the organization’s work. Before joining NYCLU, Dr. Moss served as President and CEO of the YWCA of the City of New York, where she leveraged her experience in education and community building to put the YWCA back at the forefront of the conversation on women and girls in NYC. Under her tenure, the organization expanded its program portfolio to include a women’s speaker series for professional women, girls’ leadership programs, STEM education for girls and young women, and increased advocacy for women and girls in the city. In 2015, she was asked by Melissa Mark-Viverito, the Speaker of New York’s City Council, to Co-Chair the Council’s Young Women’s Initiative, a citywide effort to remove the systemic barriers to achievement that disproportionally affect girls of color, and was named one of the 25 Most Influential Black Women in Business by the Network Journal. In 2016, Mayor DeBlasio appointed her to the city’s newly established Commission on Gender Equity. Dr. Moss began her career as a middle school teacher in the Bronx and Brooklyn, and has previously served as President and CEO of the Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF), Adjunct Assistant Professor of Urban Youth Policy at CCNY, and Consulting Project Director for The Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth. In 2017, she launched The Ebony Vanguard, an inter-generational organization dedicated to power, progress, and play for women and girls of the African Diaspora. Dr. Moss was co-founder and lead applicant of Sisulu-Walker Children’s Academy – Harlem Charter School (the first authorized charter school in the state of New York), and has served on the boards of the Dodge YMCA, Teachers College Center for Educational Outreach and Innovation Advisory Board, Community Education Council District 3, the National Advisory Board of The Next Generation Venture Fund – A Partnership of Duke and Johns Hopkins Universities, and the Teachers College 125th Anniversary Steering Committee. Her other civic engagement roles have included President of Black Agency Executives 2013-2017, Member of the New York Coalition of 100 Black Women Advisory Board, and the Swarthmore College Board of Managers from 2013-2017 where she had the honor of serving as co-chair of the Student Affairs Committee of the Board from 2016-2017. She is currently on the board of The New York Women’s Foundation, Black Agency Executives, the CCNY MPA Advisory Committee, and Co-Chairs the Equity Work Group of the Human Services Council. She received her B.A. in English Literature and History with a concentration in Black Studies from Swarthmore College, and holds M.A. and Ed.M. degrees from Teachers College Columbia University, where she also completed her Doctorate in Organization and Leadership with a focus on Education Administration. She holds Certificates in Nonprofit Management from the business schools of Columbia, Harvard, and Stanford. Dr. Moss also holds a Certificate in Fundraising Management from Indiana University, The Fundraising School. She did her first TED Talk at TEDWomen in November 2018.

Program Coordinator

Karla Castro

212.430.5980 (Ext. 1130)

Karla Castro joined Oliver Scholars in March 2019 as an Admissions and Placement Coordinator and has since assumed the role of Program Coordinator. Karla was born in Ecuador, and lived in Spain before moving to New York City. She is a recent graduate of Marymount Manhattan College where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in International Business and Marketing and was High Education Opportunity Program Scholar (HEOP). Her time being a HEOP student opened her eyes to the disparities facing students of color in higher education. She is thrilled that to be working in an organization dedicated to expanding opportunities for students from similar backgrounds.

Director of Communications, Marketing and Special Events

Moshé Crone

212-430-5980 (Ext. 1112)

Moshé Crone has devoted her career to serving young people for more than 15 years. She currently runs one of largest S.T.E.M Expo’s in New York City annually for the Department of Education and partners with community based organizations to bring funding and programming to schools and students in need. Moshé joined the Oliver Scholars team in August of 2019 as the Interim Communications Director, and brings a wealth of experience in the corporate, private, and nonprofit sectors. Moshé holds a Communications Degree and carries extensive knowledge in the areas of education, production, marketing, event coordination and hi -level sales. She is eager to utilize her experience and knowledge to further the Oliver Scholars mission and unlock opportunity for future scholars.

DIRECTOR OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS

Bernell Downer ’96

Bernell is an alumnus of the Oliver Scholars Program. He is grateful to Oliver for instilling in him the importance of education to empower imagination and creativity. He was born in Georgetown, Guyana; and grew up in Kingston, Jamaica; and Brooklyn, New York; before graduating from Phillips Academy Andover in 1996. He received his Biology B.A. from Cornell University in 2000 and completed Cornell’s Mandarin language program at Peking University in 2012. Prior to joining Oliver Scholars in June 2019, as Director of Academic Affairs, Bernell taught English, Biology, and Math for 10 years at schools in Korea and China. He recently completed his M.S. Private School Leadership at Columbia Teachers College and strives to increase education access for all.

Associate Director of Admissions and Placement

Leovanny Fernández ’10

(212) 430-5980 x1003

Leovanny is an Alumnus of Oliver Scholars, graduating from Brooklyn Friends School in 2010 and Bowdoin College in 2014, with a B.A. in Government and Legal Studies. He has demonstrated continuous involvement with Oliver after completing the program, including as a summer counselor and as a member of the Junior Board. His wide breadth of interests is not limited to social justice causes; you might find him rock climbing in the Gunks or at Brooklyn Boulders, building a website in a café, or even visiting Hong Kong. After working for over a year in administration at the Corlears School, Leovanny joined Oliver Scholars in 2016. Leovanny has now worked for Oliver Scholars for 5 years. During that time he has cultivated strong relationships with our nations top independent schools providing more educational access to the scholars and families that we serve.

Chief Program & Equity Officer

Dr. Deidre Franklin

(212) 430-5980 x1111

Dr. Franklin’s career has focused on inclusion, access, and the psychological well-being of historically marginalized groups. She has been an advocate and thought leader in social impact and educational spaces with 18 years of experience in mental-health awareness, racial and gender justice, and youth development. Dr. Franklin has extensive experience in both the creation and implementation of culturally responsive training institutes focusing on anti-racist practices, psychological well-being, and the social and emotional growth of young people. Prior to joining Oliver Scholars, Dr. Franklin was Chief Program Officer for the YWCA of the City of New York, where she managed social justice programs for young people across New York City, and Managing Director of Youth Development and Counseling at the Harlem Educational Activities Fund, for which she developed culturally responsive curricula and counseling services to support middle school and high school students along their college trajectory. A native New Yorker and graduate of Howard University, Dr. Franklin has a Master’s Degree from Harvard University and received her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Teachers College Columbia University.

Associate Director of College Bound Initiatives

Randy Frazer

212-430-5980 x1108

Randy has several years of experience working with youth in the non-profit sector. Prior to joining Oliver in 2019, Randy served as a 12th grade Humanities Teacher in Massachusetts, Program Director for the YWCA of the City of New York, Youth Development Coordinator and later, Manager of College Programs at the Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF). Most recently, he was Senior Program Director for the Morningside Center after school programs. Randy is a proud Harlem native, avid dog lover, and a POSSE Foundation scholar that believes education is our most powerful tool. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wheaton College, MA and his Masters of Science degree in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology from The State University at Albany New York. Randy serves on the Board of Director for the City of Restoration Ministries, Inc. church in Yonkers, NY. He has also served as a consultant for the Baruch College STEM Program and the Police Athletic League.

Assistant Director of Admissions and Placement

Kevin Garcia-Ramirez

212-430-5980 (Ext. 1131)

Originally from Harlem, Kevin has worked with youth for over a decade.  He has taught, coached, mentored and worked in Admissions in independent and charter schools, as well as non-profit organizations.  Kevin attended boarding School in CT for high school, and later attended Gettysburg College, where he majored in History and studied Education.  His dedication to community work and enthusiasm for building key access points for young students of color has brought him to Oliver Scholars. As someone who has personally benefitted from similar college access organizations, he is excited about working to help our students and families navigate the opportunities that Oliver Scholars affords them.

 

Chief Development Officer

Gabrielle Gilliam

212-430-5980 (Ext. 1107)

Gabrielle Gilliam is a fund development and non-profit management professional. She has over two consecutive decades of experience in fundraising and institutional advancement, and has served in leadership positions at organizations such as United Negro College Fund, Bottomless Closet, Poly Prep Country Day School, the French-American Foundation, and Opening Act.

Since 2014, Gabrielle has been working as an independent consultant, providing strategicplanning and fundraising support to NYC-based non-profit organizations. Her client list has included the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Fiver Children's Foundation, Brooklyn Children’s Theatre, and The Peter Westbrook Foundation. She is also a Lecturer at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Social Work. Gabrielle received her BA in Drama and Africana Studies from Vassar College and her MA in Performance Studies from New York University/Tisch School of the Arts.

A seasoned fund development generalist, Gabrielle enjoys sharing and applying her professional expertise in strategic campaign planning, institutional giving, and board development. She is particularly committed to organizations that engage and empower youth who have been under-served or unsupported by systems and institutions. Gabrielle takes special pride in working on behalf of programs - like Oliver Scholars - that create a path for young people of color to pursue their dreams and find success in life.

Assistant Director of Development

Carinda Greene

212-430-5980 x1129

Carinda Greene has over ten years of experience in the nonprofit sector, developing strategies to enhance public awareness and revenue for educational institutions and nonprofit organizations. Most recently she served at the Harvard Business School Club of NY, which provides pro bono consulting services for clients such as The Central Park Conservancy, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Vera Institute of Justice, Girls Write Now, and NY Sun Works. In this role, Carinda provided procedural direction, campaign strategy development, and logistical support for consulting projects. In her fundraising role at Brooklyn Law School, she instituted a very successful individual giving campaign and in her other development roles she focused on events and stewardship. As a high school student she attended The Dwight School. Carinda holds a Bachelor’s Degree in African Studies with a minor in Media Studies from Hunter College and is an active volunteer for education-related causes, currently serving on the Young Professionals Committee for Figure Skating in Harlem.

Vice President, Admissions & Placement

Mark Hall

(212) 430-5980 x1104

Mark is driven by the belief that all children deserve access to a high-quality and culturally responsive education regardless of the color of their skin, their socioeconomic status, or their zip code. After receiving his degree in English and Spanish from Amherst College, Mark taught English and Spanish at Westminster School in Connecticut and Thayer Academy in Massachusetts, where he also coached varsity basketball and track. After leaving the classroom, Mark served as dean of students and then director of the PREP 9 program for a decade. Mark joins Oliver Scholars from Ascend Public Charter Schools, where, as Director of the Teaching Fellows Program, he launched a program to recruit and train the next generation of urban educators. Mark resides in Bedford-Stuyvesant with his wife Samantha and is the proud father of Stokely, three, and Evers, six months.

Scholar Counselor

Yestriel Henriquez

212-430-5980 (Ext. 1136)

Yestriel graduated from the University at Albany with a BA in Latin American, Caribbean, and US Latino Studies and a double minor in Music and Education. She earned an MBA with a concentration in Human Resources Information Systems while being a private business consultant. While  in college,  she was a member of the residence life department and spearheaded many community service projects. Her passion for service has followed through her personal and professional life. Most recently,  Yestriel served as a Resident Director at Manhattanville College, where her focus were First year students and chairing the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee with the office of Residence Life. She loves to travel, attend Broadway shows, and spend time with her dog, Hades.

Scholar Counselor

Alyssa Morales

Originally from Rockland County, New York Alyssa attended SUNY Geneseo where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology. There, she began her passion for leadership, education, and career development through the Women's Leadership Institute. She continued her education at Fordham University's Graduate School of Education where she earned her Master's Degree in Education along with a NYS certification in school counseling. She continued to grow her expertise at Dominican Academy counseling 9th and 10th grade students. Most recently, she served as a Senior College Success Advisor with Bottom Line, advising low-income first generation students through their college career and to advance professionally and personally in their lives. Alyssa is an advocate for equity in education for students from underserved communities and is thrilled to continue to empower students through Oliver Scholars.

Executive Assistant

Linda Penceal

212-430-5980 x1102

Linda D. Penceal is the Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer at the Oliver Scholars. She has more than 40 years of management and administrative experience in the nonprofit sector. Linda spent 29 years making extensive contributions to the Morningside Area Alliance, where she forged long-lasting community bonds with community partners, residents, Board members, and colleagues. During her tenure, she supported the implementation of numerous programs, including as Manager of Summer Youth Employment and other youth mentorship programs. She has played an important role in shaping the personal and professional lives of many of the community’s young adults.

Assistant Director of Admissions

Manuela Perez

212-430-5980 (Ext. 1102)

Manuela joined Oliver Scholars in September 2019 as an Assistant Director of Admissions. She joins us from Morgan Stanley where she worked in Human Resources and Recruitment. She was born in the Dominican Republic, and raised in the Bronx. As a high-achieving middle school student, she was offered the opportunity to attend Blair Academy, a boarding school, through her involvement with CitySquash. Manuela has maintained her connection to CitySquash as a volunteer, mentor, and member of the Junior Board. After high school, she attended Barnard College of Columbia University in New York City where she double majored in Economics and Africana Studies. Manuela is a former Higher Education Opportunity Program Scholar (HEOP) and has always been passionate about giving back to her community and supporting students who are interested in attending boarding schools/independent schools. Some of her interests include attending fitness classes, ceramics, photography, and hiking.

Scholar Guidance Dean

Massiel Ramirez

212-430-5980 x1130

Massiel Ramirez joined Oliver Scholars in June 2019 as a Scholar Success Advisor. Massiel was born and raised in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City, and attended Hunter College where she majored in Psychology with a minor in African, Puerto Rican and Latino Studies. Prior to college, Massiel traveled abroad to Italy, Thailand, South Africa and Chile through Global Teens and was an active participant at another college access organization. Through traveling and community service work, Massiel became passionate about community building, working with youth, and advocating for social justice and reform. Throughout college her passion for helping and educating others led her to work with the after school programs at the Westside YMCA and Hudson Guild where she worked with youth ages 4-16 as a Group Leader. Prior to joining Oliver Scholars, Massiel was a Therapeutic Case Manager at Graham Windham, a foster care agency dedicated to providing supportive services to families and children.

Assistant Director of College and Alumni Relations

Maria Rosario

Maria has over a decade of experience in school operation management, youth development, and fundraising. Prior to joining Oliver Scholars, Maria served as a Special Events and Fundraising Manager at a charter school in the South Bronx, where she was responsible for the design and execution all student and donor centered events, including the organization’s first annual gala, college and career networking events for over one hundred students and professionals alongside many other engagement experiences that increased the organization’s visibility.
Having earned a certification in fundraising through NYU’s School of Professional Studies, her success in fundraising includes exceeding the organization's goals to raise funds for brand new technology, aid for families in need and an international volunteer experience for Juniors.

Given her passion for expanding access for the youth, in 2019, Maria founded the Global Perspective Service Program, a unique volunteer opportunity for Juniors at her previous school, in which they had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica for a week to engage in community service and dive into the country’s rich culture through an array of excursions. Her goal is for students of the South Bronx to discover a new perspective of the world and their critical role in it.

In addition, Maria has spent the last five years serving as a lead mentor for female identified teenagers. Through this service, Maria is responsible for designing and facilitating weekly sessions once a week that foster socioemotional skills, leadership development, academic achievement and stimulate social and political advocacy through awareness.

In her free time, Maria is an avid word traveler who has visited over 26 countries and enjoys reading memoirs.

Grant Manager

Cavell Stephenson

212-430-5980 (Ext 1137)

Cavell Stephenson is a strategic thinker with an unrelenting work ethic, and a deep-rooted commitment to social justice, equity, inclusion, and access. Her social impact portfolio includes child and elder care, youth; education; and grassroots organizing. Her work has focused on program management, communications, grants management, and project coordination in family caregiving; interior design; graduate, and career and technical education; and historic preservation, architectural and cultural legacy in membership, national, local, and community organizations. A graduate of Hunter College, CUNY, Cavell earned a Bachelor of Arts in English, specialty in Creative Writing, with a minor in Communications. She earned a Master of Public Administration -- specialty in Public and Nonprofit Management - from Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University, where she was a Public Service Scholar.

Chief Operations Officer

Sharon Sturrup

(212) 430-5980 x1105

Sharon has more than 20 years senior HR experience. Prior to joining Oliver, Sharon served as Human Resources Manager for HSBC, Assistant Director of Human Resources for Mitchell Titus LLP (formerly a member firm of Ernst & Young), and Talent Manager for Exchange for International Studies in Washington D.C. Most recently, she was a Human Resources Business Partner at Black Forest Acres in Hamilton, N.J. Sharon holds a B.S. from Lehman College in Management Information Systems and an M.S. in Human Resource Management from The New School. She has served as a guest lecturer at New York University on corporate HR communications. She is also a keen volunteer with other education-related causes, including serving as a College Success Coach for Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF).

Human Resource / Operations Manager

Cherice Toney

212-430-5980 (Ext. 1110)

Cherice O. Toney has 17 years of experience as a Human Resource Professional. After several years of working in the financial services industry in investment banking and private wealth management; Cherice began her career in the nonprofit sector in 2008 and hasn't looked back since. Cherice has 10 years under her belt from New York-based nonprofits, Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center and Children of Promise.

Cherice holds a Bachelors of Science in Human Resource Management & International Business from the University of Vermont and Masters in Human Resource Management from Long Island University.

 

Cherice looks forward to sharing her years of experience in as the new Human Resource/ Operations Manager here at Oliver Scholars. 

Scholar Counselor

Laury Veudna

Laury joined the Oliver Scholars team in December 2019 as a Scholars Counselor. She graduated from SUNY New Paltz with her BA in African Studies with a minor in Geology. While in college, Laury joined the SUNY service learning program in Jamaica at the University of the West Indies-Mona Campus, and was an active member at Alpha-Boys school, a community service program. Through community engagement and traveling, Laury continues to take a keen interest in servicing the diverse youth of color and their families of New York City. Her enthusiasm for developing youth leaders through active global education and leadership development is what led her to Oliver Scholars. Laury received her MSW degree from Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College is an active volunteer for educational and social related causes, currently serving as campaign treasurer for Brooklyn’s 57th Assembly District. Laury resides in Brooklyn and loves to cook, read, and tackle DIY projects in her free time.

Senior Accountant

Yolanda McCullough

Yolanda Mccullough has worked her way up from an Accounts Payable Bookkeeper to Senior Accountant gaining 8 years of experience in Accounting for Not for Profits.   Prior to joining Oliver Scholars, Yolanda was the Senior Accountant at The Center for Jewish History, there, Yolanda maintained the financials, assisted the Development  department with all donations and handled some HR responsibilities.   Yolanda also served as a Financial Consultant at CSBM, helping NYC Charter Schools practice and gain financial knowledge to help them continue to grow and maintain sustainability in the charter sector.    Yolanda holds a B.A in Accounting from Monroe College and is excited to share her experience in Accounting at Oliver Scholars.