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 the system’s 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 have successfully re-introduced policy debate to underserved school districts around 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.
Roystone Martinez, Director of Scholar Support
Roystone J. Martinez joined LEDA in October of 2012 as the Director of Scholar Support. He graduated from Boston College with a B.A. in Human Development with a Theater minor and a concentration in Black Studies. He completed a M.Ed. in Administration, Planning, & Social Policy with a concentration in Higher Education Administration from Harvard University in 2003 and a M.A. in Human Development with a concentration in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University in 2013. He is passionate about providing access and obtaining transformative opportunities for underrepresented college students. He comes to LEDA after seven years of working to recruit and retain students of color at Emmanuel College as their Associate Director of Admissions and Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment and as their Director of their Road to Intellectual Success at Emmanuel (R.I.S.E) Program. As Director of Scholar Support, Roystone works with LEDA Scholars to support their transition to college life, to assist them in identifying financial, academic and professional resources, and to provide guidance as they identify their post-graduate plans.
Iris Early, Director of Recruitment and Admissions
Iris Early graduated from Haverford College with a B.A. in Political Science, a minor in sociology, and a concentration in Africana studies. She joined LEDA in November of 2008. She is most interested in pursuing racial justice and human rights in her professional career and she brings this passion to her work at LEDA. She has worked with organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and the National Conference for Community and Justice in Los Angeles. She spent several years working as a Recruitment and Admissions Officer for LEDA until becoming the Director of Recruitment and Admissions. Iris develops partnerships with schools and community-based across the nation to recruit future LEDA Scholars.
James Huerta, Recruitment and Admissions Officer
James Huerta, a LEDA Scholar from Cohort 2, joined LEDA in May 2013 as the Recruitment and Admissions Officer. He graduated from Boston College with a B.A. in Elementary Education and Human Development and an M.A in Higher Education Administration. While at Boston College he served as a Recruitment and Program Coordinator for the College Bound Program and his work with Urban Outreach Initiatives has motivated his interest in promoting college access, readiness and support of underrepresented and minority students. As the Recruitment and Admissions Officer for LEDA, James works closely with the Director of Recruitment to implement all stages of the recruitment and admissions process.
Nadila Yusuf, Director of College Guidance
Nadila joined LEDA in May 2013 as the Director of College Guidance. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Wheaton College as a Posse Scholar from New York City. Before coming to LEDA, Nadila received an M.S. Ed in Higher Education from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to her transition to higher education, Nadila completed a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Fellowship in Bangladesh. In Bangladesh she created and facilitated women’s leadership circles, lead college access workshops, and taught English as a foreign language. Nadila has also worked with social justice and educational organizations such as the Sadie Nash Leadership Project and Breakthrough Collaborative. As Director of College Guidance, Nadila supports and guides LEDA Scholars during the college application journey and financial aid/scholarship process.
Joseph Lee, Development and Communications Officer
Joe began his time at LEDA in 2013. 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. He attended Brown University and received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics. In his role as the Development and Communications Officer, Joe provides support for the organization’s fundraising efforts and for engagement with both LEDA Scholars and the general public.
Zachary Cherry, Operations Manager
Zach Cherry graduated from Amherst College with a B.A. in Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought. Prior to officially joining the team, Zach worked alongside LEDA’s Summer Institute for years while employed at Princeton University’s Conference and Event Services office. In the summer of 2011, he worked as Administrative Director for LEDA’s Aspects of Leadership Summer Institute before becoming Office Manager and, later, Operations Manager in the New York office.
Josh Rosenthal, Director of Curriculum and Facilitation; Senior Program Officer
Josh Rosenthal has been with LEDA for seven years. Beginning in 2007 as a Facilitator, Josh has since served as the Director of Curriculum and Facilitation for LEDA’s intensive academic summer course, “Aspects of Leadership.” After he earned a BA from the University of Iowa in Communications and Journalism, Josh earned an MSc in Sociology, Culture and Society from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He began his teaching career at St. John’s University in New York, while doing PhD work in Sociology at The New School for Social Research. He has also taught Sociology, Ethics and Public Speaking at Coyne College in Chicago. In Fall 2013, Josh began a full-time position with LEDA as the Senior Program Officer.
Tara Gellene, Director of Writing Instruction
Tara Gellene joined LEDA in 2008 as a Writing Instructor for the Aspects of Leadership Summer Institute. Tara began her teaching career in the University Writing Program at Columbia University, while doing PhD work in English and Comparative Literature. She teaches writing and literature courses at Yeshiva University, Montclair State University, and the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. She has earned an M.A. and M.Phil in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University and a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Stanford University.