Board of Trustees

Ashley Garrett is the Director of the All Souls Soup Kitchen, a privately funded program that serves over 19,000 meals a year. A trustee of the New York City Center for Autism Charter School, Ashley also serves as the vocational training coordinator for a District 75 high school in Harlem. Previously she served as a Trustee of Prep for Prep (an organization that provides talented children in underserved communities with academic and leadership training) and was chair of the George School Resources Committee (providing guidance and raising funds for this 9-12 independent Quaker boarding and day school). Ashley began her career in credit card marketing, working for Chemical Bank and then MasterCard. She earned her BA at Smith College and an MBA from Harvard University. Ashley and her husband have two daughters, one in college and one in 8th grade.

Monir Hoque is a private equity investor focused on turnaround and distressed businesses both in New York and overseas. Currently Monir is revitalizing two Washington County mines that produce critical transportation materials  and are providing much-needed local employment upstate. He has nearly two decades of finance experience, having worked for Bank of America in New York, GE Capital in Paris and Thailand and Al Rayan Investments in Qatar.  Raised in London, Monir earned his B.S. and M.S (with honors) at Columbia University. Monir and his wife, a research immunologist, are raising three children who attend public schools in New York.

David Maya is a partner with Oliver Wyman Group, a global management consulting firm, where he advises financial services firms on strategic business issues.  Prior to his current role, David led Strategy & Business Development for the transaction banking divisions of Citi and JP Morgan, respectively. In those roles, David built talented global teams, led key strategic initiatives, and delivered results by combining business judgment with a fact-based and pragmatic approach. He began his professional career at McKinsey & Co.  A native of Turkey, David has lived and worked in various countries, including Venezuela, Argentina, and the UK.  David has a BA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and an M.Sc. from the University of Oxford. He was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship as well as Oxford’s “University Scholarship.” David and his wife have two children who attend public schools in Manhattan.

Kenneth Mbonu is the Director for Economic Development at the Bridge Street Development Corporation, a Brooklyn-based non-profit. His work focuses on community level development priorities including real estate, physical infrastructure, and business support. He worked previously as loan officer for the Israeli Discount Bank and Bank of America, and purchased, operated and sold a specialty chemical business in northern New Jersey. A native of Nigeria, Kenneth earned his BA at CUNY’s York College, and an MBA at Pace University. He is a member of the Economic Development Committee of Community Board 3 and chairs the Business Vitality Group of the Coalition for the Improvement of Bedford Stuyvesant. Kenneth and his wife have two children who attend public schools in Brooklyn.

Robert Pondiscio is the Executive Director of Citizenship First, a foundation focused on building children’s civic knowledge and participation in political discourse though more effective K-12 education. He left a career in journalism at BusinessWeek magazine in 2002 to teach fifth grade in a struggling South Bronx elementary school. Following five years in the classroom, he worked as an independent consultant offering strategic communications counsel and advocating on behalf of education nonprofits. Robert served as Vice President for Communications at the Core Knowledge Foundation until December 2012. Robert’s daughter attends an independent school in Brooklyn.

Daria Rigney is a former teacher, staff developer, middle school principal and district superintendent. She is a literacy expert with more than two decades of experience across New York City. Her efforts have ranged from teaching in some of our most challenging schools to leading District 2, long acknowledged as one of New York City’s most successful districts. Retired from the Department of Education, she currently serves as a senior advisor at the Leadership Academy, training and mentoring the next generation of principals and leading school assessments. A long-time Brooklyn resident, Daria began her teaching career at PS 321, an elementary school in Park Slope, following a decade as an art advisor to corporations and individuals. Her two adult children attended Brooklyn public schools.

Andrew Sternlieb is the President of Salem Realty Capital, and has chaired and served on the board of several local, regional and national not-for-profit organizations. His recent real estate experience comprises equity and debt financing commitments in excess of $2.1 billion across more than 125 separate transaction, involving over 220 office, hotel, multi-family, industrial and retail properties. Prior to founding Salem, Andy was a Senior Vice President at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, a Vice President at Solomon Brothers and a Limited Partner at Bear Sterns.  In 2005 he helped to found, and became the Chairman of Hillel at Baruch College. Since 2006 he has been a member of the Fiscal Advisory Committee of the North Salem Central School District. Andy earned his B.A. at the University of Rochester and his JD at Emory University and expects to obtain his M.A. in Public Policy from Teachers College in 2014.

Jennifer Stillman, Ph.D is the Director of Assessment and Evaluation for New Classrooms Innovation Partners, a non-profit focused on personalized, blended middle school math programs. She previously worked as research analyst for the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Innovation. Jennifer taught government and politics to high school students in Brooklyn, the Bronx , and Fairfax County, Virginia for six years, and served as a legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Harry Reid before earning her doctorate in Politics and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Jennifer’s book, Gentrification and Schools, explores the process of school integration in gentrifying neighborhoods. She lives in Harlem with her husband and two children.