Alan van Capelle, President & CEO
Alan van Capelle is a nationally recognized leader in the field of civil rights and social justice. As CEO of Educational Alliance, he leads a network of community centers offering social, educational, cultural and recreational services, programs, and events to the diverse population of downtown Manhattan.
Selected by the Jewish Daily Forward as one of the “Forward 50,” Mr. van Capelle catapulted Bend the Arc into the forefront of the national progressive landscape as CEO and represented the American Jewish community in his speech at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. Also chosen by the New York Observer as one of New York’s top “power gays,” Mr. van Capelle won major victories for LGBT rights as Executive Director of the Empire State Pride Agenda. In forming partnerships with labor unions and faith communities, he paved the way for marriage equality in New York, while more than tripling Pride Agenda’s budget.
Mr. van Capelle began his career as an organizer and contract negotiator in the labor movement, eventually running the day-to-day political operations of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ, the largest and most powerful building service union in the country. He served as Deputy Comptroller for the City of New York, where he advised the agency on all matters involving public policy, media, and community relations. He has also served as a member of the New York City Banking Commission.
Mr. van Capelle has been named to the National Leadership Council’s “40 under 40” list, and has been quoted by The New York Times, CNN, New York 1, Newsweek and New York Magazine. Mr. van Capelle has served on the transition committees for Governor Eliot Spitzer and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. He was also selected as an elector of the 2008 New York Electoral College.
A lover of all things New York, Mr. van Capelle serves on the Board for the Association of a Better New York (ABNY) and the Association for a Better New York Foundation. He is also a member of Manhattan's Community Board 3, where he will advise on a variety of matters affecting the Lower East Side. In 2016, he was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio to the Children's Cabinet Advisory Committee.
Mr. van Capelle earned his MPA from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University and holds Bachelor of Science degree from the City University of New York.
Mr. van Capelle lives with his partner, Matthew Morningstar, on the Lower East Side where they are raising their two children, Ethan and Patrick.
Robert Anderson, Executive Director for the Center for Recovery and Wellness
Robert Anderson serves as the Executive Director for the Educational Alliance Center for Recovery and Wellness, which offers a community center based approach to behavioral healthcare.
Robert brings a long history of executive management and direct service provision throughout New York City, Westchester, Rockland, and Suffolk County. Prior to joining Educational Alliance, he was the Executive Director for a national system providing integrated Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health services across the northeast and eastern seaboard. Robert also brings a wealth of clinical and training experience and has instructed and developed curriculum both regionally and internationally. He is a NY State licensed clinical social worker (LCSW-R) and a Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC); in addition to two newly established peer advocacy and mentoring credentials. He has used that expertise to advocate for clients, train staff and develop clinical program tracks within a recovery oriented system of care framework; establishing models that have been replicated nationally. Mr. Anderson is also a leader in NYS in helping to develop the recovery effort through the policy, planning and implementation of effective peer based services into the chemical dependence and mental health system framework. He sits on local and State wide recovery committees, and is a Certified Addiction Recovery Coach (and trainer) as well as a Certified Recovery Peer Advocate.
Mr. Anderson performed his graduate studies at the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service. Robert returned to his Alma Mater and is an adjunct Professor at Fordham University, where he teaches generalist practice core foundation courses to fledgling Masters level social workers.
In other professional leadership endeavors, Robert is currently a member of the NY State Provider Association’s (NYS ASAP) 501 (C) 3 Board of Directors and has been involved in many of the planning efforts to professionalize and advance the field of addiction services. He continues to advocate for both the field and his community, and is the immediate two time past President of his chapter for the Bronx/ Westchester Kiwanis International organization; helping children and families throughout the world. A dedicated and impassioned individual, Mr. Anderson cites his ability to give back as a driving force behind the efforts and time he devotes to his wife and family, his community, and the human services field.
Mark A. Enselman, Chief Financial Officer
Mark brings over 30 years of experience providing accounting and legal expertise to the nonprofit community. He has been a counselor, consultant, employee and volunteer of over 30 nonprofits over his career. Mark graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.S. in Accounting and immediately went on to get his law degree from Southern Illinois University School of Law. Mark began his career with then Arthur Young (now Ernst & Young) in their Tax Department. Within weeks of beginning he was assigned a nonprofit railroad museum having issues retaining its 501(c)(3) tax exempt status and after successfully helping the museum became the person everybody came to for nonprofit issues. Mark left Arthur Young to join a regional law firm in central Wisconsin. His legal work included representing several nonprofits. He helped form and counsel a Community Foundation, a nonprofit entity to restore and run the old theatre in town as a cultural and arts center, and the creation of a volunteer center that grew into providing over 10,000 volunteer hours per year to nonprofit causes in the area. Mark began employment with nonprofits in 1994 and has spent the last thirteen years as the Director of Finance or CFO for three civil rights oriented nonprofits before coming to the Educational Alliance. Mark takes pride that every nonprofit he has become involved with has been financially and programmatically better off after his involvement than before. Mark has sat on the board of directors of six nonprofits during his career and was elected to at least one of the offices of president, vice President or treasurer in five of the six. Mark was also a Big Brother in the Big Brother/Big Sister program for seven and a half years. Mark lives on Staten Island with his husband and their seven year old twins that keep him occupied when he is not working.
Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein, Executive Director, 14th Street Y
Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein is the Executive Director of the 14th Street Y in Manhattan. Born in the Bronx and raised in New Milford, Connecticut, Shira received her BA from Wesleyan University and has also attended Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Birzeit University in Ramallah, and is currently studying as a part of the Shalom Hartman Institute Rabbinic Leadership Initiative. Rabbi Epstein received her rabbinic ordination and MA in Religious Education from HUC-JIR. Prior to the Y, Shira worked to redefine Jewish educational engagement and community as Associate Rabbi and Director of Youth and Family Education at Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Shira has served various Reform Congregations, Jewish youth groups and summer camps as an educator, is a certified Storahtelling "Maven," and has studied improvisational comedy and acting in various programs including the Upright Citizens Brigade. Shira was named one of the Feminist Press 40 Under 40 and is an inaugural recipient of the Pomegranate Prize for Jewish Education from the Covenant Foundation. Shira lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband, Dr. Jason Epstein, their sons Amichai and Kobi, and their dog, Duffy.
Sheryl L. Fuller, Division Director for Older Adult Services
Sheryl Fuller is the Division Director for Older Adult Services at Educational Alliance. A skilled social worker and administrator, Ms. Fuller brings to Educational Alliance experience and expertise in providing direct and indirect service, short term counseling, crisis intervention case management and outreach to senior populations with an emphasis on the socially isolated and hard to reach. She is responsible for the administration of five programs including two senior centers, a naturally occurring retirement community supportive service program, a day program for homeless, formerly homeless, and mentally ill older adults, and two apartment buildings meeting the needs of seniors located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Ms. Fuller has been a leader in the development and implementation of The Center for Balanced Living, a model of health and wellness programs and services across all of Educational Alliance’s older adult programming. She provides clinical supervision to social work staff and field instruction to master’s level candidates in their social work field placements. She develops new programs in response to the changing needs of the target population, and builds links to other community social service agencies and providers. Ms Fuller is a board member and past treasurer of the Lower East Side Inter-Agency Council on Aging. She is also an active member of the Senior Issues Advocacy Committee of the United Neighborhood Houses and has represented the agency at numerous conferences, presentations and advocacy forums on senior issues. Ms. Fuller received her master’s degree in social work from S.U.N.Y at Stony Brook and is a licensed social worker in the State of New York.
Anya Hoerburger, Senior Vice President for External Engagement
As Senior Vice President for Development and Communications, Anya Hoerburger brings a personal approach to fundraising. Her focus is on cultivating lasting relationships and highlighting the excellent work happening daily throughout Educational Alliance. As a proud fifth generation New Yorker, it excites her to strategize new ways to help our neighbors, bringing over 15 years of development experience to our community-based organization.
Anya previously served as Senior Advisor to the Managing Partner and Managing Director of Investor Relations and Communications at InterMedia Partners, LP. As a senior advisor to business, non-profit and government leaders, Anya became the trusted authority for raising the necessary capital to fund an organization’s ambitions. Through her work in both development and communications, she has overseen large-scale capital raises and multiyear campaigns.
In over fifteen years in development, Anya has raised nearly $1 billion dollars from institutional investors, family offices and individuals for politics, businesses, non-profits and arts organizations. Anya’s approach to fundraising is threefold: build genuine lasting relationships; know both how and when to ask for money; and insist on supporting and promoting a great product. Through her exceptional ability to collaborate, she integrates distinct people and agendas in support of a common goal.
Anya knows that an excellent communication strategy is key to building genuine lasting relationships. At InterMedia Partners, she lead a PR/communications team, overseeing investor events and managing all internal and external corporate communications. She also contributed to and edited investor reports and communications and oversaw the Fund’s Advisory and Limited Partners’ Boards.
Anya is a board member of Planned Parenthood NYC Action Fund, an advisor to Emily’s List, and longtime supporter of Common Cause. Additionally, she is a charter member of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy Currents. Anya is a graduate of Smith College with a B.A. in Government and holds a Certificate in Finance and Accounting through Columbia Business School. She resides in Dumbo, Brooklyn.
Cheryl A. McPherson, Director, Human Resources
Cheryl McPherson brings more than two decades of experience in human resources to Educational Alliance. As Director, Human Resources, Ms. McPherson is responsible for developing and evaluating best practices, policies and procedures within Educational Alliance’s Human Resources Department. A specialist in non-profit organizations, her broad experience includes employee relations, talent acquisition and development, benefits and strategic initiatives. Prior to joining Educational Alliance, Ms. McPherson served as Director, Human Resources at the Jericho Project where she built a robust human resources department and implemented critical agency-wide policies and procedures. Ms. McPherson’s was selected from a pool of 1,500 human resources professionals to receive Home Depot’s Human Resources Manager of the Year Award. Ms. McPherson holds a Master’s in Industrial Labor Relations and Human Resources Management from Baruch College.
Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Executive Director, Manny Cantor Center
Rabbi Joanna Samuels, the founding executive director of the Manny Cantor Center, is a nationally respected spiritual leader and social activist. In her role as the founding executive director of the Manny Cantor Center, Joanna is redefining the Jewish Community Center and the Settlement House for a new era. Her work at the Manny Cantor Center has been written about in The New York Times, The Daily News, and The Jewish Daily Forward.
Prior to joining the Educational Alliance in 2012, Joanna served was the Rabbi of Congregation Habonim in New York City, where her leadership is widely credited with helping revitalize the synagogue’s community. She also worked as an advocate, strategist, and mentor for women's advancement and gender equity in the Jewish community at Advancing Women Professionals. Her commitment to women leaders in the Jewish community led to be the first female rabbi honored by the Drisha Institute.
Joanna has written for local and national publications and taught at many institutions throughout New York City. Rabbi Samuels graduated magna cum laude from Barnard College and received Rabbinic Ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she was a Wexner Graduate Fellow. She serves on the advisory board of the West Side Campaign Against Hunger and lives in Manhattan with her husband and two children.
Jonathan Skolnick, Ed. L.D., Executive Vice President for Programs and Strategy
Dr. Jonathan Skolnick recently joined Educational Alliance as Executive Vice President for Programs and Strategy, where he oversees the education pipeline, older adult services, employment services, and strategic planning. Jonathan brings a diverse wealth of experiences to this role -- as a public school teacher, system-level leader, and innovative social entrepreneur.
Jonathan began his career as a NYC Teaching Fellow at Washington Irving High School, and in 2007 he joined the Office of School Leadership at the NYC Department of Education (NYCDOE). Over the next several years, Jonathan worked in a variety of roles to build innovative learning partnerships across the city. In 2009 he was a founding member of School of One, a groundbreaking learning model housed at MS 131 on Hester Street that became one of Time Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2009. He later helped to lead the NYCDOE’s Office of Innovation as a senior director for iZone360, a community of over 50 innovative middle and high schools. To support them, Jonathan led a process to recruit, select, match, and manage several national partner organizations and foundations. In 2012 he joined the founding team of Caliber Schools, a K-8 blended learning charter network, and more recently he founded and led the design and application process for Prime Public Charter School, a proposed middle school in Brooklyn.
In 2013 Jonathan was selected as one of 25 national leaders to receive a full scholarship for the Doctorate in Education Leadership at Harvard University, a groundbreaking interdisciplinary degree program that allowed him to lead with and learn from business, education, and policy leaders across the country. Jonathan also holds an A.B. in Modern U.S. History from Brown University and a Masters in the Science of Teaching from Pace University.
Throughout his career, Jonathan has been driven by his Jewish values and his belief that innovative and inclusive community organizations can change lives. His own family came to this country seeking refuge from hatred and genocidal violence, and here they found a society ready to help them achieve their dreams. He views his work at Educational Alliance as a way to keep the American dream alive and thriving in the 21st century.
Lisa Soderberg, Director, Employment Services
Lisa Soderberg utilizes her extensive human resources and recruiting background as our Director of Employment Services, establishing and embedding the first ever job search employment program across Educational Alliance’s 18 Lower East Side/East Village campuses. In this capacity, she manages and delivers services to job seekers, including individual one-on-one counseling, job readiness workshops, and partnerships with program directors and community leaders. Prior to joining Educational Alliance, she was the Assistant Director of Employment Services at FEGS, where she was the architect of two comprehensive employment initiatives, Connect to Care and Experieince2Work Boot Camp for Boomers, providing services to people who were affected by the economic crisis. During her tenure, Lisa built and maintained strategic partnerships across five centers throughout New York City, Westchester and Long Island, delivering services to more than 3000 clients annually. Prior to joining FEGS, Lisa was the Attorney Recruitment Manager at the international law firm Winston & Strawn LLC, where she established the first recruiting department responsible for all aspects of legal recruitment. Lisa has had a diverse breadth of career experience in health and human services, advertising, and the music industry.
Janet Weinberg, Executive Vice President, Programs and Operations
Janet Weinberg joined Educational Alliance in 2014 as a consultant and was promoted to the Executive Team in 2015. Her portfolio includes oversight of the Manny Canter Center, 14th Street Y, Human Resources, IT and Facilities as well as working in close partnership with the Finance Department. Janet began at Educational Alliance with a focus on helping build and implement a dashboard for measuring organizational outcomes and quickly grew to include playing a key role in development of the FY16 budget, new approaches to talent management, and analysis and improvement of key organizational costs including negotiating a reduction in health insurance costs.
Janet has over 35 years working in healthcare/social services with 30 of those years in supervisory and upper management roles. She worked at Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) for the past decade in a variety of ways and with increasing responsibility in four 4 different positions with her final role as the Interim CEO/COO. Prior to working at GMHC, Janet served as Co-Chair of the Board of Directors at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center; when her Board term limits were completed, she became the Director of Development. She served the Center for a total of 11 years. Prior to joining the non-profit sector, Janet worked as an Occupational Therapist. She began as a line staff member and grew to running the OT unit of 1,000 therapists.
During Janet’s career she has been the recipient of numerous awards from the NYC Board of Education, local political clubs and professional organizations honoring her many years of service in the non-profit sector.