Elizabeth Beinecke Elston | Prospect Hill Foundation | exalt Board Chair

Elizabeth Beinecke Elston is a freelance consultant focused on nonprofit capacity building. In this role she applies her expertise to improve social services with a particular focus in child welfare and youth justice organizations. Previously, Elizabeth served as the Senior Director of Data Analysis and Accountability at HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services, where she led the transformation of the 100+ year old agency into a data driven organization.  Earlier in her career, Elizabeth worked as a senior analyst at the Vera Institute of Justice. There, she developed strategies to reform child welfare in New York City. She has also worked for the NYC Department of Education where she supported the roll-out of a new student assessment system throughout New York City, and on issues of gender equity and children’s access to education in Durban, South Africa, working for the Legal Resources Centre and Gender AIDS Forum. She earned a B.A. in Anthropology from Yale University in 2006 and an M.B.A. in Operations and Social Sector Management from Columbia Business School in 2014. Elizabeth is a director of The Prospect Hill Foundation, and a member of the board of Antaeus Enterprises, Inc.

Yumari Martínez | Consultant at Annie E. Casey | exalt Vice-Chair

Yumari L. Martínez is currently a consultant for the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, he was the Associate Commissioner for the New York City Administration for Children’s Services - Division for Youth and Family Justice. Previously, Yumari served as the Associate Director of the Center on Youth Justice at the Vera Institute of Justice. Before joining Vera, he was a Clinical Teaching Fellow at New York University (NYU) School of Law, co-teaching the Offender Reentry Clinic. He also worked as a Senior Project Director at the Center for Community Problem Solving at NYU School of Law. Before joining the Center, Yumari worked as a Law Guardian at New York City's Legal Aid Society Juvenile Right’s Division representing juveniles in delinquency proceedings. At the beginning of his legal career he represented death penalty clients in Alabama as a post-graduate fellow at the Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama. He graduated from NYU Law School in 2001.

Ruth Frommer | CFO at ODA-Architecture | exalt Treasurer

Ruth was born and raised in always-cool Brooklyn. After raising four children in Englewood, New Jersey, she and her family resettled across the river in Manhattan. Ruth earned a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and recently completed the coursework for a Certificate of Financial Planning at New York University. She is the Chief Financial Officer at ODA-Architecture and brings many years of experience in both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations to this thriving architecture firm. Ruth swims daily, practices yoga, plays with her grandchildren, and enjoys cooking, baking and ushering off-Broadway theatre.

James Neu | Partner and Managing Director at DBI Projects

James Neu is a Partner and Managing Director at DBI Projects, a multidisciplinary firm that specializes in development management, project management and real estate advisory services. He has over 10 years of experience in construction management, construction project advisory, and real estate development; including recent work for several non-profit organizations in New York, a public private/partnership project called New Lab.  James is active in community driven real estate development in Brooklyn and is also leading several large scale development projects in New York and abroad.  James graduated from SUNY Albany with a Bachelor of Arts in History & Business; he has served on the board of directors for over 5 years and is passionate about social justice.

David Kirkland | Executive Director | NYU Metropolitan Center for Research  on Equity and the Transformation of Schools

Dr. David E. Kirkland is the Executive Director of The NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and The Transformation of Schools. He has also been described as an activist, educator, cultural critic and author. A leading national scholar and advocate for educational justice, Dr. Kirkland hold a PhD from Michigan State University. 

A Detroit native, his transdisciplinary scholarship explores a variety of equity and education justice related topics, including the following: school climate and discipline; school integration and choice; culture and education; vulnerable learners; and intersections among race, gender, and education. With many groundbreaking publications to his credit, he has analyzed the cultures, languages, and texts of urban youth, using quantitative, critical literary, ethnographic, and sociolinguistic research methods to answer complex questions at the center of equity and social justice in education. 

Dr. Kirkland taught middle and high school for several years in Michigan. He’s also organized youth empowerment and youth mentoring programs for over a decade in major U.S. cities such as Detroit, Chicago and New York. He currently leads efforts to enhance education options for vulnerable youth throughout New York City, and beyond. 

Dr. Kirkland has received many awards for his research and educational advocacy work, including over $20 million dollars in research and program grants. He is the current chair for AERA Division G, and is past recipient of the 2016 AERA Division G Mid-Career Scholars Award, and the 2008 AERA Division G Outstanding Dissertation Award. He was a 2009-10 Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, a 2011-12 NAEd/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, and is a former fellow of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Research Foundation's “Cultivating New Voices among Scholars of Color” program. In addition to several other boards, he currently serves as a trustee for the Research Foundation of the National Council of Teachers of English.   

A Search Past Silence: The Literacy of Black Males, the fifth book that Dr. Kirkland has authored or edited, is a TC Press bestseller and winner of the 2015 Daniel E. Griffiths Research Award, the 2014 AESA Critics Choice Award, and the 2014 NCTE David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in the Teaching of English. He is also co-editor of the recently released Students Right to Their Own Language: A Critical Sourcebook, published by Bedford/St. Martins Press.

Named by Ebony magazine as one of the most brilliant scholars in the U.S., Dr. Kirkland has been a pivotal intellectual voice promoting educational justice in the U.S. and abroad.

Kunal Das | Director of Strategic Accounts at Bluecore | exalt Treasurer

Kunal Das is a Director of Strategic Accounts at Bluecore - a technology company that empowers brands to take meaningful, immediate actions on behavioral, promotional, and product data with speed and simplicity. He has over 9 of experience in technology, online advertising, enterprise sales, and customer success. Prior to joining Bluecore, he worked for Yext, DataPop, and Microsoft as an Evangelist for their Bing division. Kunal was previously a junior board member for Upwardly Global, whose mission is to eliminate barriers to professional workplace entry for foreign-educated immigrants and refugees in the U.S. Kunal holds a BBA from the from the University of Texas at Austin.

Ed Carson | Board Member at Carson Family Charitable Trust

Ed was born and raised in New York City. He serves on the board of the Carson Family Charitable Trust, which makes grants to a wide variety of charitable organizations. He received an MA from Kenyon College and an MSW from the NYU School of Social Work. He has experience in education, juvenile justice, and drug and alcohol recovery services. Ed joined the exalt board in January 2015.

Nathaniel Mary Quinn | Fine Artist

Quinn’s work was first introduced to the public in a group exhibition at Artists Space in 2002 and through The Bronx Museum of the Arts in 2004. He is the recipient of the Lorraine Hansberry Artistic, Performance, and Fine Arts Award and a two-time winner of the National Arts Club Prize. His work has been exhibited in a number of solo and group exhibitions: one-person exhibitions include Hybrids: The Windows Exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), Brooklyn, The Magic Stick at Rush Arts Gallery, New York and most recently, Species at Bunker 259, Brooklyn. Group exhibitions include The Mythic Female and Macro-Micro at Satori Gallery, New York, American Beauty at Susan- Inglett Gallery, New York, and Corpus Americus at Driscoll Babcock Gallery, New York. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Lamson Lam | Senior Executive Director, Office of Interschool Collaborative Learning at New York City Department of Education

Lamson Lam grew up in Hawaii where he attended Punahou School (President Obama’s alma mater).  He received his BA in Sociology at UC San Diego where he also played on the Men’s Volleyball Team.  After graduating from UCSD, Lamson began his career as a mental health worker in a halfway house for youth in the juvenile justice system.  After working there for two years, Lamson realized that he wanted to reach kids before they ended up in the justice system, so he chose to become a teacher.  After graduating from NYU with an MA in Education, Lamson taught 4th grade in East Harlem.  He then worked for the Annenberg Institute for School Reform and the NYCDOE Office for Family Engagement & Advocacy, before becoming a principal at a K-8 School in Brownsville, Brooklyn.  For the last 2 years, Lamson has been working with the Office of Interschool Collaborative Learning (OICL) where he is the Senior Executive Director. In this capacity, he is responsible for the Department of Education’s three initiatives for interschool collaboration: Learning Partners, the Middle School Quality Initiative, and Showcase Schools. These programs currently operate in over 270 public schools throughout New York City. Lamson is passionate about issues of equity and social justice in education and society. He is excited to join the board of exalt as he believes his career has come full circle and he is ready to better serve a vulnerable population he cares deeply about. When Lamson isn’t at work or chasing after his two boys (ages 5 and 2), he enjoys playing sports and traveling.

Ron Schneider | Social Work Team Leader at Brooklyn Defender Services

Ronald Schneider is a licensed master social worker with 20 years experience advocating for adolescents and people living with disabilities in a myriad of systems throughout New York City. He currently supervises a team of social workers at Brooklyn Defender Service (BDS) who advocate for alternatives to incarceration for young people under the age of 22. He received his MSW from the Silberman School of Social Work at CUNY- Hunter College, an MS in School Counseling at Long Island University – CW Post Campus, and a BS from The University of Rhode Island.  He has testified to the New York City Council on various child welfare and disability rights issues.  He has presented at national conferences including the National Organization of Forensic Social Workers and the National Commission of Correctional Health Care. Ronald has also participated in various panels discussing justice involved youth and people living with disabilities at The Kings County District Attorney’s Office, NYU and Columbia University Schools of Social Work, and The Brooklyn Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities Counsel.

Prior to BDS, he was a forensic social worker at The Legal Aid Society in Brooklyn where he advocated for alternatives to incarceration.  He also served as a case manager and group worker for visually- and developmentally-impaired individuals at The Jewish Guild for the Blind,  an emergency room social worker at NYU Medical Center, and as a job developer and activities coordinator for developmentally-challenged young adults at AHRC on Long Island. He is an active member of the Jail Advocacy Coalition, Police Reform Organizing Project, and The National Organization of Social Workers.

Ronald is very proud of receiving an award for his work at exalt’s Gala in 2015.  He has referred youth to exalt since its founding and Brooklyn Defender Services has been an internship provider for several of the youth that exalt serves.

Sean Gleason | Principal at Octagon Credit Investors

Sean is a Principal at Octagon Credit Investors, where he focuses on making investments in the debt of US companies. At Octagon, Sean oversees the firm’s investments in the Healthcare and Consumer/Retail spaces. Sean earned his B.S. with a Concentration in Finance from Babson College and served as Captain of the Men’s Soccer team. Separate from his professional career, Sean has dedicated energy to various organizations that positively impact the lives of underserved youth.

Felicia Megan Gordon | Publisher

Felicia Megan Gordon is an artist, lawyer and producer residing in Sugar Hill, Harlem. Her work has been featured at The New York Design Center and as part of No Longer Empty's public art exhibition series. Gordon has appeared in ELLEAllure, and The New York Times most recently. She currently publishes online magazine,Those Peopleand recently completed a photography series focused on Harlem for the Ford Foundation. Her work was exhibited as part of the Columbia University Uptown Triennial in 2017.

Gordon holds a juris doctor degree from the New York University School of Law and serves as counsel to Pohl LLP, a boutique litigation firm in New York City. In her spare time, she enjoys interacting with children around art. She intends to expand the Creative Arts Institute, a weekly program she designed to expose middle schoolers at PS184 in Brownsville, Brooklyn to careers in the creative arts.