Beth Breger, Executive Director
Beth Breger joined LEDA as its Executive Director in September of 2009. Most recently, she served as the Director of Special Projects in the Office of Student Enrollment Planning and Operations at the New York City Department of Education (DOE), where her responsibilities included developing and implementing enrollment policy reforms and managing enrollment issues for special population students. Prior to working at the DOE, she served as the Director of the School Connection Center at the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES), where she launched the first-of-its-kind school admission office for court-involved students in partnership with the City and State juvenile justice agencies. Before CASES she spent eight years working at the Open Society Institute (OSI), the foundation funded by George Soros. While at OSI she founded the Urban Debate Program and the New York Urban Debate League, initiatives which successfully reintroduced policy debate to underserved school districts throughout the country. She also managed the foundation’s educational grantmaking. Beth received a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from Brown University and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Sayra Alanis, Program Assistant
Sayra Alanis is a Cohort 6 LEDA Scholar and joined the LEDA staff full-time in September 2015 as the Program Assistant. She also served on the summer staff in 2014 as a Resident Mentor and in 2015 as a College Guidance Coordinator. As the Program Assistant, Sayra provides administrative support to all components of the LEDA Scholars Program. Sayra received a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Portuguese and the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality from Rice University. Her senior project, in collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine, focused on feminist-engaged research regarding the effects of social media on the reproductive health for at-risk youth.
Rebecca Amoah, College Guidance Counselor
Rebecca joined LEDA in May 2015 as a College Guidance Counselor and supports scholars through the college admissions process. Before joining LEDA, she served as a College Adviser for College Advising Corps at Excel High School in Boston, MA, where she provided individual college counseling to students and helped foster a college-going culture at the school. Previously, she has also taught English as a Second Language and provided career counseling services for recently immigrated adults through the Irish International Immigrant Center. Rebecca graduated from Wellesley College with a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience and a minor in Music.
Amber M. Briggs, College Guidance Counselor
Amber M. Briggs joined LEDA in April 2015 as a College Guidance Counselor and supports scholars through the college admissions process. Prior to this role, Amber supported the development of underrepresented youth throughout New York City as both a Zankel Fellow at Teachers College, Columbia University and a Mentoring Coordinator for the Governor’s Committee on Scholastic Achievement (GCSA). Previously, she served with the College Advising Corps for two years at Elsik High School in Houston, TX, where she worked with over 4,000 students to help positively impact the college-going culture of the high school and surrounding community. Amber holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Africana Studies and a Certificate in Race and Ethnic Relations from Texas A&M as well as a Master of Arts in Education Policy with a concentration in Higher Education and Law from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Zachary Cherry, Operations Manager
Zach Cherry joined LEDA in 2011 as the Administrative Director for LEDA’s Aspects of Leadership Summer Institute before becoming Office Manager and, later, Operations Manager in the New York office. Prior to officially joining the team, Zach worked alongside LEDA’s Summer Institute for years while employed at Princeton University’s office of Conference and Event Services. Zach is a graduate of Amherst College and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought.
Viviana Cordero, Community Outreach Officer
Viviana Cordero joined LEDA in September 2014 and focuses on recruitment marketing and outreach to identify and develop partnerships with community based organizations and leadership programs across the nation. Before coming to LEDA, Viviana was a Program Coordinator at the Posse Foundation, where she spearheaded annual recruitment operations and supported the New York Program team. She has also worked as an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher through a civic literacy program that supports a large immigrant community in northwestern Queens as well as other organizations that foster educational equity and community empowerment, such as Being Latino and NICE. Viviana graduated from Skidmore College with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Cultural Anthropology and Spanish Literature with a concentration in Latin American and Latino Studies.
Iris Early, Director of Recruitment and Admissions
Iris Early joined LEDA in November of 2008 as a Recruitment and Admissions Officer and became Director of Recruitment and Admissions in 2011. In her role at LEDA, Iris has helped to define LEDA’s recruitment and admissions strategy and works to develop partnerships with schools and community-based organizations across the nation to identify and recruit LEDA Scholars. Prior to LEDA, Iris worked with organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and the National Conference for Community and Justice in Los Angeles. She brings her passion for racial justice and human rights to her work at LEDA. Iris graduated from Haverford College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, a minor in sociology, and a concentration in Africana studies.
Tara Gellene, Senior Director of College Pathways
Tara Gellene joined LEDA in 2008 as a writing instructor. In her current role as Senior Director of College Pathways, Tara oversees several components of LEDA’s college guidance program. She is also the director of the writing program and the author of LEDA’s college preparatory writing curriculum. In addition, Tara serves as grant writer and writing consultant for LEDA’s communications, while contributing to LEDA’s development, academic, and college success functions. Tara began her teaching career at Columbia University, while doing Ph.D. work in English and Comparative Literature. Prior to joining LEDA full time, she taught writing and literature courses at Columbia College, Barnard College, and New York University. She holds a Master of Arts and Master of Philosophy in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing from Stanford University.
Anthony Guyton, College Success Counselor
Anthony Guyton, a Cohort 1 LEDA Scholar, joined the LEDA staff in September 2014 as the Program Assistant. He began his current position as the College Success Officer in September 2015. Anthony supports our outreach to LEDA Scholars in college and beyond by providing counseling and strengthening relationships as Scholars’ needs and interests evolve. Prior to joining the LEDA staff, Anthony gained administrative experience as Payroll Coordinator at TriNet Ambrose, before which he taught Special Education in Harlem. He earned his Master of Education in Special Education at Long Island University through the New York City Teaching Fellows Program and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a certificate in African American Studies from Princeton University. His honors thesis examined Princeton undergraduates’ perceptions and interactions across boundaries of race, ethnicity, culture and class.
Euriphile Joseph, Deputy Executive Director
Euriphile Joseph joined LEDA in September 2014 from her role as a Project Manager for New York City’s HHS Connect. Prior to her work with the City, she was the Chief Operating Officer of ReServe, Inc., a national organization that leverages the talents and passions of retired adults to impact their communities. At ReServe, she worked to expand the organization into five US cities and brokered partnerships with community-based organizations, foundations and public institutions to strengthen ReServe’s impact. Before ReServe, Euriphile served as a Special Assistant to the President at The After-School Corporation, a nonprofit dedicated to giving all kids expanded learning opportunities that support, educate and inspire them. Euriphile has also served as a Fund Development Consultant for the Eagle Academy Foundation. Euriphile has a Master of Arts Degree in Analytic Philosophy from Tufts University and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Philosophy and Political Science from the College of the Holy Cross.
Joseph Lee, Development and Communications Officer
Joseph Lee joined LEDA in 2013. In his current role, Joe provides support across a spectrum of development and communications efforts, including fundraising, database maintenance, event planning, grant proposals, organizational literature, website design, social media, and public engagement. In the past, he has had the opportunity to work with several nonprofit organizations that address a range of issues, including religious tolerance, mental health, homelessness, employment training, and access to the arts. Joe received a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Brown University.
Vynessa Ortiz, Director of College Success; Director of Residential Life
Vynessa first came to LEDA in the summer of 2014 when she served as the Director of Residential Life. She joined LEDA full-time in May 2015 as the Director of College Success and of Residential Life. Vynessa has served as a Data Analyst in the Student Affairs Research & Assessment Office and a Case Manager in the Office of Student Conduct at Pennsylvania State University. She has also served as an Academic Adviser, Residence Life Coordinator, Director of the Women’s Resource Center, and Director of the Residential Academic Mentoring Program at Humboldt State University. Vynessa has a B.A. in Political Science and Ethnic Studies from Humboldt State, and an M.S. in Higher Education from Penn State.
Josh Rosenthal, Director of Curriculum and Facilitation; Senior Program Officer
Josh Rosenthal joined LEDA in 2007 as a facilitator for the Aspects of Leadership course. In his role as Director of Curriculum and Facilitation, Josh oversees the curriculum and faculty of the Aspects of Leadership course—the central academic component of LEDA’s Summer Institute. As Senior Program Officer, Josh supports all LEDA programs, especially recruitment and scholar support, in addition to overseeing Aspects of Leadership marketing, outreach, and business plan development. Josh began his teaching career at St. John’s University in New York, while doing Ph.D. work in Sociology at The New School for Social Research. Prior to joining LEDA full time, he taught Sociology, Ethics, and Public Speaking at Coyne College in Chicago. Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Journalism from the University of Iowa and a Master of Science in Sociology, Culture and Society from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Phillip Scotton, School Outreach Officer
Phillip Scotton joined LEDA in August 2014 and focuses on developing partnerships with high schools across the nation to identify and support LEDA Scholars. Before coming to LEDA, Phillip worked extensively in college access with multiple Federal TRIO programs in the North Carolina area. Phillip also interned as an Education Policy Analyst at the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (GBPI) where he collaborated with school superintendents in over 100 counties in Georgia to compile data on the impact of austerity cuts. Phillip graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and African and Afro-American Studies and a minor in Social and Economic Justice. He also holds a Master of Science in Education from the University of Pennsylvania.