TEAK staff are talented individuals who bring diverse perspectives, breadth and depth of knowledge, and a shared passion for helping bright, motivated students access high quality education and thrive in their educational and professional pursuits. With an open door policy, staff also welcome opportunities to share our experience, expertise, and best practices. Feel free to contact us if you wish to visit the office, discuss particular aspects of our programming, or partner on projects related to our college access and success work.
- John GreenExecutive Director
Earning his B.A. from Wesleyan and his Masters in Education from Harvard, John Green brings 35 years of educational experience at some of our Nation’s premier independent schools. From 1981-1986, John worked as a teacher, coach, and adviser at the Fessenden School and Western Reserve Academy where he also served as the Director of College Counseling. From 1986-2001, John served as a history department chair, Director of Admissions, Director of College Counseling and a Dean of Faculty at St. Paul’s School. From 2001-2013, John served Head of School at Peddie School. From 2013-2015, John worked as a coach and advises independent and residential schools on strategic planning and administrative and board development. Among a wide range of volunteer activities, John has served on the boards of Choate-Rosemary Hall School, Trenton Community Charter School, American Boychoir School, Beech Hill Middle School, New Jersey Scholars Educators Excellence Dedication (SEEDS), and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Concord.
- Wyndy SloanDeputy Director of External Relations
After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in advertising, Wyndy moved to New York to pursue her dream of living in the big city and pursuing a career in the creative industry. After spending several years at leading fashion and entertainment magazines, she joined The Sloan Group where she spent 10 years as the creative director, leading an award-winning team of talented creatives working primarily for clients in the youth and entertainment industries. In 2008, looking for a new and rewarding challenge, Wyndy began her career in the nonprofit sector working at Madison Square Boys & Girls Club as the Director of Marketing and Communications then at the West Side YMCA as the Senior Director of Fund Development, Communications and Membership. Wyndy's passion for helping young people reach their full potential led her to join TEAK in 2015. She enjoys spending time with her husband and three kids, playing tennis and seeing the world.
- Michelle KimDirector of Business Operations
Michelle transitioned from finance to the nonprofit sector, when she joined The Father's Heart as Operations Manager in 2012. While working in the nonprofit sector, she saw the positive impact of education on the trajectory of a student's future. Before joining TEAK, she held a number of roles in nonprofit organizations, most recently with FoodFight as Director of Operations. Prior to joining the nonprofit sector, she was Vice President of Product Management at Deutsche Bank. Prior to Deutsche Bank, Michelle held a number of roles at OppenheimerFunds and Morgan Stanley. She holds a BA in psychology from Smith College and an MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business. She has also previously served on the Young Professionals Network for Open Hands Legal Services and the Leadership Council for the Beginning with Children Foundation.
- Natalie GreenhouseDirector of Strategy & Growth
Natalie graduated from Occidental College in 2010 with a bachelors in psychology and her teaching credential. After graduating, Natalie worked as an admission officer at Occidental where she recruited and evaluated prospective students for the college and managed a variety of campus programs. Growing tired of all the sunshine, she headed east to NYC! In 2015, Natalie completed her Masters in Education Policy, specializing in college access and success for underrepresented students, from Columbia University's Teachers' College. Natalie joined the TEAK staff in 2014 and has enjoyed becoming part of the TEAK Family! In that short time, she has supported TEAK Fellows in completing over 10,000 hours of service to their communities.
- Andrew BarberDirector of High School Placement and Preparation
Andrew earned his Bachelor's degree from Carleton College in 1996 and his Master's degree in Educational Leadership from University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education in 2004. With teaching experience ranging from first grade to 12th, Andrew has also held a variety of administrative positions such Assistant Director of Admissions at Saint Ann's School and Director of Operations at the Pierrepont School. Andrew joined the TEAK staff full time in 2011, but has helped TEAK Fellows study and prepare for standardized tests, for both high school and college, since 2007. An expert in test preparation, Andrew has helped TEAK Fellows achieve average increases of more than 200 points on their standardized tests. When he isn't working with our Fellows he is chasing his two children around Harlem.
- Daniel BlednickDirector of College Guidance
Dan earned his Bachelor's degree from Amherst College and his Master's degree in Sports Management from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He was the Assistant Baseball Coach at Amherst College from 2002 until 2004, and played four seasons of professional baseball in Germany while also serving as assistant coach for the Great Britain national baseball team. Dan joined the TEAK staff in 2006, and since that time has guided over 200 TEAK Fellows through the college admission process, while helping their families secure over $50 million dollars in financial aid. In addition, Dan has visited over 100 colleges and universities, completed the Developing Leaders Program at Columbia University School of Business, the Harvard Summer Institute on College Admissions and has presented at many national and regional conferences. Dan thinks the Yankees are awesome, is an avid stoop gardener and can recreate his Italian grandmother’s meatball recipe perfectly.
- James BravoAssistant Director of Admissions
James Bravo is a graduate from Baruch College/CUNY with a BA in Psychology, where he was also part of the Percy E. Sutton SEEK Program and Urban Male Leadership Academy (UMLA) Scholars Program. James is currently pursuing his Master of Science in Education in Higher Education Administration at Baruch College/CUNY with the vision of continuing to support students of color having equal access to secondary and post-secondary education. James has served as Program Coordinator of the UMLA Scholars program of Baruch College, which entails providing access for Black and Latino, men of color, the opportunity to become leaders in their respective field of interest and communities. James served as Program Coordinator for four years leading projects such as their mentor-mentee program, co-facilitation of their “Brotherhood” workshops, professional development events, and admissions. James has also been fortunate to be a co-presenter at NASPA’s 100th Year Anniversary Conference, where the team got to present to a national audience of the UMLA Scholars Program and its best practices. James’s transition into TEAK Fellowship continues to support his vision and a personal mission of helping students from low-economic backgrounds have the opportunity to excel academically and professionally.
- Stefany CastrillonAssociate Director of Business Operations
Stefany graduated from The City College of New York in 2014 with a degree in Political Science. Since then, she has explored her education, journalism, and financial interests working as a special education teacher assistant, an accounts receivable specialist, and holding several intern positions at South-South News, Sirius XM, and The Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition. Her transition to TEAK in 2016 combines all her interests and reflects her deep concern for education and economic issues affecting minorities in the US. Stefany's passions include drawing, crafting, fashion, and all art in general. She also loves languages - Spanish and Portuguese especially - and dreams of one day experiencing Rio de Janeiro's Carnival.
- Nick ChericoDirector of Career Programs
Nick earned his Bachelors degree in Organizational Communication from Xavier University. Upon graduating in 2011, Nick returned home to New York and joined Cristo Rey NY High School as a member of the school's 2-year, Full-Time Americorps Volunteer Program. The program fostered his growing interest in urban education and after it's completion, he decided to remain at Cristo Rey helping to run the school's innovative corporate work-study program. Nick then received his MBA with a dual focus in Management and Communication from Fordham University in 2017, at which point he elected to try his hand in the corporate sector at the Professional Learning and Development company, Mind Gym. His excitement about education remained however and he opted to return to the non-profit world by joining TEAK in September 2018. He is thrilled to be at TEAK as it combines his passion for creating opportunities for underserved communities and his knowledge of New York's corporate landscape. Nick is also a Columbus Citizens Scholar and aspiring Moth participant. He enjoys playing trivia, watching live music, and being active with his dog, Nyla. Most importantly though, he remains an avid supporter of the Yankees and loves nothing more than to discuss (or argue) about the best deli or pizzeria in New York.
- Nina GlickmanDirector of Fellow Success
A native New Yorker and the daughter of educators, Nina graduated with a BA in English and Creative Writing from Cornell University in 2004. She began her career in education in the summer of 2008, when she worked as an instructor with Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO). Upon completing her MFA in Fiction in 2010 from The New School, where she won the 2010 Chapbook Award for Short Fiction, Nina pursued a full-time teaching career by joining the New York City Teaching Fellows and earning a Masters in Special Education from Hunter College. She taught Special Education English for three years at a large public high school in Brooklyn, and in the summer of 2013, she moved to Madrid, Spain on a governmental grant, where she taught English language and test prep in the bilingual public schools for the next two years. Nina enjoys cooking, writing, game nights, and seeing the world with her husband, and can proudly complete an entire week of The New York Times crossword puzzles (in pen, of course).
- Vanessa GreerDirector of College Success & Fellow SupportGrowing up in Brooklyn and attending public school, with a mother who was an educator, Vanessa developed a passion for education. Vanessa earned her BA in Africana Studies with a minor in Education from New York University. After graduation, Vanessa joined AmeriCorps VISTA, where she served at Jumpstart for Young Children in New York City. After her year of service, Vanessa pursued her Master's degree in Social Work from New York University. Prior to joining TEAK in 2014, Vanessa was the Director of The Workplace Mentoring Center at Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC, connecting at-risk NYC public middle and high school students with highly qualified corporate mentors to help students reach their full potential. During that time, Vanessa completed the Mentor Supervisor Certificate Program through Fordham University in conjunction with Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC and the Developing Leaders Program at Columbia University School of Business. Vanessa enjoys traveling and learning about different cultures as well as spending time with family, friends, and her adopted dog, Lola.
- Danielle HolmanDirector of Admissions
Born and raised in the Bronx, Danielle is passionate about TEAK’s mission to support fantastic students from the NYC area. Danielle attended the Spence School from Kindergarten to Twelfth grade and went on to pursue her bachelor’s degree at Princeton University. She studied Education Policy at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and minored in African American Studies and Teacher Preparation. She spent every summer during college committed to learning more about educational access through internships in New York City, Johannesburg, South Africa, and Rio De Janeiro Brazil. After graduating, she worked as an admission officer at Princeton University from 2014 - 2017. Seeking to learn more about developing empowering and social justice oriented opportunities for students, Danielle earned her master’s degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2018. The former president of a pre-professional dance company, Danielle loves to stay active and can be found dancing, practicing yoga, and teaching cardio classes in her free time. Danielle is thrilled to be a part of the TEAK family and can’t wait to learn alongside such wonderful colleagues and students.
- Britni JeffersonAssistant Director of Fellow Success
Britni graduated from New York University in 2018 with her Master’s degree in School Counseling. While at NYU she got the opportunity to study abroad in South Africa: Educational and Social Reform program, present at the Guidance Expo in Westchester, New York on preventing teen suicide, joined the NYU’s Social Sector Leadership Development Fellowship for students of color and served as Co-Chair to Steinhardt’s Black Graduate Society. Britni worked at University Settlement as a Service Coordinator to a youth development after-school program. Britni’s passion for Youth development developed after she graduated from Syracuse University and started working in the nonprofit sector. She’s excited to be working at TEAK and focusing on youth development and preparing them for high school and college success.
- Matt LatessaAssistant Director of College Success
Matt Latessa earned his BA in American Studies from Franklin & Marshall College in 2012. Upon graduation, Matt traveled to Boston to participate in the MATCH Charter Public High School Tutor Corps where he mentored 15 students of various ages. After finishing this fellowship, Matt returned to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to serve as the Assistant Dean of Admission & Coordinator of Multicultural Recruiting at Franklin & Marshall College. During his three-years there, he ran several recruitment programs and evaluated many applicants. In August 2017, Matt joined the TEAK team after completing his MA in Higher and Postsecondary Education at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Having recruited TEAK Fellows in the past, Matt is now eager to support these students as they create the educational opportunities they seek. In his spare time, Matt enjoys playing touch football, exploring new neighborhoods, and taking advantage of the myriad culinary offerings New York boasts.
- Ya Sheng LinAdmissions Counselor
Ya Sheng grew up in NYC and was admitted to TEAK's 10th Class of Fellows in 2008. He attended boarding school at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH and graduated in 2013. He then went on to study at Princeton University, graduating in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Politics. There, he studied Political Theory and obtained certificates in Values & Public Life and Italian Language & Culture. Upon graduating from college, he moved to the UK to pursue a Master of Philosophy in Political Thought and Intellectual History at King's College, University of Cambridge. While abroad, he joined the Cambridge University DanceSport Team and not only competed against Oxford University at the annual Varsity match but also represented Cambridge in an international ballroom dance competition in Beijing, China. As an alumnus of TEAK, Ya Sheng is excited to return to TEAK - this time as a staff member in admissions - and help shape the newest cohort of TEAK Fellows.
- Lesley LoorAssociate Director of Fellow Success
A proud Bronx native, Lesley has utilized her experiences growing up in a low-income household to encourage young people in spite of the hurdles they face. She graduated from Barnard College in 2011, earning a Bachelor's in Urban Studies with a concentration in Sociology. Soon after graduation, Lesley worked full time at a local non-profit in the South Bronx where she counseled, trained, and mentored at-risk youth for two years. Looking to increase the positive impact she had in low-income communities and gain the skills to become an effective non-profit leader, Lesley decided to return to school in 2015 and earned her Master's in Public Administration two years later from the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College. Prior to joining TEAK in October 2018, Lesley worked for nearly five years at The New York Public Library. During her tenure at the Library, she developed and implemented teen programming and managed the logistics of a site-wide STEM-based after-school program. In her spare time, Lesley performs community service, reads, spends time with her family, and searches for deals for her next international vacation!
- Zaris MotaAssistant Director of Fellow Success
Zaris recently graduated from the Macaulay Honors College at Baruch where she earned her Bachelors of Science in Public Affairs with a concentration in Nonprofit Administration. Her passion for educational access and socioeconomic equity led her to begin interning with the TEAK Fellowship in 2015. Since joining the team, she has worked significantly with the admissions and development departments, helping to implement more specific measures of success and better systems for data tracking. She is excited to work with TEAK full-time and to support the students as they work towards their goals. In her free time, she enjoys playing games and binge-watching Netflix.
- Tara ReedAssociate Director of Development and Communications
Tara graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature. After graduating, she worked as a public relations assistant at Benetton USA Group in NYC where she worked with fashion editors and managed the United Colors of Benetton collections. Looking for a career change and impactful work, Tara made her move into the non-profit world and started working for the West Side YMCA as a Development Associate in 2011. In 2014, she moved to London for an internship with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) as a Corporate Relations intern working with the Leadership Giving Team in Private Sector Giving. While in London, she completed her Master’s Thesis and returned to NYU in the Spring of 2015 to graduate with her Masters in Fundraising. In the Summer of 2015, Tara returned to the YMCA as the Director of Development and Communications at the Prospect Park YMCA. Her passion for youth development and education led Tara to join TEAK in 2017. She enjoys traveling with her husband, cooking, yoga, and watching cat videos.
- Odalys RuanoDevelopment and Administrative Coordinator
Odalys graduated from New York University’s Stern School of Business in 2018 with concentrations in Marketing and Sustainable Business. While at NYU, she took advantage of the global opportunities by participating in programs that allowed her to travel to Italy, Portugal, and Ghana. Her interest in empowering communities led her to think about how to use business as a tool for change, to enable sustainable lives. She’s spent several summers at the Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute in Irvington, NY as a program participant and later as an intern supporting young women’s leadership programming. As part of a Stern course, she became a student consultant for RETI, a non-profit that develops disaster resilience programming in NYC. The experience taught her the importance of measuring impact using sustainability metrics. She loves volunteering and exploring new places, and most recently traveled to a rural village in Ghana to help with the marketing and branding of a community-owned cooperative producing textiles.