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Meet Our Team

Executive Office

Interim Executive Director

Diana Breen Interim Executive Director dbreen@includenyc.org Known as “The Transition Whisperer,” Diana Breen stabilizes non-profits in leadership transition or crisis by serving as Interim Executive Director/CEO. She has navigated successful leadership transitions at organizations such as Marquis Studios, Young Audiences New York (YANY), Rebuilding Together NYC, the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development (ANHD) and Ariva, a Bronx-based economic empowerment non-profit where she served as Executive Director. Diana graduated first in her class from Baruch College with an MPA in non-profit management, graduated magna cum laude from NYU with a degree in music, and holds a Diversity & Inclusion certificate from Cornell University. She is a proud Board member of Grand St. Settlement.

Programs

Deputy Executive Director of Programs

Jane Heaphy Deputy Executive Director of Programs jheaphy@INCLUDEnyc.org Jane brings over 25 years of educational nonprofit management experience. Focused on equity and access over her career, she led the Options Center and created the Options Institute, which provide college access and success programming to young people and training and capacity-building to school and community based counselors. She also headed Learning Leaders whose programs engaged parents as essential partners in public education. Jane lives in Brooklyn with her family. A graduate of the NYC public schools, she is also the proud parent of two teenagers in public high schools in Brooklyn. She has a Masters in Public Administration from Baruch College.

Senior Education Specialist

Jean Mizutani Senior Education Specialist jmizutani@INCLUDEnyc.org Jean has worked at INCLUDEnyc since 1999. She manages the direct assistance program, works with parents and professionals, and conducts training on advocacy skills and special education. She is a key leader of INCLUDEnyc’s Special Education Parent Centers and participates in several coalitions and advisory groups. Formerly a chef, she is the parent of a daughter with disabilities. Jean first contacted our organization as a parent seeking help and volunteered for two years before joining the staff.

Senior Manager, Direct Assistance and Training

Kpana Kpoto Senior Manager, Direct Assistance and Training kkpoto@INCLUDEnyc.org Kpana manages INCLUDEnyc’s helpline and staff training to ensure that families receive quality direct assistance when they call for help navigating early intervention, special education, OPWDD, and other services systems. She also develops and disseminates information and resources to families and collaborates with community organizations in the interest of people with disabilities. Kpana brings a passionate family perspective to her work as the parent of children receiving special education services and as the co-founder of an autism parent support group that she co-founded in the Bronx. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Howard University and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Disability Studies from the CUNY School of Professional Studies.

Intake Coordinator

Victoria Laudat Intake Coordinator vlaudat@INCLUDEnyc.org After receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in psychology at St. Joseph’s College, Victoria has been dedicated to working in nonprofit organizations that aim to advance and empower marginalized communities. Before Victoria joined INCLUDEnyc, she had over 5 years of experience working with communities of color, especially the Dominican community, to educate and mobilize them through civic, social and economic integration. Through her experience in working in a nonprofit, Victoria has acquired a passion for racial and social justice through an intersectional approach. She strongly believes that everyone is deserving of equal opportunities and equal rights. Victoria is excited to be a part of the INCLUDEnyc team to provide information, guidance and support to families.

Intake Coordinator

Issamar Lopez Intake Coordinator ilopez@includenyc.org Issamar Lopez is a Bilingual Intake and Operations Coordinator at INCLUDEnyc. She has spent several years working not only in the customer service industry but also at nonprofits assisting families and individuals. In previous roles, Issamar worked as a service coordinator allocating services for children who needed early childhood education. She has also worked alongside predominantly minority families and assisted in enrolling their children in enriching extracurricular activities such as swimming, basketball, and summer camp. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from York College and believes that literature has the power to bring people together and evoke feelings of unity and community.

Director of Parent & Family Engagement, Early Childhood

Kimberly McCoy Director of Parent & Family Engagement, Early Childhood kmccoy@INCLUDEnyc.org Kimberly is the Director of Parent & Family Engagement, Early Childhood. She is an attorney, special educator, and parent of a child with autism. She brings over 10 years of experience in special education, ranging from early childhood evaluator and home-based ABA instructor to community school teacher. She attended City College for her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Special Education and earned her J.D. at Seton Hall University School of Law.

Family Educator

Sasha Bueno Family Educator sbueno@INCLUDEnyc.org As a Family Educator, Sasha is happy to educate and support families and professionals navigate the special education systems within early childhood. Her passion derives from her own family experience as a sibling to a person with developmental disabilities. Over the past ten years, Sasha has worked with young individuals with speech and language disabilities, taught in ICT classrooms, and provided special instruction services within Early Intervention. Sasha is a native Spanish speaker, an aRPy Ambassador, and NYS certified teacher. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Pace University and a Master’s Degree in Transformative Literacy from The City College of New York.

Family Educator

Melinda Burke Family Educator mburke@includenyc.org Melinda originally came to INCLUDEnyc (then RCSN) as a mother who was trying to understand and navigate the special education system in New York City. She eventually turned that experience into a career, becoming a NYS certified teacher with a Master’s Degree in Special Education from City College. Melinda worked for 17 years in NYCDOE’s D75 as a classroom teacher, a SETSS provider, and a Unit Coordinator, followed by several years as a preschool special education teacher. Melinda is especially passionate about the importance of families as part of each child’s educational team. She is thrilled to be helping people with disabilities and their families feel nurtured and supported within their own community while proudly taking their place in the larger world.

Family Educator

Simone Capparelli Family Educator scapparelli@INCLUDEnyc.org Growing up in New York City, Simone was a student in New York City schools and a sister helping her sibling with learning disabilities. Witnessing her family’s struggle finding the right supports for her brother, Simone became passionate about pursuing a career in education. Simone has over ten years experience as a special education teacher, behavioral intervention specialist, life skills coach, and Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapist. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from City College and a Master’s Degree in General and Special Education from Touro College. Simone is excited to be a part of INCLUDEnyc as a Family Educator specializing in early childhood.

Senior Family Educator

Steffany Ruiz Senior Family Educator sruiz@INCLUDEnyc.org Steffany Ruiz is a firm believer that the family is the basis of society and therefore plays a fundamental role in our children’s lives. Steffany has joined INCLUDEnyc to advocate and provide support to families of children and young people with disabilities by connecting them to resources within the community and delivering interactive workshops. Steffany holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and has extensive experience working in the field of social services. She began her professional career working with families of children in early childhood in Bogota, Colombia, then as a case manager for a Mental Health clinic and as a family advocate for high risk families including Spanish Speaking families in New York City.

Senior Family Educator

Ruth DiRoma Senior Family Educator rdiroma@INCLUDEnyc.org Ruth brings a lifetime of nonprofit and advocacy experience to INCLUDEnyc, including 30 years working for the Healing Arts Initiative. As a parent of a child with a disability herself, Ruth lends an intimate knowledge and passion to her mission to help New York City families provide the best possible education and future for their own children with disabilities. She has a master’s degree in Special Education and Urban Education as well as a master’s in Labor Relations and Management from Pace University.

Senior Family Educator

Colin Montgomery Senior Family Educator cmontgomery@INCLUDEnyc.org A former special education teacher and department head in a Brooklyn middle school, Colin joined INCLUDEnyc to help New York City families navigate the barriers and challenges of special education and disability systems. As Senior Family Educator, Colin provides direct assistance and training to families and professionals on topics related to school-age special education and navigating adult life and agency services. He also applies his curriculum development skills to create new trainings, including internal and external professional development. Colin strongly believes in the inclusion of students with disabilities and culturally responsive education for both youth and families as key components of educational equity. He holds a Masters in Special Education from Brooklyn College and is fluent in French.

Family Educator

MaryBeth Bergren Family Educator mbergren@includenyc.org MaryBeth is a Family Educator on the School Age team at INCLUDEnyc. As a native Staten Islander, MaryBeth has over ten years experience in higher education and is actively involved in the disability community as co-chair of the Staten Island Disability Council (SIDDC) Education Committee and the UFT Special Needs Parents Committee. As a mom of two children with autism and an adjunct professor at CUNY, she brings both professional and personal experience to her role. MaryBeth has a Bachelor’s in Communications with a minor in Musical Theatre from the State University of New York at Cortland and a Master’s Degree in Business Communication with a concentration in the Customer Driven Organization from JIU.

Family Educator

Maggie Downham Family Educator mdownham@INCLUDEnyc.org As a person with multiple disabilities, Maggie brings both professional and personal experience to her work at INCLUDEnyc as a Family Educator. She knows the struggles and joys that living with a disability brings. Watching her mother advocate for her growing up, Maggie learned to be her own advocate. While her personal experiences have inspired her to do this work, she also feels strongly that she has a professional responsibility to empower families with the knowledge and skills they need to advocate for their children. When she entered the field of family advocacy full-time, she brought with her seven years of experience as an educator of students with disabilities in grades five through eight whom she taught in various subjects and classroom settings.

Family Educator

Julianne Toce Family Educator jtoce@INCLUDEnyc.org Julianne is a Family Educator at INCLUDEnyc. She has taught general and special education in New York City public schools and has a Master’s degree in Sociology and Education from the Teachers College at Columbia University. She has a strong dedication to racial justice and equal rights, and believes in the need to acknowledge their intersection with schools and special education in teaching and advocacy work.

Director, Parent and Family Engagement

Alfonso Guzman Director, Parent and Family Engagement aguzman@INCLUDEnyc.org At INCLUDEnyc, Alfonso works directly with youth and families conducting outreach activities and delivering trainings. A native Spanish speaker, Alfonso is passionate about reaching immigrant families in NYC. He has designed, translated, and delivered a wide variety of parent workshops for families and professionals. He began his career in Early Intervention, has trained families in the child welfare system, and brings over a decade of social services experience to his work. Alfonso has an M.A. in Psychology from City College of the City University of New York.

Senior Family Educator

Diana Biagioli Senior Family Educator dbiagioli@INCLUDEnyc.org Diana has extensive experience with nonprofits in the fields of education, immigration, and the environment, both in New York City and in London, England. One of her children has a learning disability, and Diana is thrilled to be able to guide young people and their families. She is a native Spanish speaker and is particularly interested in servicing and supporting the Spanish-speaking community. Diana has an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University.

Family Educator

Johanna Espinoza Family Educator jespinoza@INCLUDEnyc.org Johanna can identify with the barriers that people face when they arrive in a new country. Due to language limitations her parents were not aware of the supports available to assist Johanna’s adjustment to a new culture. She struggled with her academics and wanted to give up on school. Through one of her teachers she was connected with a bilingual counselor. She learned about the various supports offered and began advocating for herself and her family. This is when her passion to work with families began. Johanna has prior experience with family counseling in the preventive service setting as a case planner. She also has experience working with adults with autism and provided behavioral intervention therapy (ABA), and job coaching. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Saint Francis College and a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Baruch College. Johanna brings her enthusiasm to support and educate families as a family educator at INCLUDEnyc.

Coordinator

Yulissa Garcia Coordinator ygarcia@INCLUDEnyc.org Raised by immigrant parents in the Bronx and studying Sociology, Yulissa has a deep understanding of why families like her own did not have access to proper resources. She aspired to be an agent of change in communities like the one she grew up in and has worked extensively in care coordination for adults with chronic conditions. Yulissa joins the INCLUDEnyc team with the continued desire to help the New York community, particularly Latino families. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Lehman College in Sociology with a minor in Early Childhood Education.

Director of Youth & Transition Services

ebony A. Innis Director of Youth & Transition Services einnis@INCLUDEnyc.org ebony is the Director of Youth and Transition Services. ebony brings 16 years of experience in education to this role, including teaching students with disabilities, overseeing after school and college/career programs, as well as curriculum design and development. She has developed and successfully supported staff, classrooms, and academic programs in schools and at nonprofits. ebony is committed to cultivating a community of learners, educational access, and opportunity. ebony has a Bachelor in Political Science and Master’s in Childhood Education.

Senior Manager, Youth and Transition Services

Mia Greenidge Senior Manager, Youth and Transition Services mgreenidge@INCLUDEnyc.org Mia has a Master’s degree in Adolescent Education from St. John’s University. She comes with a background in human services specializing in educational and vocational services for young people affected by the juvenile justice and foster care systems. Mia is driven by the belief that there is a stronger need for detailed and effective transitional support for young people with disabilities, so they understand how to be their own advocates, understand their special education rights, and have support in post-secondary planning. Mia comes to INCLUDEnyc with a passion for supporting and driving transitional work with young people and hopes to close the achievement gap for this group.

Youth Educator

Beth Harper Youth Educator bharper@INCLUDEnyc.org As the younger sibling of a person with a disability, Beth developed an interest in supporting others with disabilities at a young age. Observing the challenges that her brother experienced transitioning to adulthood led Beth to a career devoted to making systemic change for people with disabilities. With a Masters in Social Work, Beth comes to INCLUDEnyc with experience in ABA therapy, behavioral intervention, employment coaching, and other transition-related services. In her work, Beth places a strong emphasis on fostering collaborative, solution-focused systems of support, which are built upon teamwork and relationship building across all sectors.

Youth Educator

Belinda Lin Youth Educator blin@INCLUDEnyc.org As a Youth Educator, Belinda brings many years of experience serving youth and families in both NYC and Taipei, Taiwan in educational, mentoring, mental health, and after school settings. Growing up in Queens, New York in an immigrant household and working closely with the immigrant population has given Belinda a unique perspective of the challenges faced and hidden strengths this community holds. She is passionate about providing access to information on how to navigate special education services and continues to advocate for and with marginalized communities especially on the topic of their educational rights. Belinda holds a Master of Social Work degree from her alma mater, Nyack College.

Youth Coordinator

Yanilsa Diaz Youth Coordinator ydiaz@INCLUDEnyc.org Yanilsa is a Youth and Transition Services Coordinator at INCLUDEnyc. In prior roles, she helped Bronx families of children with developmental disabilities build their independence. Yanilsa also worked with young adult families at a Queens shelter and their transition towards permanent housing. She is passionate about youth development work in underserved communities and hopes to create a more equitable, accessible future for all New Yorkers. Yanilsa has a Bachelor’s in Human Development and Family Science from Queens College and is working towards her Master of Social Work from Hunter College.

Partner and Community Engagement

Senior Director of Partner & Community Engagement

Chantall Lowe Senior Director of Partner & Community Engagement clowe@INCLUDEnyc.org Chantall Lowe is INCLUDEnyc’s first Senior Director of Partner and Community Engagement. She oversees communications, government and community relations, operations, evaluation, and events. Chantall has extensive experience serving the disability community and a strong positive youth development lens from her previous roles at Ramapo for Children and UJA-Federation. Chantall is a native Latina New Yorker fluent in Spanish who brings racial equity and restorative justice practices to her work. Chantall resides in the Bronx with her two children and husband. She holds a BA from the State University of New York at Buffalo and an MS in nonprofit management from The New School.

Director of Communications and Outreach

Jenn Novak Director of Communications and Outreach jnovak@includenyc.org Jenn Novak, Director of Communications and Outreach, has launched public relations programs that focus on people who are disabled, public health and other non-profit initiatives prior to her role at INCLUDEnyc. Most recently, she led communications for the Public Health Corps, a division within the NYC Health Department that seeks to eliminate health disparities in New York City. As Social Media Manager at Lighthouse Guild, Jenn created social media campaigns and generated communications partnerships to raise awareness of eye health and to advocate for people who are blind or have low vision. Jenn graduated from California University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Journalism.

Senior Manager of Communications and Outreach

Carly Wolff Senior Manager of Communications and Outreach cwolff@INCLUDEnyc.org After graduating with a B.A. from Temple University, Carly joined the Peace Corps as a Special Education Volunteer in Jordan. She then worked in a Rockland BOCES school for two years as a Substitute Teaching Assistant.

Communications and Policy Associate

Wendy Guardado Communications and Policy Associate wguarado@INCLUDEnyc.org Wendy Guardado holds a Masters in Special Education from Hunter College in New York and was a Bilingual General and Special Education teacher in all content areas for six years. She was elected as her school’s United Federation of Teachers Union Leader and made the full transition to the policy sector through the Bronx Borough President’s Office. Wendy has always been conscious about providing equal access to education to the most marginalized students. She strives to challenge current systemic barriers in education and continues to advocate for inclusive policy making.

Communications and Outreach Associate

Pia Fouilloux Communications and Outreach Associate pfouilloux@INCLUDEnyc.org Pia is a Spanish language journalist with a Masters in Communications and Political Science from Universidad Gabriela Mistral in Chile. She worked as a reporter for El Diario La Prensa and NY1 Noticias, two of the largest Latino press organizations in the city for many years before joining the INCLUDEnyc team. She is excited to manage our efforts to reach and help the Latino community.

Design Coordinator

Adina Farinango Design Coordinator afarinango@INCLUDEnyc.org After graduating from University at Albany with a B.S. in Informatics and a concentration in UX/UI Design, Adina then joined the United Nations as a Graphic Design Intern where she was exposed to creating accessible documents for a more inclusive workplace. She joined INCLUDEnyc because she believes in more inclusive society where everyone deserves the same equal opportunities.

Director, Program Operations

Rich Overton Director, Program Operations roverton@INCLUDEnyc.org Rich joined INCLUDEnyc after years of supporting New York City’s homeless and foster youth and young adult population through education, career, and personal wellness coaching. With a degree in Communications from Emerson College in Boston, Rich has a background in public relations, and experience both as an entrepreneur and in nonprofit organization management. Passionate about human rights, diversity, and inclusion, Rich is excited to manage the parent training programs and Help Line, while expanding the organization’s reach and welcoming new partnerships to the INCLUDEnyc community.

Operations Associate (Data)

Robert Carabay Operations Associate (Data) rcarabay@INCLUDEnyc.org From his first job after college, Robert has pursued a career with non-profit and mission-driven organizations. His personal vision is to support people and teams who work to improve conditions for marginalized, vulnerable or minority populations. Prior to INCLUDEnyc, Robert was a communications manager for Pratt Institute, where he also led data strategy and evaluation projects. In recent years, Robert held data management and analysis roles at General Assembly, the Brooklyn Public Library, and Demos. Robert earned an M.S. in Library and Information Science with a special focus on archives from Pratt Institute and a B.A. in Spanish Literature from Pomona College.

Operations Coordinator (Training)

Kylie Balogh Operations Coordinator (Training) kbalogh@INCLUDEnyc.org Kylie comes to INCLUDEnyc with experience from both the nonprofit space and the NYC Mayor’s Office. Working both directly and indirectly with individuals with developmental disabilities, Kylie has developed a passion for supporting underserved New Yorkers. Kylie graduated from Marist College with her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Analytics.

Information Assistant

Lamar Beeks Information Assistant lbeeks@INCLUDEnyc.org Lamar started his career with INCLUDEnyc as a volunteer from Job Path NYC. As Information Assistant, he performs data entry, assists with general tasks around the office, and greets and welcomes visitors.

Operations Assistant

Anthony Hasan Operations Assistant ahasan@INCLUDEnyc.org As an Operations Assistant, Anthony manages evaluation and related data to support program quality improvement. Anthony was born and raised in NYC, and holds an associate’s degree in Multimedia Art. Anthony previously worked at AHRC for over a decade, and he is excited to learn and grow at INCLUDEnyc.

Director of Disability and Education Policy

Lori Podvesker Director of Disability and Education Policy lpodvesker@INCLUDEnyc.org Lori coordinates the implementation of INCLUDEnyc’s policy work in the education and developmental disabilities systems. She has taught general and special education in a variety of urban settings, and has a master’s degree in Education from Brooklyn College. She is the parent of a teen-age son with intellectual disabilities who attends a District 75 program.

Development

Senior Direcctor of Development

Joe Miloscia Senior Direcctor of Development jmiloscia@INCLUDEnyc.org Joe brings more than two decades of experience on all sides of the funding table—as grant maker and grant seeker. Previously, Joe held leading development positions at Hetrick-Martin Institute, GLAAD, and In the Life Media, in addition to serving as Executive Director of Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation. For fifteen years prior, Joe served as Contributions Specialist for one of the nation’s largest corporate philanthropies helping create and oversee several grantmaking portfolios.

Manager of Individual Giving

James Ciszewski Manager of Individual Giving jciszewski@includenyc.org James joins INCLUDEnyc with a passion for supporting New Yorkers, and nearly a decade of fundraising experience with local nonprofit organizations. He previously served as the Development Coordinator at Women in Need (Win). Prior to joining Win, James was the Development Associate at the Archdiocese of New York, where he worked on the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner. He started his career as an Account Manager with the New York Blood Center, recruiting blood donors and organizing blood drives in Manhattan. James holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Manhattan College, and earned a degree in History from The Catholic University of America. He is an avid skier, and an enthusiastic supporter of the NY Giants and the US National Teams (soccer).

Development Coordinator

Matthew Cocco Development Coordinator mcocco@includenyc.org Matthew Cocco is INCLUDEnyc’s Development Coordinator. Matthew has experience in fundraising thanks to his time as a canvasser and field manager with Environment New York along with his volunteer work for Special Olympics during his time in undergrad. Most recently, Matthew was the first operations analyst for Highgate Hotels, where he facilitated daily operations and took ownership of the company’s database, including running analysis reports, among a number of other responsibilities. Matthew minored in International Relations and earned his Bachelor’s in Economics from SUNY Geneseo.

Finance & Administration

Senior Director of Finance and Administration

Laura-Ann Pafundi Senior Director of Finance and Administration lpafundi@includenyc.org Laura-Ann Pafundi is INCLUDEnyc’s Senior Director of Finance and Administration. Laura-Ann joins us most recently from the nonprofit Change Machine (formerly The Financial Clinic) where she was the Director of Finance and Operations. Prior to joining Change Machine, Laura-Ann was in the financial services industry both as a consultant and Chief of Staff and Chief Administrative Officer at Lehman Brothers/Barclays. A native of Brooklyn, Laura-Ann has her Bachelor’s from CUNY, Brooklyn, Master’s in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix, and a Human Resources Management Certificate from Cornell University.

Senior Manager of Talent and Administration

Shantele Coram Senior Manager of Talent and Administration scoram@INCLUDEnyc.org Shantele Coram is INCLUDEnyc’s Senior Manager of Talent and Administration. She brings extensive experience in human resources and operations from her prior nonprofit roles. Shantele has built her career around advocacy and prides herself on recruiting, hiring, training, and professionally developing those who directly serve and support the disability community. Shantele has her Bachelor’s in Pre-Law studies and a Master in Business Administration and Project Management. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Westchester.

Finance Manager

Eric Pease Finance Manager epease@INCLUDEnyc.org Eric comes to INCLUDEnyc with almost 10 years of nonprofit finance and accounting experience in New York City. He formerly was the Director of the Financial Management program at GMHC. He has been involved in the disability community since childhood, with parents who are strong advocates for children living with disabilities. Eric holds a B.S. in Finance and also is a certified American Red Cross CPR/AED instructor.

Finance and Administration Associate

Victoria Garwood Burton Finance and Administration Associate vgburton@INCLUDEnyc.org Vicky is in charge of personnel administration, including employee benefits and office vendor relationship management. She is the primary liaison to the finance team and provides administrative support to executive staff, development staff, and the board of directors, especially in the area of donor relations.