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Program Directors

Stephanie Jackson

Beacon Leadership Center

Stephanie started at El Puente Beacon in 2005 and since then has grown from Group Worker, Group Leader, Saturday Arts Program Assistant Coordinator, Membership Coordinator and Assistant Director to her current role as Director. Stephanie received her B.A. in 2010 in Development Psychology and English Literature & Writing from Emmanuel College. She loves the challenge of working with middle school youth because they can be so resistant to opening up but once they do their growth process is wonderful to watch.


Asenhat Gomez

Bushwick Leadership Center and Wiliamsburg Leadership Center

Asenhat Gomez came to New York from the Dominican Republic when she was a teenager. El Puente helped make New York home for her and her family. Her journey with the organization began as a youth member and has lead her to becoming the Bushwick Leadership Center Program Director. Asenhat hopes to offer the youth members and families she works with the same love, energy, and sense of empowerment she received.
 


Richard Scott

Leadership Center @ Williams Plaza and Leadership Center @ Taylor -Wythe Houses

Richard Scott is the Director of the Williamsburg Leadership Center. He was the former Assistant Director and Program Coordinator for El Puente's Beacon Leadership Center and Saturday Arts Program where he developed pre-Professional standards and programming for youth in elementary and middle school grades. He has been apart of El Puente since 2001 where he began as a Group Worker.

Richard is also a part of Breaks Kru, a well established New York City Bboy dance group. Dancing since 1997, Richard has won and participated in numerous competitions throughout the world such as Rocksteady Crew Anniversary, Battle of the Year Canada, and Out For Fame to name a few. He has performed for Vitamin Water, Scion and done print work with Vogue and Relax magazines. Richard has a B.S in Psychology and an A.A.S in Accounting. He applies his motto "Keep On Moving" toward the movement of art and community.
 

Wanda Vázquez-Firpi

El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice.

Originally from San Sebastián, Puerto Rico, Wanda grew up in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. She is the first in her family to graduate from college and holds degrees in psychology, education, and school leadership from York, Brooklyn, and Baruch Colleges. Apart from being the principal at El Puente Academy, she is also the founder and lead facilitator of El Puente's Women's Group and Fly Girl Fest.

 


Sarita Daftary-Steel

Green Light District

Sarita Daftary-Steel has extensive experience in community organizing and community development work in Brooklyn. She worked with United Community Centers from 2003 to 2013, most of those years as the East New York Farms! Project Director. During that time she helped to grow the project significantly, while maintaining a focus on developing community leadership, and led ENYF to become a nationally recognized model for youth and community engagement in urban agriculture and community markets.

Sarita has recently worked in part-time and consulting roles with the Brooklyn Arts Council, Steve's Camp (at Gotham Professional Arts Academy), and the Food Dignity Project (a community-based participatory research initiative). Sarita graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in sociology and government, and is also a graduate of the Leadership New York Fellowship, organized by Coro New York and the Leadership Caucus of the Community Resource Exchange.


Clara Waloff

Global Justice Institute

Clara is a community-based artist & researcher whose work focuses on education & human development - both art forms in themselves! Clara received her M.S. Ed in 2012 from Bank Street College of Education in Leadership in Community-Based Learning and her B.A. in 2004 from NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study in Community Education, Latin American Studies & Studio Art. Clara has worked throughout NYC, across the United States, and in Latin America, but her home base is El Puente, where she works with teachers, students, and youth and adult members to define and share their best practices. At El Puente since 2005, Clara specializes in integrated curriculum development and Participatory Action Research. Clara is a proud member of an impressive team of art educators, Community Art Development & Resource Exchange (CADRE) & Los Muralistas de El Puente.


Yudelka Corporan

Leadership Center @ Independence Towers

Yudelka first became involved with El Puente in 1999 through an internship and loved El Puente so much she decided to remain at the organization as a tutor.

Yudelka is currently working towards her B.A. and is grateful to El Puente for the opportunity to learn and grow through her work. Yudelka’s favorite thing about El Puente is the holistic approach we take to improving and aiding our community and watching it transform through El Puente’s work. 

 


David Ortiz

Latino Climate Action Network

David Ortiz is the Program Director of El Puente Enlace Latino de Acción Climática in Puerto Rico. David leads a group of members who help implement educational and mobilization activities around the impacts of climate change on the island.  Before El Puente, he was the Advocacy Manager for Sapientis an organization that focused on improving public education in Puerto Rico. David was also the Deputy Director of MassVOTE and Founder of the Young Civic Leaders in Boston, Massachusetts.  David’s background is in education, non-profit management, advocacy and community organizing.


Fiorella Guevara

M.S. 50 Community School

Fiorella joined El Puente in October of 2015, and has an extensive background in community development and education. Fiorella received her Bachelors of Science from University of Maryland-College Park in Early Childhood Education after which she taught elementary school for five years in Washington D.C. and Baltimore before pursuing her graduate degree in Educational Leadership, Politics, and Advocacy from New York University. Having worked in many facets of education, ranging from teaching to organizing/policy making with the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, she hopes to use her experience to support MS 50 El Puente Community School in becoming a model for the nation for what a school can and should look like.   
 
Fiorella became involved in education to change schooling systems that perpetuate stereotypes, and systematic oppression, and feels that it is most important to create an education system that fosters creativity, empathy, and freedom of mind. Through programs and advocacy, Fiorella has continuously sought to implement these goals. The deep commitment to community and social justice that Fiorella has seen in El Puente, and its ability to create connections and change on a local level has inspired and aided her work to revitalize and revolutionize education in the city.